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By R. A. Mattrisc
The Greendale Panthers defeated South Milwaukee in its first game of the season with a score of 38-12 on Friday night.
Last year the team went undefeated in its Woodland Conference 8-0. The team started this season just right with its first win.
For a coach, one of the biggest things about the start of a new high school football season is finding out how your team will be. You can't rely on last year anymore because a lot of faces have changed. Coming into this year, the Panthers would only have 9 seniors, which is somewhat low by normal standards. As a result, that meant there would be a lot of younger players that will have to fill the shoes left behind by last year's seniors. By default, these players would also lack varsity experience. Well someone must have forgotten to tell those younger players that for they came out and executed a game plan to a tee. Not just here or there, but for the entire game. In fact, it looked liked they were all seniors as they took it to hosting South Milwaukee rather handedly by a score of 38-12 in the opening game of the 2012 high school football season.
Probably one of the biggest motivating factors for these younger players is the tradition that has been built over the past several years at Greendale. They know that Panther football is taken serious and is played at a high level. These guys also know that they don't want to be the ones to break that tradition. As a result of this victory, Greendale is now on their way to another conference winning streak as they have won the last 15 games in a row. The previous longest streak was 28 games, which was started in 2006 and was finally snapped by New Berlin Eisenhower in 2008.
Greendale would receive first to start the game. After the return, sophomore quarterback Josh Ringelberg would confidently walk on to the field for his varsity debut. It didn't take long for Ringelberg to show what he's got for he guided the Panther offense on a flawless 9-play 88-yard scoring drive that was capped off by a 20-yard run off of left tackle by newcomer Jake Zywicki who will be lining up in the backfield for Greendale this year. Peter Pekar would convert the extra point try and just like that, Greendale was on top 7-0 with 8:33 left in the opening quarter of play.
After the kick, it would now be time for the coaches to see what they had on defense. Well I got to believe that they liked what they saw as they forced the Rockets to punt going 3 and out.
The Panther offense would now take to the field once again. With a clever mix of the run and the pass... yes pass because after all this is Greendale we're talking about, they found themselves in the end zone once again on a 45-yard run by Zywicki capping off a 6-play 68-yard drive. Pekar made his kick and the Panthers now found themselves leading by a score of 14-0 with 4:08 still left in the 1st.
Things weren't as bright for the Rockets for on their very first play after the kick, they would fumble the ball of which Greendale's Allan Dunday would recover.
Looking at a goal line that was only 33-yards away, Ringelberg would line his boys up for their next drive. The Panthers managed to squeeze off 9-plays before looking at a 4th down. Instead of going for it, they would bring out the field goal unit to attempt a 24-yard field goal. On the snap of the ball, they would run a fake instead that didn't work too well as the pitch was fumbled resulting in their first turnover on downs in the game.
The Rockets would start deep in their own territory. They put together a 7-play drive before fumbling once again of which Greendale's Mike Pulizos recovered.
With the ball resting on the Rocket's 43, the Panther offence would take over. Six plays later, Zywicki would pound it in from 9-yards out for Greendale's third touchdown of the game. Pekar split the uprights and the Panthers were getting close to blowing this game wide open by a score of 21-0 with 7:40 left in the 1st half.
South Milwaukee would now get the ball back and attempt to get something going. They strung 8-plays together before Greendale's Mitchell Brees intercepted the ball and returned it to the Panther's 33-yard line.
On this Panther position, they found themselves in the end zone real quick as Zywicki took a handoff and scampered 65-yards to the end zone, but the play would be called back on a holding penalty. That didn't seem to affect Greendale's resolve for on the very next play, Ringelberg would complete a 40-yard pass to Brees taking the ball all the way to the Rocket 15. Three plays later, Ringelberg would take it himself up the middle and score from 10-yards out. Pekar was true again and Greendale now has officially blown this game wide open by a score of 28-0 with 1:51 left in the half.
The Panther defense forced the Rockets to punt and then took a knee to finish out the remainder of the 1st half.
South Milwaukee would get the ball first to start the 2nd half. The black cat's defense picked up right where they left off forcing them to punt going 3 and out.
After a poor punt, Greendale would take over at midfield. Seven plays later, Ringelberg would take it up the middle from 3-yards out for Greendale's 5th touchdown of the evening. Pekar made the kick and the score was now 35-0, which is enough to start a running clock based on the mercy rule.
South Milwaukee was not going to go away. They started their next drive on their 41. This time they finally managed to reach the end zone as Rocket quarterback Justin Oliden scamper in from 7-yards out. The extra point kick was smoothed by Greendale so the score would end up 35-6 with 2:26 left in the 3rd quarter. Because of the Rocket's score, the clock would return to normal operating rules.
Greendale would find themselves starting on their 30 for their next drive. They sewed together 8-plays before looking at a 4th down on their 14. They would call on Pekar to attempt the field goal. After the ball was kicked, it would end up sailing through the uprights for a 29-yard field goal. The score was now 38-6 with 10:45 left in the game.
Greendale's defense forced another punt as the Rockets would go 3 and out.
At this point in time, Greendale's coaching staff was now starting to filter in their number 2 players. After exchanging a position, Greendale would finally make one of their few mistakes of the evening as quarterback David Wood would miss his mark on a pitch giving the ball back to the Rockets on Greendale's 25.
South Milwaukee would find the end zone 3-plays later as Oliden connected with wide out Evan Marlowe for a 11-yard scoring pass. The try for 2 failed making the score 38-12 with 6:06 left in the game.
The Panthers would take over and soon found themselves punting going 3 and out.
The Rockets would then run 7-plays before Jack Ringelberg intercepted the ball in the end zone stopping the Rockets in their tracks.
Each team would touch the ball one more time before the clock finally ran out.
The final score would be, Greendale 38 - South Milwaukee 12. One has to think that the Panther coaches were very please as to what they saw with their young team. There were a few mistakes but for the most part, the execution was their on offense and the swarming and tackling was their on defense.
Greendale will now travel to Greenfield next Friday to take on the Hawks. The Hawks were talked about as being one of the teams to watch out for but that didn't pan out as they lost to Pewaukee 27-0. Don't let that fool you for I would imagine that they might be a little upset about that and will come out with guns blazing next Friday night. The game is scheduled to start at 7:00pm.