It was nearly a frustrating day for the Wauwatosa East offense, but as the old saying goes, hard work does pay off.
Quarterback Jackson Telderer found Nick Pridgeon for a six-yard touchdown pass with 12 seconds left in the game and Greg Holley added the crucial extra point to earn the Red Raiders a 7-6 victory over West Allis Central Friday night at the West Allis Athletic Complex.
The Red Raiders improved to 2-2 overall and 1-1 in Greater Metro Conference play.
"We put it together (and) we gave Jackson some time," Wauwatosa East coach Mike Richards said about the final drive. "My assistant coaches pointed out that when we went to our doubles formation, the linebackers dropped back, and (we) had a couple designed quarterback runs.
"The other ones that happened were all Jackson (Telderer), and he made some things happen with his feet, which we really hadn't seen all year, but he's really capable of doing."
The junior quarterback showed that running ability Friday night, running 11 times for 40 yards, which included an 11-yard run during the Red Raiders' game-winning drive. His passing numbers weren't as impressive, as he was just 7 of 25 for 59 yards, an interception, and completed 28 percent of his passes. Ultimately, he made the throw that mattered for Tosa East.
"Just keep moving the ball and hope someone will make a play," Telderer said about his mind-set on the winning drive. "The line was giving me good holes to run through and set up for my passes."
The Bulldogs started the game well and they would have had the first touchdown of the game on the opening kickoff were it not for an illegal block at the 50-yard line.
They quickly recovered and marched down the field, starting with a 21-yard pass to receiver Aaron Leon-Tobar, who had six receptions for 84 yards to lead the Bulldogs in receiving.
After a five-yard run by quarterback Will Konecny and an 11-yard run by running back Jason Alvarez, the Bulldogs had the ball deep in Red Raiders territory.
John Serrano's sack pushed the Bulldogs back, but Tobar gained a large chunk of those yards back and on the next play, Alvarez scored on a 4-yard run up the middle to put the Bulldogs up, 6-0. He finished with 97 yards in 19 carries.
The two-point conversion failed. It would be the only score until the final moments. Konecny finished 13 of 23 for 162 yards.
In the second quarter, Central had a chance to double its lead when they drove down to the Red Raiders' 2-yard line. But Central's offense sputtered and the Raiders sacked Konecny for a seven-yard loss. Two pass attempts on third and fourth down failed to reach their targets.
Wauwatosa East then had its best drive of the game after that, getting help from a 28-yard pass from Telderer to Pridgeon. The Red Raiders were also helped by 15 additional yards because of a horse collar tackle penalty on the Bulldogs.
The Red Raiders would get as far as the Bulldogs' 23-yard line before Telderer's pass on a 3rd and 3 was intercepted by Bulldogs linebacker Dave Mlachnik.
In the fourth quarter, the Bulldogs had a great chance again to put themselves up by two touchdowns, driving deep into Red Raider territory. Again, after runs of 16 and 11 yards by Alvarez, Central was unable to convert on fourth down. It was the Bulldogs' fifth fourth down conversion that failed during the game.
Then came the final, game-winning drive by the Red Raiders, in which they almost cost themselves a chance to win the game when receiver Danny Scallon dropped a potential wide-open touchdown pass.
But the pass to Pridgeon, who finished the game with five receptions for 48 yards, atoned nicely. Also helping the Red Raiders effort was running back Sully Schermerhorn, who had 11 carries for 47 yards.
"They run the read-option, they run it well," Richards said. "We wanted to contain that and I thought our defense did a great job of doing that.
"West Allis Central's got some athletic kids, they really do. Credit Coach Kaz (defensive coordinator Jeff Kaszubowski) and his staff for coming up with a game plan of neutralizing that zone read and making them go to Plan B."
Tosa East's schedule picks up as it faces Marquette (2-0), Menomonee Falls (2-0) and Brookfield East (1-1), but only Falls is on the road.
The Red Raiders have matched last year's win total with five games left in the regular season.
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