It never fails that when the Panthers from Greendale and the Lions from New Berlin Eisenhower get together for a high school football game, you can expect the unexpected. Over the past decade, these two teams have provided high school football fans everywhere with some serious heart stopping, mind boggling games that left you breathless. This past Friday night's game was no exception as both teams put out 822 yards of total offense and threw a total of 75 points up on the scoreboard. When the clock finally ran out, it was the Panthers that had a few more points than the Lions as Greendale defeated visiting New Berlin Esienhower 41-34.
It ended up to be a beautiful night as the rain stopped about 2 hours before the game. Unfortunately because of that earlier rain, Greendale's Homecoming parade was cancelled, which brings to mind that saying, "Why does it have to rain on my parade?" Needless to say, the Panthers weren't going to let that hinder them as they had a task to do, and that was to play a football game.
Things got off to an interesting start as Greendale would see their first of many penalty flags for the night before the clock even started. They got to the field late, which is a 10-yard penalty so Eisenhower would be kicking off from midfield. Of course Ike had to make it even more interesting as they would try an onside kick, which they should have got, but the Eisenhower player just couldn't hang on to the ball. As a result, Greendale would start their first drive of the game on their 33. They would run a wide variety of plays taking the ball all the way to Ike's 3 before Panther running back Frankie Rutkowski crossed the goal line capping off a 9-play 67-yard drive. Rutkowski would make the extra point kick-making the score 7-0 with 9:10 left in the opening quarter of play.
After the ensuing kick, the Lions would start their first drive of the night on their 47 after a huge return. Seven plays later, they crossed the goal line as Steve Harrell would run it in from 2-yards out. Nathan Erickson would make his kick and just like that, the score was tied at 7's with 6:03 left in the 1st quarter.
Greendale would start their next drive on their 25. They put a 14-play drive together riddle with flags before the Lions stopped them on their 10-yard line.
The Lions would now take possession of the ball. They would run 3-plays taking the game into the 2nd quarter before being forced to punt from their own end zone.
After the kick, Greendale would begin from their 38. Ten plays later, the "men in black" would cross the goal line as quarterback Josh Ringelberg would take it in from 5-yards out. Rutkowski's kick would be blocked making the score 13-7 Panthers with 8:37 left in the 1st half.
The Lions would jump right back in the game as Nick Holicek took the ensuing kick and sprinted 92-yards the other way for another Eisenhower touchdown. This was the second time in two weeks that the Panther special teams gave up a kick return for a touchdown. Erickson would make the kick and Eisenhower was now up 14-13 with 8:23 left in the half.
The Panthers would try and respond as they would be starting from their 20. They would get off several plays as the yellow flag continued to haunt them. With their back against the wall, Ringelberg would quick kick on 3rd down trying to get themselves out of a hole.
After a short kick with a nice roll, the Lions would begin in Greendale's territory on the 45. Two plays later, they would reach the end zone once again as Harrell took a handoff up the middle from 29-yards out. Erickson would split the uprights making the score 21-13 Lions with 7:17 left in the 1st half.
The Panthers now had their work cut out for them as it appeared that Ike came in tonight ready to play. They would answer the bell; however, as they put a huge 15-play scoring drive together that was finished off by a 2-yard run by Ringelberg. Greendale would go for 2 and convert as Ringelberg rolled out to his right and then took it himself for the score. This would tie the game up again at 21's with :49 seconds left in a very busy 1st half.
Ike would get the ball and run 2-plays before the first half finally came to an end.
New Berlin Eisenhower would get the ball first and begin from their 35 to start the 2nd half. Three plays later they would smoke the Panthers as Nick Taylor took a handoff around the right side of his line for a huge 52-yard jaunt to the end zone. Erickson made his kick and now Ike was back on top by a score of 28-21 with 10:57 left in the 3rd quarter.
After a nice return on the ensuing kick, Greendale would start their first drive of the 2nd half from their 37. Four plays later, Ringelberg would see the Eisenhower safety cheated way over which open the door and allowed Mitchell Brees some room over the middle for a 48-yard scoring strike. Rutkowski would split the uprights-tying this game up again at 28's with 9:12 left in the 3rd.
This game was turning into a tennis match as both teams could not stop each other. That would continue as the Lions would start their next drive on their 20. They would scale the field in 10-plays as Harrell would take it for the last yard for a score. This time the kick was blocked making the score 34-28 in favor of the Lions with 5:52 left in the 3rd quarter.
Now it was the Panther's turn to serve. It was here where they put a time consuming 13-play scoring drive together as Ringelberg would eventually reach pay dirt from 14-yards out. The kick would be blocked tying the game back up again at 34's with 1:45 still left in the 3rd.
Rutkowski's kick would reach the end zone forcing the Lions to start from their 20-yard line. The MIBs got lucky on this drive as they let an Ike receiver get wide open down the field. The pass would be over thrown resulting in a punting situation for the Lions on their 30.
After Greendale finally broke serve, they would bring their offense out and set up on their 34 with 11:46 now left in the game. They would quickly move into Eisenhower territory on a huge 40-yard run by running back Jake Zywicki. It was here that the Panthers were having trouble on the offensive line as there seemed to be a lot of false starts. They were all upset because the defense was barking out false signals, which is illegal causing confusion up front for Greendale. The referees were not picking up on that, which had the Panther coaches all upset. Greendale would eventually get to the 15 before Ringelberg threw an interception in the back of the end zone putting an end to their drive.
There was now 9:36 left in the game and Ike had the ball on their 20. They would run 3-plays including a huge gainer by quarterback Vince Gabrielsen that was called back by a holding penalty. They would eventually be forced to punt from their 22.
After the punt, Greendale would now try to untie this game as they would begin from their 36. They failed to take advantage of that situation and were forced to punt going 3 and out.
On the punt, Eisenhower would make a huge mistake as the return man tried to make an ill advised catch on the run and muffed the ball. Greendale's Tristian Pipp would come up with it and just like that, Greendale was back on offense on Ike's 38.
Six plays later, Ringelberg would take it himself and score from 14-yards out for the go ahead touchdown. Rutkowski would make the kick and now Greendale was on top by a score of 41-34 with 3:40 left in the game.
Based on the way this game has been going, there was still plenty of time left for Eisenhower. They would get the ball and start this drive from their 20. Six plays later, Greendale's defense made one of the biggest plays of the game as Jack Ringelberg would intercept the ball at midfield-giving it right back to his twin brother and the rest of the Panther offense.
With 1:21 left in the game, Greendale was going to try and run this clock out to end the game. Ike had other plans as they used all of their timeouts and stopped the Panthers forcing them to punt from Ike's 47.
After the kick, Ike would have one last chance at tying this game up. They would start from their 9-yard line. Four plays later, Greendale's defense did it again as Brees would intercept a pass at the Eisenhower's 47-yard line. All Greendale had to do was take a knee to end this wild and crazy game.
The Panthers would win by a score of 41-34. This game was not the easiest game to watch for those with weak hearts. Both teams had trouble stopping each other's offense for the entire game. It seemed like the only way each team was stopped would be if they stopped themselves. This game will be remembered just like that rain soaked one back in 2007 when Greendale won 28-27 in triple overtime.
Greendale will now improve to 4-1 while Eisenhower falls to 2-3 for the year. The Panthers will travel to New Berlin West next week while Eisenhower heads to Wauwatosa West to take on the Trojans. As it stands, Pewaukee defeated the Trojans 27-6 to remain undefeated so it looks like they will be sitting real good to capture this year's Woodland West Conference crown. Next week's games will start at 7:00pm.