Greenfield extended its reign atop the Woodland Conference East Division for a second consecutive year after routing Shorewood/Messmer, 48-6, on a cold, dreary evening on the road Sept. 30.
“I think it’s really great for the school and community,” Greenfield first-year head coach Shane Covington said. “I think the kids definitely worked hard. I heard this class was pretty good before I got here. We are just going to use the momentum and keep on rolling.”
Both teams sat atop the East Division, tied with four conference wins apiece, entering this game. However, Greenfield (6-1, 5-0) took advantage of Shorewood/Messmer’s mistakes to pull away and dominate the Greyhounds (5-2, 4-1) from the second quarter on.
“We knew we were playing a good team.” Shorewood/Messmer head coach Chad Hofmann said. “We knew we had to bring our ‘A’ game, and honestly, we didn’t. We knew we didn’t play our best game. But to be the best, you have to beat the best.
“We were amped up for this, just like we were another week. We thought we had a good shot. I’m proud of my boys and their effort. We are going to learn from this. Take it on the chin and get better.”
Shorewood/Messmer trailed Greenfield, 7-0, after one quarter of play. Although the Greyhounds were struggling to develop rhythm offensively, they were still within striking distance.
It wasn’t until the 3:47 mark of the second quarter, when Greenfield quarterback Rayvon Bartlett Jr. walked into the end zone for a 45-yard touchdown, that the momentum started to sway into the Hustlin’ Hawks favor.
With the score 14-0, Shorewood/Messmer fumbled on its second play of its next offensive series. Greenfield recovered, and on the next play, Ezekiel Banks tallied his second touchdown of the game on a 26-yard scamper to make it 21-0 with three minutes left before halftime.
“I just stay patient and find the hole,” Banks said. “Try to draw defenders. Make cuts at the right time. Follow my blockers and just be a dominant player.”
On the ensuing kickoff, Greenfield kicked a surprising onside kick and recovered the ball, taking over on the Greyhounds’ 46-yard line.
“It’s raining, so it’s hard to cover the ball up,” Covington said.
Bartlett Jr. found the end zone once again, recording a 1-yard TD run to cap a six-play, 46-yard drive with 20 seconds left in the second quarter. Greenfield led 27-0 after the missed extra point.
And yet, the half wasn't over.
On the final play of the half, Samuel Hodges intercepted Shorewood/Messmer QB Joe Friedman and returned it for a 90-yard touchdown, giving the Hustlin’ Hawks a 34-0 halftime lead.
“There was a three-minute period where things just went haywire,” Hofmann said. “We had a fumble, they had a quick score – big play. Then they had an onside kick and pick-6. That was a big turning point in the game. Obviously, our boys still fought and still battled, and that’s what’s important.”
The second half was the same story, as Shorewood/Messmer struggled on both sides of the ball, while Greenfield continued to add on.
Shorewood/Messmer did ruin Greenfield’s shutout attempt, as Grant Brown returned a kickoff for a touchdown with 1:48 remaining in the game, making it 48-6 after a blocked extra point.
Although it was a statement win for Greenfield, Covington wasn’t satisfied.
“I’m a big guy to focus on the little things,” Covington said. “The score is great, but inside, it’s still not good enough for me as far as playing the game of football. My guys need to do a better job of focusing on their assignments and technique.
“It was a win today, but with their head coach, it’s not a win for me. We need to keep pounding at the rock and keep doing what we’re doing.”
After missing last week’s game due to a suspension, Banks led the way for Greenfield, finishing with 218 rushing yards and four touchdowns on 20 attempts. Bartlett Jr. also had a big night, registering 113 passing yards and 47 yards on the ground, including two rushing TDs.
“I had a good practice this week,” Banks said. “I just wanted to come out and perform. Be the dominant player as usual and get the win.”
Greenfield faces New Berlin Eisenhower on Oct. 7 before meeting Pewaukee – the winner of the Woodland West Division – in the ninth week of the season for the overall Woodland title Oct. 13.
“We just try not to look ahead,” Covington said. “I don’t even put film up of a team two weeks ahead. We are going to focus on whoever we got in the crossover. From there, we are just going to keep trying to do our best. That’s all we can do.”