BROWN DEER - He should have been stopped for a four-yard loss on third-and-long, but he split two defenders who barely laid a hand on him.
He should have then been stopped near the line of scrimmage, but made a little juke and watched another defender hit nothing but air. One more defender had a chance to get him before the first down markers but he just ran right by.
Senior quarterback Zack Baun doesn’t play like a quarterback as much as he plays like an athlete and a team leader, which was evident on his 53-yard touchdown run, his sixth of the night, to ice a 49-40 Falcons win over Pewaukee in the first round of the state playoffs Friday.
“He’s that ultra-competitor,” Brown Deer co-head coach Rob Green said of Baun, who committed to Wisconsin Saturday. “He wants the ball in his hands and we want the ball in his hands when the game is on the line. He’s a tough man to deal with because he gives you that combination of power and speed. Then he throw in his competitive ability, he gets the players around him to play.”
The 6-3, 209-pound Baun already set a season-high rushing entering the fourth quarter, thanks to four of his five touchdowns runs being over 39 yards, but saved his best for last. Clinging to a 42-40 lead, Brown Deer’s offense overloaded one side of the field and let Baun work his magic on the zone-read option.
That proved to be the haymaker, and Baun finished with 402 yards on 27 carries (14.9 yards per carry) and six touchdowns.
“They made a good play on it, but we just blocked up front and I was able to stride it out,” said Baun.
After rushing for 120 yards on eight carries for two touchdowns in the first half, Baun took over in the third quarter, rushing for 200 yards and touchdowns of 39, 70 and 43. His runs were timely and kept the Falcons in the game.
“Everything is reads for us,” said Baun. “We’ll call a run one way, but it’s always a read. We were just able to block up front, get the defensive line or the linebackers flowing to one side and quick take off to the other side, and boom.”
After senior Jacob Becker picked off Baun (who 4-for-12 for 21 yards passing) and returned it for a touchdown early in the third quarter, giving Pewaukee its first lead at 26-21, Baun responded with a quick two play drive in which he ran for seven yards and then his 39-yard scamper right through the center of the defense.
He did the same thing when the Pirates took a 34-28 lead later in the quarter, going 70 yards on a one-play drive.
“We haven’t ran him that much; we’ve been throwing and moving the ball around,” said Green. “We didn’t want to get the ball out of his hands in the fourth quarter. He’s one stiff arm of breach from breaking it. We were going to keep it in his hands.”
Baun will play outside linebacker at Wisconsin and will be a grayshirt, meaning he can’t officially join the football team until the 2016 spring semester. That’s OK with him, as he’ll using next fall to build his body into a linebacker without having to use up any eligibility.
“I get an opportunity to play when I’m older,” Baun said. “So I’ll take that first year off and I’ll save a year of eligibility. I’ll have five years after that and be on a full ride. It’ll give me time to adjust to the whole college situation and get bigger so I can compete better. I know that’s what’s best for me.”