Black Hawks craft a defensive masterpiece in shutout

Grafton is one victory away from a fifth straight playoff appearance
By 
MITCH MAERSCH
Ozaukee Press staff

It’s not as if the Greenfield High School football team didn’t threaten to score on Grafton last Friday. It’s just that every time the Hustlin’ Hawks got close, the Black Hawks turned them away.

Grafton, whose defense has only allowed 44 points in the first five games of the season — only 14 in the second halves — notched its first shutout of the year, 28-0, in front of a loud home crowd.

“Unreal performance,” coach Jim Norris said of his defense, praising defensive coordinator Russell Cross.

The Hawks intercepted three passes and recovered a muffed punt.

Defensive back Garrett Bonk, chosen to be one of the team captains for the week,  picked off two passes. The first came in the first half when Greenfield’s quarterback rolled right and tossed the ball just before he was going to be sacked. Bonk returned the interception nine yards to Greenfield’s 17-yard line, which led to the Hawks’ second score.

The second pick came in the third quarter. The Hustlin’ Hawks had a first down at Grafton’s 36-yard line and lofted a ball to the end zone. Bonk drifted back, leaped into the air and hung onto the ball as Greenfield receiver Jahquan Redding tried to pull it away and ended up slamming Bonk to the ground.

“He was just all over the field making plays everywhere. He had a huge game for us,” Norris said.

Vince Cameranesi caught Grafton’s third interception in the fourth quarter, an overthrow that hit him in the numbers.

A few plays later, Carson Faust recovered a muffed punt at Greenfield’s 33-yard line.

Inside linebacker and team captain Ben Birch and linebacker Jackson Heinle each had five tackles.

“Ben Birch, as usual, was huge. He’s just rock solid all the time,” Norris said.

Lineman Josh Lee-O’Bryant was a force on both sides of the ball, leading the running attack and stuffing Greenfield’s ground game. He once blew through the middle of the line and popped a ball carrier, who went down instantly for a loss, igniting his team and the crowd.

“Every week we’re just glad he’s on our team. He would be a pain in the butt to game plan for,” Norris said.

On offense, sophomore backup tailback Tommy Lutz ran 31 times for 163 yards and a score, often bursting through arm tackles and stretching for more yards.

Lutz is filling in for last season’s Woodland Conference Back of the Year, Chase Norton, who injured his arm in a Sept. 2 win over Wisconsin Lutheran.

“He stepped in and we didn’t miss a beat,” Norris said of Lutz. “He’s a guy that even as a freshman we were able to throw in there and be confident to run the ball.”

Cameranesi went 6-for-11 for 76 yards and a 19-yard touchdown to tight end Ben Dobberfuhl on a screen pass in the first quarter.

Sophomore Brady Hilgart went 9-for-13 passing for 103 yards and a 10-yard touchdown to tight end Carson Faust on a play-action swing pass.

“Brady has really stepped up,” Norris said, adding that his play allows Cameranesi to focus on defense.

“Vinny is one of our best corners,” he said.

Norris said offensive coordinator Luke Menzel had an excellent game plan, and that this was the first time the team put together a full game.

“Our guys did a good job executing the game plan,” he said.

The Hawks, 3-0 in the Woodland and 4-1 overall, are one win from qualifying for the playoffs for the fifth straight season — all under Norris. They play three homecoming games in a row — the first two on the road before Grafton’s on Oct. 7. The Hawks first play at Shorewood/Messmer (1-2 Woodland) on Friday, then at Cudahy (0-3) on Sept. 30.

“We’re going to be able to play in some really good environments,” Norris said.

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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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