Grafton drops nail-biter

Road loss to state champ doesn’t sit well with Black Hawks’ coach
By 
MITCH MAERSCH
Ozaukee Press staff

Last Friday was a coulda, shoulda, woulda at Homestead for Grafton High School’s football team.

A back-and-forth barn burner went to the Highlanders, 42-35, but it could have ended differently.

“We were the better football team. We had a couple of penalties and mental errors that hurt us. We left 140 yards on the field and 14 points,” coach Jim Norris said.

“We were the more physical team. There’s no question about it, and we were in way better condition.”

The Black Hawks had the ball with about two minutes to play in the game and completed a pass for 65 yards that moved the ball to the Highlanders’ 6-yard line.

But the Hawks were flagged for illegal hands to the face.

“The call was horrendous and I’m disappointed. It’s just a case of the refs deciding the game and not the players deciding the game,” Norris said.

“The refs did a very good job. Just the one play.”

Running back Joey Giorgi had another stellar game, running for 271 yards and two scores on 38 carries and catching one ball for 60 yards and a touchdown.

“He’s a very special athlete. He’s obviously shown by now he can perform on a very high level,” Norris said.

Norris credited the offensive line, including tight ends Caleb Buback and Mason Hunt-Olkowski.

The Hawks also got the passing game going. Senior quarterback Zach Weir went 13-for-20 passing for 301 yards and three touchdowns.

Receiver Dominic Voiland, the only Hawk with more than one catch, had eight balls for 221 yards and two scores, including a 93-yard bomb to open the game’s scoring.

“We found a hole in the defense and got the match-up we wanted,” Norris said.

“We never really had to get the ball to Dom as much because we’ve been able to run the ball so well against people. We knew homestead would be keying on Joey, which opens up the pass.”

Defensively, Dylan Robinson intercepted a pass for the second time in as many games.

“He’s doing a really good job. He still needs to focus on the process,” Norris said.

Joe Birch had eight tackles and Kenny Likins had five. Buback had four and a host of other Hawks each had three.

Norris said strong defense has been a collective effort.

“It’s not one or a few people,” he said.

For the Highlanders, J.J. Covill had 159 yards rushing and two scores on 25 carries. Ian Sheehy ran 13 times for 118 yards and a touchdown and Luke Konik ran four times for 101 yards and a score.

Homestead racked up 382 yards rushing.

Sheehy went 6-for-9 passing for 159 yards with two touchdowns and one interception.

Konik caught three balls for 114 yards and a score.

This was the first defeat for the Hawks, who nearly knocked off the defending Division 2 state champs and handed them their first loss since 2017. Grafton plays in Division 3.

“There are absolutely no moral victories. It made us stronger. It made us realize we are a great football team. We’ve got to focus on the little things,” Norris said.

“We’re hungry. Our boys keep at it. Nothing changes in our process. We’re still preparing the same, attacking the same.”

On Friday, Grafton hosts Whitefish Bay (3-0), which shares the top spot in the conference with Homestead and Hartford.

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Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

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