By Dan Truttschel

Correspondent

While the Big Foot football team certainly is a talented group once again in 2012, there are some questions the Chiefs need to answer early in the season.

It didn’t take long to get a few of those in the opener Friday night.

Senior Carter Hehr, who made the move to quarterback this year, scored three straight touchdowns to open the game and give the Chiefs a lead they never would relinquish in a convincing 48-13 non-conference win over visiting Westosha Central.

The Chiefs, ranked third in the first power rankings of the season by www.wissports.net, improved to 1-0 overall, while Central fell to 0-1.

His team’s fast start was just what Big Foot coach Rodney Wedig hoped for.

Gus Wedig (44) and Charlie Peterson (10) team up to bring down a Westosha Central runner last Friday at the season opener at home. (Photo by Dave Baker)

“I thought we had a pretty good game plan, and we took advantage of a few things we thought we could exploit,” Wedig said. “Plus, (senior) Mason (Dixon) is really geared up for this year, and he runs so hard (that) he makes a simple dive play look pretty good.”

Hehr showed off his feet early in the game with touchdown runs of 16, 7 and 34 yards to give the Chiefs a quick 20-0 lead.

For the night, Hehr ran for 127 yards and passed for 127 more and continued to show he will give opposing defensive coaches fits all season.

“Carter did exactly as I had hoped, ran for 100 and threw for 100,” Wedig said. “It is tough to game plan for him because when he gets outside, if you come up to stop him, he can throw over you.”

The early dominance slowed after Hehr’s third score, as the Falcons put two touchdowns of their own on the scoreboard to cut into the deficit.

Central quarterback Tyler Stoxen hit receiver Luke Millhouse on touchdown passes of 28 and 65 yards to pull the Falcons to within seven points at 20-13.

The momentum shift was short-lived, as Hehr and senior Matt Ripkey combined on a 59-yard touchdown pass to rebuild the Chiefs’ lead to 15 points.

During the Falcons’ scoring run, Dixon had to leave the field because of what appeared to be heat exhaustion – but when he returned, everything got back to normal, Wedig said.

“I thought we really lost focus after we had back to back touchdowns called back due to penalties,” Wedig said. “After they closed the gap, we had the big pass play to Ripkey, and then Mason came back and did his thing.”

Dixon, who finished the night with 143 yards rushing on 10 carries, scored on touchdown runs of 2 and 45 yards to put plenty of space between the Chiefs and the Falcons.

The dual threat of Hehr and Dixon gives the Chiefs a lot of flexibility in their playbook, Wedig said.

“He is such a tough back to bring down, and he runs so hard,” he said. “It also goes back to the question about Carter. Brodhead in the past has done a really good job of taking away the run between the tackles. (But) if they take away Mason, we have Carter running as an option.”

Big Foot closed the scoring on a 10-yard touchdown pass from Hehr to Gus Wedig.

For the game, Big Foot had 17 first downs, 336 yards rushing on 36 carries and 127 yards passing. Tim Long added 51 yards rushing on nine carries for the Chiefs, while Ripkey caught seven passes for 117 yards.

Defensive leaders included Wedig with 12 tackles; Long with nine; Daniel Pearce, Daniel Gilstrap and Collin Frederick with six; and Garett Cary with five.

Big Foot now turns its focus to its Rock Valley Conference opener Friday night at longtime foe Brodhead-Juda. The Cardinals suffered a 32-0 loss to River Valley in their opener last week.

That setback means nothing, however, as Wedig knows his team has to be on its game from the start Friday night.

“We can’t have a lull or loss of concentration,” he said. “I thought we played too passive for periods on Friday night.

“Our defense was sound, but not as intense as I would like. Brodhead runs their stuff very well. They are well coached, and I bet they will be focused after losing to River Valley just like last year (in the opener).

 

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