A breezy autumn evening wasn’t enough to deter two high-powered offenses from putting it all on the line as Brown Deer outlasted Two Rivers 61-42 in a WIAA Division 3 Level 1 playoff game Friday night.
The star of the offensive slugfest was the Falcons’ Zack Baun, who amassed 556 yards of offense and nine touchdowns — six rushing, three passing.
Baun got the scoring started for Brown Deer with a two-yard touchdown run midway through the opening frame, putting the Falcons up 7-0, a score which held until the opening moments of the second.
That’s when Scott Skornicka capped an 80-yard Two Rivers drive when he found the end zone from three yards out, knotting the score at seven apiece. It was the beginning of what turned out to be a big quarter for the senior tailback.
Minutes later, Skornicka scored again, this time on a two yard run which gave the Raiders their first lead of the game.
Brett Slaby punched in the two-point conversion to make it 15-8 in favor of the home team.
Brown Deer answered quickly as Baun connected with Nyles Williams on a 65-yard strike which put the Falcons back to within one.
It was Skornicka who pushed TR’s edge back to two possessions when he rumbled in from 11 yards out.
Again, the Falcons responded promptly, Baun scampered in on a 28-yard run to cut the Raiders’ lead to 22-21.
The back and forth battle continued as Skornicka made his presence felt in the passing attack, finding the paint on a swing pass which went for 61 yards with just over four minutes left in the half.
Brown Deer added its two cents before the break as Baun found Devante Jackson on a 34-yard touchdown pass.
Two Rivers had one more scoring drive in them for the half as Dexter Smith connected with Bobby Geiger on a 21-yard scoring strike just before the half to make it 35-27 Raiders heading into the break.
Though the Raiders hung around, the second half belonged to the Falcons.
Brown Deer picked up a pair of touchdowns in the third while holding the Raiders scoreless to take a 40-35 lead into the fourth.
Skornicka opened up the scoring in the fourth quarter with a two-yard run which temporarily gave TR a two-point lead.
The Falcons went on to score the next 21 points to seal the win.
Two Rivers head coach Kevin Shillcox was impressed by what he saw out of the opposing quarterback.
“We saw him on film and we knew he was good. He was even better in person,” Shillcox said. “Hats off to Brown Deer. They’re going to have a good quarterback again next year, too. He’s only a junior.’
Baun finished the day with 29 rushes for 311 yards to go along with a 245 yards on 11-of-17 passing.
“I thought we did a good job of containing him in the first half. Then, in the second half, he just took it right at us. Instead of waiting to run, he just ran right at us and kind of caught us off guard a little bit.”
Not to be lost in the shuffle is the fact that Skornicka likely had one of his best nights in a Two Rivers uniform. He posted 33 carries for 228 yards and four rushing touchdowns on top of two receptions for 80 yards and a score.
“That’s just the kind of kid Scott Skornicka is. You just have to love the kid because he just does it all and he never complains,” Shillcox said. “He just keeps working and never says he’s tired. He did have a great game.”
The two teams combined for 45 first downs, 1,026 yards and 103 points.
Though his squad’s playoff run ended all too soon, Shillcox was pleased with the effort his boys displayed until the final whistle.
“They gave it everything they had. We talked about that in pregame,” Shillcox said. “Whatever night it ends, you want to be finishing playing your hardest. That’s what you’re going to remember, that you left it all on the field. That’s what they did tonight.”
The Raiders finished the season with a mark of 7-3 and its second consecutive playoff appearance. Shillcox is optimistic that the program will continue to move in the right direction.
“I think we are still on the climb. I think we can make the playoffs next year,” Shillcox said. “We have a strong group of juniors and sophomores. Are freshman are a big class, a lot of big kids. The kids are all putting in the time like they’re supposed to.”
…7 20 13 21 — 61
…0 35 0 7 — 42
BD — Zack Baun, 2 run (PAT Gerry Giles).
TR — Scott Skornicka, 2 run (PAT Dexter Smith).
TR — Skornicka, 3 run (2 pt. run good).
BD — Nyles Williams, 65 pass from Baun (PAT Giles).
TR — Skornicka, 11 run (PAT Smith).
BD — Baun, 28 run (PAT Giles).
TR — Skornicka, 61 pass from Smith (PAT Smith).
BD — Devante Jackson, 34 pass from Baun (PAT no good).
TR — Bobby Geiger, 21 pass from Smith (PAT Smith).
BD — Baun, 1 run (PAT missed).
BD — Baun, 4 run (PAT Giles).
TR — Skornicka, 2 run (PAT Smith).
BD — Williams, 35 pass from Baun (PAT Giles).
BD — Baun, 53 run (PAT Giles).
BD — Baun, 49 run (PAT Giles).
First downs 15 25
Rushing 343 305
Yards passing 245 232
Comp.-Att-Int 11-17-0 13-27-1
Fumbles 2-2 3-3
— Zack Baun 29-311. TR — Scott Skornicka 33-228.
— Zack Baun 11-17, 245. TR — Dexter Smith 13-27, 232.
— Nyles Williams 3-129. TR — Bobby Geiger 6-83, Scott Skornicka 2-80.