The way Jake Rockweiler figures it, his team was simply a little late to the party Friday night. Nothing more.
Elkhorn trailed visiting Westosha Central by two touchdowns midway through the first quarter and needed a boost.
Rockweiler provided it with an 85-yard kickoff return for a touchdown. He then became the life of the party, celebrating Homecoming by rushing for more than 200 yards and scoring two more times to lead the Elks (1-1) to an impressive 46-41 Southern Lakes Conference win.
With Rockweiler leading the way, Elkhorn has scored 87 points in two games. The Elks rushed for a whopping 535 yards Friday night.
“I think we knew when Coach (Todd) Ghilani came, with the success he had at Richmond-Burton (Illinois), that we knew we were going to have a hell of a season on offense,” Rockweiler said. “And so far, we’ve been rolling.
“With everything going on right now, we know it’s a blessing to even be playing, so we want to enjoy it as much as we can.”
Rockweiler and his teammates found plenty of enjoyment despite falling behind 27-7 early in the second quarter.
Rockweiler’s 64-yard touchdown scamper cut the lead to 13, and Connor Lom’s 34-yard TD run got the Elks within seven with 1:05 left in the first half.
“The message at half was that we turned the ball over four times in the first half but were four seconds away from tying the game,” Ghilani said. “You can’t ride that roller coaster of emotion. You have to stay even keel. We preach all the time that it’s about the next play and having that short memory and moving on.
“Every time tonight that they punched us in the mouth, we punched them back. Our kids were resilient and just kept moving forward.”
Trailing by seven at half, the Elks tied the game with 5:55 left in the third on Rockweiler’s third touchdown of the game—a 12-yard rush up the middle.
Westosha (1-1) quickly regained the lead on its next possession, but Elkhorn answered and pulled ahead on Logan Page’s 2-yard TD run—his only carry of the game.
The Falcons responded once again to take their last lead of the game at 41-34 with 10:26 to play, but the Elks got the final two scores of the game for the victory. Lom broke several tackles for a 20-yard touchdown run with 8:55 to play to get Elkhorn within one at 41-40, and Jake Mogensen’s nifty 72-yard TD run around the right end gave the Elks the lead for good at 46-41 with 6:23 to play.
Westosha had a chance to get the game-winning touchdown on its next drive, but Page stepped in front of a Michael Mulhollon pass near midfield to thwart the drive. Elkhorn was then able to run out the clock.
“We have to be able to keep the narrative positive and keep moving forward,” Ghilani said “Just do your job and everything else will take care of itself.”
Friday night, that’s exactly what happened. The Elks were a little late to the party but were the last ones to leave.
ELKHORN 46, WESTOSHA 41
Westosha Central 21 6 6 8—41
Elkhorn 7 13 14 12—46
Scoring: W—Conner Grinde 30 pass from Michael Mulhollon (Benjamin LeFebve kick). W—Jakob Simmons 8 run (LeFebve kick). E—Jake Rockweiler 90 kickoff return (Samuel Woolever kick). W—Mulhollon 15 run (LeFebve kick). W—Simmons 20 run (kick blocked). E—Rockweiler 65 run (Woolever kick). E—Connor Lom 16 run (run failed). E—Rockweiler 12 run (Woolever kick). W—Kenneth Garth 97 from Mulhollon (kick blocked). E—Logan Page 2 run (Woolever kick). W—Simmons 18 run (Simmons run). E—Lom 20 run (kick failed). E—Jake Mogensen 72 run (pass failed).
Statistics: First downs—W 28, E 26. Rushes—W 49-320, E 51-535. Yards passing—W 259, E 124. Passes—W 27-14-4, E 13-6-1. Fumbles—W 2-1, E 5-3. Penalties—W 8-55, E 6-43.
Union Grove 27, Badger 21—Another week, another heartbreaking loss for the Badgers.
One week after losing by just two points in their opener to Westosha, the Badgers were stopped just shy of the goal line on the final play of the game Friday against visiting Union Grove when a touchdown would have tied the game.
The Broncos built a 20-7 lead by halftime but had to hold off Badger in the fourth quarter.
Cody Cotton had a pair of touchdowns for Union Grove, including a fourth-quarter kick return that provided the winning margin.
Tannor Garrels threw for 148 yards and a touchdown and rushed for 68 yards and a touchdown for the Badgers. Tyler Deleskiewicz caught six passes for 125 yards and a 34-yard touchdown.
Badger plays at Delavan-Darien next Friday.
UNION GROVE 27, BADGER 21
Union Grove 7 13 0 7—27
Lake Geneva Badger 0 7 0 14—21
Scoring: UG—Cody Cotton 71 pass from Wolf (Jacob Howard kick). UG—Garrett Foldy 5 run (kick failed). B—Tyler Deleskiewicz 34 pass from Tannor Garrels (kick good). UG—Nick Williams 2 run (Howard kick). B—Cole Berghorn 7 run (kick good). UG—Cotton 80 kick return (Howard kick). B—Garrells 39 run (kick good).
Stats: First downs—UG 13, B 18. Rushing yards—UG 127, B 192. Passing yards—UG 130, B 148. Fumbles lost—UG 3, B 2. Penalties—UG 9-92, B 6-60.
Waterford 41, Delavan-Darien 8—The visting Wolverines moved to 2-0 on the season.
A full box score was not available.