Greendale seizes control of Woodland Conference
Panthers have enough in reserve to down Pewaukee
Greendale football coach Rob Stoltz feels his team has a lot more to give than what it mustered Friday in a crucial Woodland West battle against Pewaukee. But that doesn't mean his explosive offense was struggling to score.
The Panthers led by as many as 20 points in the fourth quarter, and though the Pirates scratched back within six points at the 39-second mark, an ensuing onside kick drifted out of bounds, and the Panthers walked away with a 34-28 victory at Greendale.
Running back Jake Zywicki ran for 122 yards and three touchdowns, and quarterback Josh Ringelberg threw for 208 yards and two touchdowns as Greendale won the battle of 3-0 teams and snapped Pewaukee's 18-game regular-season winning streak.
"We gave them every opportunity to get back in the game," Greendale coach Rob Stoltz said. "Not once, not twice, repeatedly, all second half. That's what you get when you play Pewaukee; they're a phenomenal program, very well coached. You talk about getting 100 percent out of the players, they do it.
"I like our 'excellent' game. Offensively, it wasn't excellent tonight."
Can't close it out
When Mitchell Brees caught a 20-yard touchdown with 5:22 to go, the Panthers held a 34-14 lead, and the next three Pewaukee drives all ended without points. Greendale never found the clincher however, and Pewaukee scored on a 1-yard run by Collin Sternad with 3:57 to go, then again on a 12-yard pass to Eric Lutzen on fourth-and-9 with 39 seconds left.
"Our guys showed a ton of heart and fight," Pewaukee coach Justin Friske said. "I'm really proud of the effort. When it was 34-14 and it looked like things were going backward on us, we bowed up and played incredibly well for the last 12 minutes of the game."
Jordan Jones finished with 100 yards rushing and a touchdown in a breakout performance for the Pirates, and Ryan Stepanovich added 160 all-purpose yards and a score.
"Jordan ran incredibly hard tonight," Friske said. "I thought we were pretty balanced in terms of left and right and up the middle. They were concerned about stopping our fullback game and they did stop our fullback game. I thought well maybe we can get them off tackle, so we were able to execute some of that."
But Greendale still had too much offense. The Panthers had a lead just 33 seconds after kickoff, scoring on a 32-yard run from Zywicki one play after Greendale's first snap resulted in a 32-yard pass to Brees. Zywicki scored twice more in the first half, punctuating a drive that made it 21-7 after Pewaukee had forced a three-and-out but fumbled the punt.
When Cody Kmetz caught a touchdown with one minute left in the first half, the Panthers had scores on four of their first five drives.
"We need to finish the games," Kmetz said. "We had a 20-point lead, and then we lost it again. We have to finish every single game and end it right. We let them come back, and we just can't do that."
Trio receives passing grade
The triumvirate of Kmetz, Brees and Nate Miller finished with 14 catches for 172 yards.
"I think we have the best receiving corps in the state," Kmetz said. "Mitch and I are really dynamic together. They can't really double team either one of us."
Then they have Ringelberg giving them the ball, a player Friske considers the best in the conference.
"They have multiple guys that can get it done in several different ways," Friske said. "They have three guys they can throw to on the perimeter plus a really good running back, and their guys up front execute their scheme extremely well."
In a Western Division that might be the best compilation of Woodland teams in years, both squads remain as the heavyweights figuring prominently in the title chase. The two prepared for the tougher league with two nonconference wins against quality competition.
"You want people that are going to challenge you so you're battle-tested," Stoltz said. "When you come out victorious, especially after that performance, all the better."
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