Greendale - Coming off back-to-back losses, the Greendale football team needed to win its regular-season finale on Friday night to ensure a playoff berth.
On Senior Night, the honorees took matters into their own hands.
Led by superior line play on both sides of the ball, the Panthers exploded for four touchdowns in the second quarter en route to a 42-0 rout of Brown Deer at Greendale High School.
"Competition is a very fickle thing," said Greendale head coach Rob Stoltz. "We've had a lot of things not go the way we had planned or anticipated to be certain, but this is a resilient group.
"That scoreboard doesn't tell how talented Brown Deer is; they have talent. For our kids to do what they did tonight I thought was pretty special, and what a great memory for the seniors."
Opening scoring early
The Panthers opened the game with a 79-yard drive that culminated in a 3-yard touchdown pass from Josh Ringelberg to wideout Mitchell Brees.
Ringelberg was a perfect 4-for-4 passing on the drive and also rushed for 30 yards behind a steady push by his senior-led offensive line.
"We only have eight seniors in uniform, but those guys have been the glue that's held us together for a lot of the year," Stoltz praised. "They know this year will be remembered largely on their shoulders, as that's how it is with any senior class, and I thought they provided great leadership this week."
Later in the first quarter, a pair of receptions for more than 20 yards by Nate Miller and Cody Kmetz set up a 9-yard touchdown run by Ringelberg, who shot up the middle unscathed.
Propelled by a 62-yard kickoff return by Jordan Smith, the Falcons worked their way inside Greendale's 10-yard line on their next possession before turning it over on downs. The Panthers promptly drove 92 yards in two minutes, scoring on a 43-yard touchdown bomb from Ringelberg to Brees to make it 21-0.
Brown Deer's offense never recovered, and Ringelberg added three more touchdown passes before halftime - a 35-yard deep ball to Miller, a 25-yard catch-and-run by tight end Peter Pekar and a 9-yard shovel pass to Pekar in the final minute of the second quarter. Just like that, Greendale led 42-0 and coasted to victory.
Finishing third in West
The Panthers finished 5-3 on the season, good for third place in the Woodland West.
"In all facets of our game, we've had roller coaster moments this year," Stoltz said. "Tonight was an example of what happens when the parts of the wheel are working at the same time."
Ringelberg threw for 222 yards and added 105 on the ground. Greendale's defense also put up one of its best efforts of the season, shutting down the Falcons' prolific passing attack.
Greendale begins WIAA Division 2 tournament play at 7 p.m. Oct. 19 against a familiar foe, Wauwatosa West.
The Panthers lost to Tosa West, 37-30, in overtime just two weeks ago after rallying from a 30-14 deficit late in the contest.
West (7-1) features a balanced rushing attack, as Mickey Morgan ran for 648 yards and 11 touchdowns, Jameson Brock 642 yards and nine scores and Greg Lewis 628 yards and seven touchdowns. Quarterback Jared Morzinski passed for 748 yards and eight scores on the season for the Trojans, who averaged 34.4 points this year.
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