Tyler Burzawa stiff arms a would-be tackler in a game earlier this season. The junior wide receiver leads the Toppers in catches (33), receiving yards (604) and touchdowns (8). (Photo by John Fisher)

Tyler Burzawa stiff arms a would-be tackler in a game earlier this season. The junior wide receiver leads the Toppers in catches (33), receiving yards (604) and touchdowns (8). (Photo by John Fisher)

 

By Bud Milroy

Sports Correspondent

Catholic Central (5-4, 5-2 MCC) closed out its regular season with a 34-0 shutout of Martin Luther (5-4, 3-4) in a Metro Classic Conference game last Friday night in Greendale.

“Despite what the numbers may show, I think our defense has played pretty well over the past few weeks, improving each week. Tonight may have been the best we’ve played all year,” said Tom Aldrich, the Topper’s head coach.

The defense, led by D-end Tegan Miles, held Martin Luther to just 35 yards on 41 rushing attempts and just another 35 yards in the air. The Toppers recorded four sacks and eight tackles for loss.

Offensively the Toppers took a little while to get going against the big front of Martin Luther.

“We were a little flat coming out in the first quarter,” said Coach Aldrich. “We started picking up some confidence as the first half wore on.”

A big boost to that confidence came in the second quarter when Ben Heiligenthal connected with Tyler Burzawa. The speedy Burzawa hauled in Heiligenthal’s pass and weaved his way for a 74-yard touchdown. The extra point was booted through by Ganzalo Perez, and the score stood at 7-0 early in the second quarter and that’s where it remained at halftime.

“We made a few adjustments at half” said Aldrich “adjusted a few blocking schemes nothing out of the ordinary. We did clear up some confusion along the offensive line which made a

difference.”

Aldrich and his staff hit the right keys because in the second half the Toppers just rolled on.

Cole Kresken put the Toppers on the board in the third quarter with a 40 yard touchdown run at the 9:35 mark. Two minutes later Burzawa was at it again when he took Heiligenthal’s pass and went 33 yards for a touchdown.

Early in the fourth quarter, Burzawa made it a hat trick as he scored on a three-yard toss from-Heiligenthal. Jeff Stemper closed out the scoring with a 16 yard run. Perez finished the night hitting on four of his five conversion attempts to make the final 34-0.

The Topper ground game was led by Kresken with 113 yards on 15 tries. Stemper added 65 yards on his nine opportunities.

Heiligenthal was solid in the passing game, going 7 of 10 for 115 yards and three touchdowns.

Burzawa led the receiving core with five catches for 145 yards and three touchdowns.

“Tyler is a playmaker” Aldrich pointed out. “He is very quick and makes things happen. We need to get him the ball as often as we can.”

D7 playoffs start Friday

The Toppers open the playoffs Friday with a road trip to Randolph (6-3, 5-1 Trailways-Small Conference).

“We’ll have a nice long (two hour plus) ride but we’re glad to be playing and look forward to the challenge.” Aldrich noted.

The two teams are familiar with each other in post season play. The Rockets came in ranked number one in the state last year and ended the Topper season with a thrilling 36-35 overtime win at the Topper Bowl in a Level Two match-up.

“They’ve lost a six or seven players off of that team but are still very good. Their big up front, very tall as you would expect from a basketball school, and they have a short very quick running

back in VanderGalien.”

Duke VanderGalien has taken over for his brother (Thomas), who has graduated as the main rusher for Randolph. The 5’7, 160 pound junior, Duke ran for 1,204 yards this season on 152 attempts, 14 times ending up in the end zone.

Kyle Roberts, a 6’3”, 189 pound senior is the Rocket’s quarterback. Roberts completed 52% of his pass attempts accumulating 704 yards and 10 touchdowns. He has spread the ball around

to four main targets that are all over 100 yards in receiving yards and all have found the end zone on several occasions.

The match-up of the number four seed (Randolph) and the five seed (Catholic Central will tip off at 7:00 p.m. The winner of this game will face the winner of the Fall River (#1) and Rio (#8) game the following weekend.