Slinger soars as Giorgi is slowed

Owls make key plays down the stretch; Hawks still one win from playoffs

GRAFTON’S ZACH WEIR fired a pass behind the blocks of Nathan Skeeba (74) and Jack Harmon (78) last Friday in Slinger. Photo by Mitch Maersch
Ozaukee Press staff

Slinger High School’s football team accomplished a feat last Friday none other had this season against Grafton.

The Owls stopped running back Joey Giorgi.

That ultimately led to a 28-14 victory in their homecoming game and earned a spot in the postseason. The Black Hawks remain one victory away from qualifying for the playoffs for the second straight year.

Giorgi, who has about 1,500 yards on the ground this season, averaging 8.1 yards per carry, was held to 69 yards on 17 attempts.

“They had a good plan. They’re one of the No. 1-rated defenses in the conference for a reason,” coach Jim Norris said.

“They load eight in the box. They’re well disciplined. They’re gap sound and they force you to become one dimensional.”

That meant much of the offensive load fell on quarterback Zach Weir and the passing game. The senior went 14-for-23 for 224 yards and two scores.

Norris has said football games come down to a handful of plays.

“They were on the right side of it,” he said.

Indeed, when the Owls needed a play, they made it.

Down, 22-14, with a few minutes left to play, the Owls faced fourth and five from their 21-yard line. Quarterback Logan Homberg fired a bomb to the left sideline to Connor Goodwin for a 39-yard gain.

The Owls had success with that play much of the night. Goodwin went up and won battles for the ball, racking up 149 yards receiving and a touchdown on seven catches.

Later on the drive on third and seven, Homberg scrambled up the middle for 12 yards to move the chains. He finished it off with a 27-yard touchdown run with barely a minute left. That made it 28-14 and essentially sealed the victory.

“Ultimately, we had a lot of opportunities. We’ve got to find a way to make plays late in the game,” Norris said.

The Hawks lost two fumbles in the fourth quarter, both after pass completions across the middle. The first led to a field goal while the Hawks forced a punt after the second.

“You can’t win football games when the turnover margin is not in your favor,” Norris said.

The teams traded touchdowns in the first and second quarter. Goodwin caught a 35-yard bomb on the Owls’ first drive, and the Hawks answered with six minutes left in the half.

The Hawks’ defense held the Owls to a two-yard run on fourth and three from Grafton’s 33-yard line and then went on a 69-yard drive.

Giorgi converted on a third and seven with 14-yard rumble up the middle, plowing over defenders.

On third and 11 from the 14-yard line, Weird rolled right, considered running but pulled back and threw to Owen Wiziarde, who was running in the same direction of his quarterback in the end zone.

The Owls answered on their next drive, converting two third downs and one fourth. On second and goal from the 1-yard line, Homberg rolled right and found Travis Dufour open with 8.8 seconds left.

Homberg ended with 143 yards rushing and a score on 24 tries. He went 10-for-14 passing for 169 yards and two scores.

“He’s a good player, he’s well coached. He plays with a lot of effort,” Norris said.

Defensively, Joe Birch led the Hawks with 11 tackles and J.P. Benzschawel had eight. Silvio Lanza and Kenny Likins each had seven, and Andrew Ribecky had six.

The Hawks, 4-3 in the North Shore Conference, host Nicolet (3-4) on Friday.

 Slinger (5-2) plays at Homestead (6-1).



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Ozaukee Press

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.

125 E. Main St.
Port Washington, WI 53074
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