Comeback comes too late in homecoming loss

Ozaukee scores final 12 points but Reedsville prevails in Big East game
Ozaukee Press staff

Things finally started to click for Ozaukee High School’s football team in the second half, but key mistakes and not enough ticks left sent the Warriors to a 21-12 homecoming defeat to Reedsville last Friday.

The Warriors totaled less than 30 yards of offense on 21 plays in the first half, but Bret Hamm still finished the game with 113 yards rushing and Sawyer Kowalkowski had 118 yards receiving.

“Attitudes. That was it,” coach Cole Large said of the difference between the first and second halves.

“As soon as they got stopped, some guys were throwing their hands up,” Large said of his team’s first-half offense.

“In the first half, we weren’t all there. We were yelling at each other. We’ve got to be mentally strong,” Hamm said.

“If we bring it the first half like we did in the second half, we win that game by three touchdowns.”

Ozaukee fell behind, 14-0, to the Panthers after two quarters. The Warriors didn’t run a play in Reedsville’s side of the field in the first half.

The score could have been worse, but after Noah Harness threw an interception deep in his own territory, Sawyer Kowalkowski picked off a pass at the goal line with 38 seconds left to prevent a third score.

The Warriors came out strong in the second half. On the first possession, they drove to the Panthers’ 19-yard line on seven running plays and faced fourth and three.

A false start penalty made it fourth and eight, and running back Bret Hamm was stopped after a one-yard gain.

The Panthers ripped off a 33-yard run and hit a 37 yard pass on the way to a six-yard scoring toss from Ryan Taddy to Parker Maney to make it 21-0.

The 14-point swing could have crushed the Warriors, but they kept coming.

In the fourth quarter, Harness pump faked, then hit a wide open Kowalkowski on a fly pattern for a 91-yard touchdown with 3 minutes, 41 seconds to play.

“They were biting on the bubble screen all night,” Kowalkowski said of the Panthers’ defense.

Mason Schroeder booted a perfect onsides kick, and Hamm recovered near midfield.

Harness hit Kowalkowski for 15 yards, threw two incompletions, hit Blake Cocanower across the middle for 22 yards and then found a leaping Hamm on a rollout pass for an 11-yard score. The two-point play failed for the second time, and Ozaukee was down, 21-12.

A second onsides kick sailed farther than planned, but it still squirted away from Reedsville’s deep man and Ozaukee nearly recovered.

The Warriors forced a punt with 38 seconds left but couldn’t score again.

“It’s good when everybody rallies together at the end. I think we were playing a little more loose,” fullback and linebacker Cocanower said.

“If there’s time on the clock we keep playing, and that’s what the guys did, but it was at the point where it was too little, too late. We’ve got to come out like that. The opportunities were there,” Large said.

A couple of players said a stronger start could have led to a different result.

“If we played the whole game like our second half, I believe we would’ve pulled through,” lineman Skyler Mills said.

“If we get our heads on straight in the first half — we’ve just got to come out strong and we’ll be good,” Kowalkowski said.

Harness, a sophomore in his fifth start, went 9-for-21 for 162 yards with two touchdowns and one interception.

On defense, Cocanower had 11 tackles, Hamm had nine and Grady Klas had eight. Chase Mills had six, and Kowalkowski and Michael Higginbotham each had five.

For Reedsville, Taddy went 6-for-13 for 50 yards with a touchdown and pick.

Dain Totten ran 26 times for 169 yards, including a 51-yard score, and Taddy ran 10 times for 65 yards and a touchdown.

Casey Braun made 14 tackles, and Totten and Cam Dvorachek each had 12.

Ozaukee, 1-2 in the Big East Conference and 2-3 overall, plays at Manitowoc Lutheran (0-3 Big East) in its homecoming game on Friday, Sept. 23.

Reedsville, the defending Division 7 champs who graduated many seniors and has a new coach, is 2-1 in the Big East and 4-1 overall.



Click Here to Send a Letter to the Editor

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
(262) 284-3494


User login