Road rout

Grafton’s seniors keep football season going with victory over higher seed
By 
MITCH MAERSCH
Ozaukee Press staff

Grafton High School’s football team entered last Friday’s playoff game at Ashwaubenon with something to prove, and that’s how they played.

The Black Hawks were given a No. 5 seed, lower than they thought they deserved, in the Division 3 playoffs and took all their frustration out on their No. 4-seeded hosts.

For the second straight season, the Hawks won their opening-round playoff game via blowout, this time by 49-24.

Grafton improved to 7-3. The Jaguars ended their season with the same record.

The usual suspect of senior Joey Giorgi, the state’s leading rusher according to wissports.net, had 247 yards and three touchdowns on 41 carries.

“He’s the real deal. He’s an all-state caliber running back,” coach Jim Norris said.

Senior quarterback Zach Weir went 14-for-16 for 207 yards and two touchdowns.

“He played a hell of a game. He’s a playmaker. He extends plays. He makes a lot of really good choices,” Norris said.

Receiving duties were by committee. Dominic Voiland had five catches for 64 yards and Giorgi had four for 41 yards and a touchdown.

Joe Birth had two grabs for 50 yards and a score, and Mason Hunt-Olkowski had three catches for 52 yards.

The Hawks built a 28-3 first-half lead on a Weir 12-yard touchdown run, scoring runs of 33 and seven yards by Giorgi and a Birch 40-yard touchdown catch.

Ashwaubenon scored its first touchdown on a 31-yard pass on the final play of the first half to make it 28-10.

The Hawks’ defense had to handle wide receiver Luke Schroeder, the son of former Green Bay Packer Bill, and quarterback Cadian Vang.

The Hawks stuffed the Jaguars’ running game early, including once on fourth and short.

“We sucked wind out of their running game early and forced them to be one dimensional and toss the ball a lot,” Norris said, praising the plan of defensive coordinator Joey Ray.

Linebacker Kenny Likins had 10 tackles and two sacks. Joe Birch had six tackles and Dylan Robinson had five, along with his fifth interception of the season.

The Hawks extended the lead to 49-10 before the Jaguars scored two late touchdowns. Giorgi ran for a three-yard score and caught an 11-yard pass for another. Weir ran for his second touchdown of the game from five yards out to end the Hawks’ scoring.

“We put the pedal to the metal and sucked the wind out of everything. Our boys do a really good job in the second half of games that are close,” Norris said.

The second-year head coach said he could tell a good performance was coming after the team’s 90-minute bus trip.

“We got off the bus and went into their middle school gym. We had a phenomenal walkthrough. It gave me the chills watching our boys prepare. They were so locked in on what their assignments were,” he said.

The Hawks return north on Friday to face West De Pere, the No. 1 seed with a 10-0 record.

“In order to beat the best you have to play the best,” Norris said he told his team.

Playing in the North Shore Conference against tough teams such as Hartford, Homestead and Slinger helped prepare the Hawks for such a challenge, he said.

And they’re still out to prove they deserved better than a 5 seed.

“Our team has a chip on our shoulder and we still do. It showed within our week of practice last week and our practice tonight,” Norris said on Monday.

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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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