Add Greendale to the group of communities with a semi-professional football team.
The Greendale Panthers will play their first game in the Ironman Football League at 7 p.m. Saturday, May 30, at Greendale High School against the Rock County Gladiators. The Gladiators are based in Beloit.
The league, which traces back to 1996, will have 12 teams in 2009, one fewer than last year. Greendale will play in the National Conference with the Fond du Lac Crusaders, Muskego Hitmen, Madison Mustangs, West Allis Predators and Milwaukee Venom. The American Conference is comprised of the Burlington Blue Devils, Milwaukee Marauders, St. Francis Monarchs, Roscoe (Ill.) Rush, Wauwatosa Spartans and Rock County.
Aaron Smith, a 23-year-old Greendale graduate, is listed as the owner on the league Web site (ironmanfootballleague.com), but said, "As soon as the season starts, I'm just a player."
IFL teams will play 10 games. There are no games scheduled for July 4. Smith said the team hopes to play at least one exhibition.
Eight of the 12 teams qualify for the playoffs. The conference semifinals will be held Saturday, Aug. 22, and Sunday, Aug. 23. Conference championships are set for Saturday, Aug. 29. The Iron Bowl is scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 12.
Smith hopes to have a roster of 35. The majority of players likely will be familiar to followers of the high school program. The team colors are green and black, the same as Greendale High School's.
"It is almost a feeder system from the high school for people that couldn't play in college, or finish college or whatnot," Smith said. "They have a place that is familiar to them, where they have a lot of people they know.
"We'll be playing games at Greendale. The majority of the team is Greendale alumni. So it's continuing with what the high school and the whole program has done so far."
- Jerry Karpowicz,
(all games at 7 p.m.)
Saturday, May 30: ROCK COUNTY
Saturday, June 6: WEST ALLIS
Saturday, June 13: Milwaukee Venom at Milwaukee County Sports Complex
Saturday, June 20: at Muskego
Saturday, June 27: MADISON
Saturday, July 11: FOND DU LAC
Sunday, July 19: Wauwatosa at Wisconsin Lutheran College
Saturday, July, 25: MILWAUKEE MARAUDERS
Saturday, Aug. 1: Burlington Blue Devils
Saturday, Aug. 8: St. Francis at Shorewood High School
* home games in capital letters at Greendale High School
Details: Visit iflpanthers.com/Site/Welcome.html.
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