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Hawks: Big plays highlight long-overdue win PDF Print E-mail
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Written by MITCH MAERSCH   
Wednesday, 27 September 2017 19:11

None of this year’s Grafton High School football players remember the last time the Black Hawks beat Cedarburg.
They hadn’t been born yet.
But last Friday the Hawks made a new memory they can eventually share with their children and grandchildren for decades to come.
The Hawks last topped the Bulldogs on Oct. 18, 1996 — a 35-28 thriller in which Grafton scored the final 21 points.
Grafton left no doubt this time in North Shore Conference play, racking up nearly 500 yards of offense and picking off three passes during a 46-7 demolition in front of the packed stands for their homecoming game.
Orlowski catch 3 (CR) 4CPlayers grasped the historical significance of the victory moments after the game.
“It feels amazing, especially in my senior year. Great way to go out against Cedarburg,” senior two-way lineman Connor Ramsey said.
“This is the best feeling I’ve ever had. It’s so nice to pay back the seniors who have put so much time and work into the program,” junior Caden Knauer said. The tailback ran for a game-high 175 yards and two touchdowns on 16 carries.
“The team just came together, man. All my seniors have been awesome,” second-year coach Shaun Behrend said.
Junior quarterback Brady Ward completed 14 of 16 passes for an 87.5% completion rate for 217 yards and three touchdowns.
The Black Hawks’ defense, led by senior hard-hitting linebacker and homecoming king John Kluck, held the Bulldogs to seven points in the first half and shut them out in the second.
“We had a really good game plan. Me and Joey Giorgi were just attacking at linebacker, so we knew they had to pass it and we have good defensive backs,” Kluck said.

Junior Jack Orlowski was the human homecoming highlight reel, catching three balls on offense — two for scores — and two on defense. His touchdown on Grafton’s first possession was one to behold.
From the 11-yard line, Ward lofted a ball to the back corner of the end zone where Orlowski was heading. His 6-foot, 4-inch frame left the ground with one arm outstretched. Orlowski, recovering from an injured right thumb, reached for the ball with his left hand and it stuck. He pulled the ball into his body and corralled it with both hands for the score.
“I’m just so used to practice, just using my left hand. My right arm got caught on the guy. So I just did what I could do. I put out my left hand and caught it, looked at the line and see if I was in and I just felt a rush,” he said.
On the ensuing drive, Grafton drove to Cedarburg’s 4-yard line, where Ward looked to make a handoff. But Knauer ran the wrong direction and the play looked to be busted.
Ward saved it. He turned back toward the end zone and made a break for it. He fell across the goal line.
“Gotta find a way to get in there somehow. I looked to pass right away and saw an opening,” he said.
“Brady stayed calm and kept it alive, and that’s all you can ask for,” Behrend said.
Knauer created his own highlight in the second quarter. From Grafton’s 46, he took a pitch left, found an opening and burst down the sideline. He looked like he was going to be caught as defenders closed, but the senior faked a move inside and then stayed outside, leaving the Bulldogs stymied and grasping at air.
“We call that a dead leg,” he said. “It was awesome.”
An Orlowski sliding, over-the-shoulder catch for 33 yards set up a Giorgi five-yard touchdown run, and late in the second quarter, Grafton used veteran savvy to extend its 26-7 lead. After a punt, the Hawks started from their own 30 with 31.4 seconds left.
Senior Matthew Starr took a short pass and weaved his way for 37 yards to Cedarburg’s 33. Grafton called timeout with 23.2 seconds on the clock.
Knauer caught a ball for no gain but got out of bounds. Ward threw incomplete, then ran for 13 yards and got out of bounds with 12.3 seconds left at Cedarburg’s 20.
Kluck caught a quick pass for 12 yards and lunged as he was tackled, reaching the ball across the sideline to stop the clock.
Ward then rolled right and went through his progressions before finding Starr in the end zone for an eight-yard score with three seconds left.
After a stretch of rough third quarters, Grafton made sure not to let Cedarburg back in the game. On fourth and one, the Hawks’ Joe Birch blanketed a Bulldog receiver and forced an incompletion.
Two plays later, Ward hit Owlowski with a 33-yard over-the-shoulder bomb, and the rout was on.
“We talked about it. We have not had really good third quarters. We let them know where we were at and what we needed to do in the third quarter,” Behrend said.
“It was a big momentum switch. We knew at that point we just had to keep our foot on the gas and end it,” Ward said.
Behrend praised his team for overcoming his inserted adversity at Wednesday’s practice to avoid homecoming week distractions, and he praised the play of Stenberg.
“Griffin Stenberg is just a true Black Hawk. He’s becoming a leader. I’m so proud of that kid from where he was when I first got here to now,” he said.
Behrend said he was happy senior Zach Trapman caught a pass, a 10-yarder, and again lauded Ramsey and Kluck, two regular solid performers, as well as Starr.
Grafton kept good field position throughout as Calen Knauer blasted kickoffs that Cedarburg had trouble fielding, and the Hawks’ kick coverage slammed returners instantly. Knauer also picked off a pass on a jump ball to end the third quarter.
Once 1-3, the Hawks are now .500 again at 3-3 in the North Shore Conference. They next head to 5-1 Hartford, a playoff qualifier.
“Our goal has been playoffs since the first day of summer lifting. We’ve got to finish the season, make a run,” Ramsey said.
Remember when: Oct. 18, 1996
In the last win over Cedarburg, Kyle Van Sluys went 22-for-31 passing for 316 yards and three touchdowns. Eric Schmitz caught 10 balls for 162 yards, and tight end Beau Heyden caught six for 93 yards.
Grafton was down, 21-14, at half, and 28-20 late in the game.
Jason Parchim had a three-yard touchdown run for the winning score with 53 seconds left.
“This is the kind of game memories are made of. It shows what attitude and effort can do,” coach Kip Cramer said.
That win also moved Grafton to 3-3 in the conference and set up a showdown with Port Washington for the final playoff spot in the NSC, which is mathematically possible this season when the Pirates host the Hawks on Oct. 13.
In other news, the No. 1 song of the week was “The Macarena” by Los Del Rio.
Brett Favre and the Green Bay Packers were in the middle of their Super Bowl title season, and Bill Clinton was president.
In local news, a 46-year-old man from Gurnee, Ill., shot himself in front of the Port police department; the Port School Board voted to lower the pool temperature from 84 to 82 degrees; and Port officials were deciding the color of the Subway restaurant sign.
In Grafton, the village approved annexing land for the I-43 and Highway 60 interchange.
In the Oct. 24 edition with the game story, Ozaukee Press ran a front-page photo of Argo, a 95-pound crime-fighting German shepherd, planting a kiss on then-deputy and now-sheriff Jim Johnson.

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