The Greendale football team made a resounding statement to the prep football world Friday night, thrashing visiting perennial contender Franklin, 37-13, before an overflow home crowd. Franklin entered the contest ranked No. 2 in the area.
"It's a big win not just because it's a cross-town thing," Greendale head coach Rob Stoltz said. "It's Franklin. They're an annual power. You never know what to expect or how close a game is going to be. We have a lot of work to do, but I can't tell the kids it's not a big deal, because it is a big deal."
After a slow start for both offenses, Greendale clung to a 9-7 lead midway through the second quarter. Senior wideout Mitchell Brees put Greendale ahead 16-7 in the final minutes of the first half with an impressive catch and run that included five broken tackles.
"That was a filthy play," Stoltz said. "There's not much else you can say about him. He's an incredible athlete."
The 6-foot-3 Brees struck again in the third quarter, this time on a 54-yard touchdown strike from junior quarterback Josh Ringelberg. Brees simply outran the coverage and hauled in a perfect throw.
The Sabers responded quickly, going 71 yards in five plays capped by senior Austin Meyer's powerful 10-yard touchdown run down the left sideline. A failed 2-point conversion left the score at 23-13. It was the last time it would be a remotely close contest.
Early in the fourth quarter, Ringelberg missed a wide open Cody Kmetz down the middle of the field, but a few plays later, he went right back at the same target. Ringelberg lobbed another touchdown strike over the Franklin secondary, this time for 43 yards.
"Obviously the two big plays opened things up for us," Stoltz said. "We did feel like we matched up with them well. They have monster linebackers and in the middle they're as good as you can get. But we thought in open space that we could do some things. Obviously after last week, it's clear that we have the potential to be a big play offense."
The Greendale offense has shown itself to be an explosive force through two weeks, scoring 51 points on Cedarburg in its season-opener.
Senior running back Jake Zywicki closed out the scoring for Greendale, crossing the goal line on a 36-yard touchdown run at the 7:41 mark.
"Our quarterback and receiver group will tell you that we need a running game to be successful on offense, and we did that," Stoltz said. "We ran when we needed to run. We passed when we needed to pass. We've got our work cut out for us, but I'm proud of the performance."
On the Sabers' sideline, it was a wake-up call of sorts. The Sabers had accumulated preseason acclaim and looked the part last week in a 44-16 drubbing of always-formidable Sussex Hamilton.
"You have to give Greendale all the credit in the world. They earned it, they outplayed us, and that's a good football team. They've got some great speed and a lot of good athletes," Franklin head coach Louis Brown said.
Franklin (1-1) opens its Southeast Conference schedule next week at Racine Horlick. The Panthers go for 3-0 when they open Woodland-West play at Pius.
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