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PHOTOS: Panthers Fight to the Finish But Came Up Short

The Panthers had to fight back and score twice along with two 2-point conversions in the final quarter to push the game into overtime, but they fell short to visiting Wauwatosa West 37-30 in OT.

For those of you that made it to the game Friday night, you would have thought that you were watching one of those feel good football movies.  That's because this game was loaded with emotion and drama not to mention a little excitement. It was a game between two explosive teams, as the Trojans from Wauwatosa West would be playing the hometown Panthers of Greendale.  To add to this drama, Tosa has not beaten the Panthers in well over 10 years.  That would change, however, as they managed to find a way to beat the Panthers by a score of 37-30 in overtime.

One thing that needs to be mentioned to those fans that left early.  The game is never over until it's over.  Greendale fought their way back into the game having to find a way to score 2 touchdowns and back them up with two successful 2-point conversions to tie the game up, which they did.  Unfortunately, the storybook comeback would come up short as they failed to score on their turn with the ball in overtime.  Even though things didn't turn out well for the home team, it was still a great effort and a fun game to watch.

Greendale all dressed in black with their pink adornments to show support for breast cancer would be kicking to start the game.  They must have spotted something on the game films for they decided to execute an onside kick that was perfect resulting in them getting the ball first on offense.  When everyone got off the pile, it would be Jake Zywicki that recovered the free ball on Tosa's 49.  Fifteen plays and a lot of clock later, Greendale crossed the goal line, as quarterback Josh Ringelberg would sneak it in from 1-yard out.  Frankie Rutkowski would split the uprights and Greendale was on the board first by a score of 7-0 and 5:59 left in the opening quarter of play.

After the ensuing kick, the dangerously fast Wauwatosa West Trojans would start from their 23.  The spirited Panther defense was all over them like a tailor made suite as they forced the Trojans to punt going 3 and out.

After the kick, Greendale would begin from their 34.  Again they looked to be putting together another time consuming drive, but on the 8th play, the fumble bug would hit them again as the exchange between Ringelberg and Zywicki was missed resulting in a loose ball of which Tosa would recover on their 29.

It was now time to see if the defense could repeat their earlier performance.  That didn't happen this time for Tosa decided to attack the middle, which the Panthers could not seem to stop.  Twelve plays later, Tosa reached the end zone as running back Greg Lewis took it in from 6-yards out.  Kicker Zach Veit would make his kick-tying the game up at 7's with 9:23 now left in the 2nd quarter.

The Panthers would start their next drive following the kick on their 30.  This time things went south for them as Ringelberg fumbled the ball of which Tosa would recover on Greendale's 40.

The Panther defense came up big this time as they forced the Trojans to turn the ball over on downs on their 37.

On this drive, Greendale was moving the ball well, but the little yellow flags that have been haunting them lately came out-forcing them into a long yardage situation.  They would eventually have to punt from Tosa's 40.

On the play, Peter Pekar would get off a huge punt that was downed on the 2-yard line pinning Tosa about as far back as you can.  On the 2nd play, Tosa would get themselves out of trouble with a 47-yard pass play to speedster Develyn Ferguson that took the ball to Tosa's 49.  Five plays later, Tosa running back Mickey Morgan would take a handoff and score from 26-yards out on a perfectly executed play.  This time the holder for the point after mishandled the ball resulting in no kick so Tosa would only get the 6-points as the score was now 13-7 with 1:14 left in the 1st half.

Greendale would run just 4-plays before the 1st half came to an end.

Greendale would be getting the ball to start the 2nd half.  After the return they ended up starting from their 36.  They were forced to kick after 5-plays as they had to deal with a couple of penalties once again.

After the kick, Tosa would begin from their 19.  The Panther defense managed to force Tosa to punt as they went 3 and out.

After the kick, Ringelberg and the offense would have to start from their 32.  Two plays later, Greendale fumbled for the 3rd time in the game, as Zywicki and Ringelberg again could not complete the exchange cleanly.  Tosa now had the ball on Greendale's 36.

Tosa continued to take it right at the Panthers.  Five plays later, they reached the end zone as Demaris Purifoy took it in from 6-yards out.  Veit made the kick and Tosa now had a comfortable lead by a score of 20-7 and 5:58 left in the 3rd quarter.

After another modest return, Greendale would start from their 34.  Eleven plays later, the Panthers found the end zone as Ringelberg took it in from 1-yard out. Rutkowski made the kick making the score 20-14 in favor of Tosa with 3:38 left in the 3rd.

This time Rutkowski made it easy for the coverage guys as he kicked the ball into the end zone.  As a result, the Trojans would have to start from their 20.  Eight plays later, Greendale managed to stop the drive forcing Tosa to a field goal situation.  After a perfect snap and hold, Veit would split the uprights for a 25-yard field goal increasing their lead by a score of 23-14 with 11:01 now left in the 4th quarter.

After the kick, Greendale would start from their 26.  Six plays later, Tosa's Jameson Brock stepped in front of a Ringelberg pass and returned it all the way to the Panther's 12.

Two plays later, Morgan would get the call and score from 12-yards out.  Veit made the point after and Tosa now had their cushion back with a score of 30-14 with 8:24 left in the game.

The Panthers now had their work cut out for them.  They would be starting from their 29 following the kick.  After overcoming a few penalties and converting some crucial 4th downs, they reached the end zone on a 10-yard run by Ringelberg capping off a 10-play 71-yard drive.  Because of the score, Greendale had to go for 2 for the point after try.  On the snap of the ball, Ringelberg would hook up with Pekar for a successful conversion.  The score was now 30-22 Tosa, with 5:07 left in the game.

After the kick Tosa would begin from their 33.  It was now up to the Panther's defense to stop them as fast as they could to leave enough time for the offense to do their thing.  They managed to do that and forced Tosa to punt as they went 3 and out.

On the kick, the Trojans would enjoy a nice roll as the ball would eventually be downed on Greendale's 5.  It was time to see if Ringelberg could take the team 95-yards with just 2:40 minutes left in the game.  They slowly and methodically worked the ball down the field.  All of a sudden, Ringelberg found wide out Gaelan Siebold who made a great catch and even better run, as he managed to get out of bounds down at the 8-yard line.  Two plays later, Ringelberg would finish the deal as he took it in from 2-yards out.  Now it was time for the biggest play of the game.  Greendale would have to go for 2 to tie this game and force it into overtime.  If they don't make it, they'll lose.

Of course nothing comes easy as someone jumped on the line bringing out the yellow flags once again-backing them up 5-yards.  This time on the snap of the ball, Ringelberg would throw a quick pass to wide out Nate Miller who caught the ball on the 5.  With shear determination and a defender right in front of him, he would lower his head and drive forward reaching the goal line and just like that the game was tied at 30's with :26 seconds left in regulation.

All Greendale needed to do on the kick was to not let anybody get away on them. The coaches told Rutkowski to kick a hard squib so as to avoid a possible big return.  Well that is exactly what happened as Morgan would get the ball with a head of steam and returned it all the way to the Panther's 11.

Just like that, Greendale was now in big trouble of losing the game in regulation as Tosa was already in field goal territory with :15 seconds left.  Tosa wasn't going to fool around as they brought their field goal unit out on the field.  Seeing that, Greendale then called time out.  After the time out, Tosa would return with their offense instead.  On the snap of the ball, they would throw fade pass to their favorite receiver in the corner of the end zone that was defended perfectly by David Michaels.  Tosa had no choice now but to bring their field goal unit out and try for the 29-yard field goal.  On a perfect snap and hold, Veit would chilly dip the kick keeping the Panther's hopes alive as the game would now head into overtime.

After the break and coin flip, Tosa would go on offense first.  In overtime, each team gets a turn with the ball starting from the 25.  Everything is the same except that there is no game clock.  Ideally you want to be on defense first because that will dictate what you will have to do when you go on offense so Greendale had the advantage.  On the very first play, Tosa quarterback Christian Morzinski would find Brock who made a nice catch and managed to slip out of a tackle for a touchdown.  Veit made his kick and now it was Greendale's turn on offense.

Wouldn't you know it, on the very first play; Greendale would again get called for motion and would be backed up 5 more yards.  On the next play, Ringelberg would get sacked and Greendale soon found themselves going the wrong way as mistakes continued to add up.  Finally, Greendale's hopes of a miracle come back were dashed as Ringelberg threw a pass over the middle to Pekar who couldn't make a clean catch and somehow the defender would end up with the ball for an interception.

Greendale almost pulled off a miracle as they fought to the bitter end, but mistakes would get the best of them, as they would come up short by a score of 37-30 in overtime.  This is the first time that Wauwatosa has beaten the Panthers in a long time.  This game would ultimately come down to mistakes, turnovers and penalties.  Tosa did not turn the ball over and finished with just 3 penalties for 13-yards while Greendale turned it over 5 times and committed 11 penalties totaling up to 65 yards.  The one thing that you have to keep in mind is that the Panthers are a very young team.  In fact, this may be the youngest team ever as they only have 8 seniors, which is not the norm by any means.

The Panthers now have one regular season game left next week, as they will be hosting the Brown Deer Falcons.  Brown Deer is coming in at 5-2 and are tied for 1st place in the Woodland East.  In order for Greendale to be guaranteed a playoff spot, they will need to win.  If they do not, their record would fall to 4-4, which does qualify them for the playoffs, but it does not guarantee that they would be selected.  Needless to say, Brown Deer will come in highly motivated because they would need a win along with a Whitnall loss to win the Woodland East Division out right.  The game is scheduled to start at 7:00pm.

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