UPDATED: 11:35 p.m. Oct. 19
Sophomore quarterback Josh Ringelberg admitted to having redemption on the brain, at least a little bit, when his Greendale Panthers took on host Wauwatosa West in a WIAA Division 2 first-round playoff game Friday.
Just two weeks after throwing an interception in overtime that ended the Panthers' comeback bid in a 37-30 loss to the Trojans, Ringelberg made sure there was no such repeat, and he made sure of it rather quickly.
Ringelberg threw for 310 yards, including a cool and confident 300 with four touchdowns on 14-of-22 passing in the first half alone to lead the fifth-seeded Panthers (6-3) to a 41-16 blowout win over Wauwatosa West.
"Payback," Ringelberg said when asked what he thought about this week while preparing for the Trojans. "I didn't want to throw any (interceptions). I had one, but ... "
Ringelberg did throw one pick in the first half, but it hardly blemished his terrific performance that actually began with his legs before his arm took over. On just the second play from scrimmage, Ringelberg saw daylight and raced 74 yards down the left Trojans’ sideline to give Greendale a 6-0 lead just 58 seconds into the game.
"No one was there so I just tucked it and went," Ringelberg said. "I ran into my own player, but I just kept going and outran them, I guess."
On the Panthers’ very next possession, it took only two plays to score again, this time an 87-yard touchdown pass from Ringelberg to fellow sophomore Cody Kmetz.
Kmetz remained a huge target for Ringelberg in the first half. The next two balls he caught went for touchdowns of 33 and 39 yards as Greendale built a 26-7 lead with 7 minutes, 37 seconds left in the half.
Kmetz finished with six first-half catches for a whopping 192 yards and three TDs, for the Panthers, who had not won a playoff game since 2008, the last time they were in the Division 3 field.
"We just wanted to get a freakin’ playoff win," Greendale coach Rob Stoltz said. "Since we were bumped up to D2, we hadn’t had a win. We really, really wanted it. The redemption factor was there, of course."
For the Trojans, who were making their first playoff appearance since 2006 and seeking their first postseason victory in 37 years, the explosive offense that led them to 40 or more points in five of their eight regular season games never got going.
After Ringelberg’s quick score two plays into the game, the Trojans’ initial 10-play drive stalled out, resulting in a punt. Two plays later, Greendale held a 12-0 lead.
Tosa West (7-2) did show signs of life with a five-play 65-yard drive that ended with a 8-yard touchdown run by Demaris Purifoy to make it 12-7, but their next five possessions of the half ended in a blocked punt, an interception, a poor punt, another interception and a safety.
"Tosa West is insanely fast and athletic," Stoltz said. "Whatever you do in practice, you can’t simulate that. Getting to play them a second time, you’re more prepared for that."
Purifoy finished with 101 rushing yards on 33 carries.
For the Panthers, who will take on top-seeded and undefeated Brookfield East (9-0) next weekend, Ringelberg added 111 rushing yards on 12 carries, and Jake Zywicki had an even 100 and a touchdown on just seven carries.