Hawks hang on at East

Strong defense, Giorgi’s running and highlight-reel catch leads football team
By 
MITCH MAERSCH
Ozaukee Press staff

The Grafton High School football team’s second trip to West Bend in as many weeks yielded the same result, albeit last Friday’s contest went down a little differently.

The Black Hawks scored a touchdown in the third quarter and clamped down for a 21-17 win over West Bend East to go 2-0 in the North Shore Conference.

The Hawks’ defense held East to just a field goal for the entire second half. Coach Jim Norris credited defensive coordinator Mike Welden for preparing his unit well.

“They adjusted phenomenally, made some big fourth-down stops in the second half. It was fun to watch,” Norris said.

On offense, junior Joey Giorgi led the way, scoring three touchdowns and running for 144 yards on 28 carries, solidifying his role as the feature back.

“You could tell right away Joey was chomping at the bit. He made the most of every carry. It was great to see a kid break out and take that role,” Norris said.

After switching off each series between quarterbacks Brady Ward and Zach Weir, Norris went with Weir in the second half after Ward turned the ball over twice.

“Brady didn’t pout, didn’t take it personally. It was a proud moment to see,” Norris said.

A two-year team captain, Ward stayed in the game on defense and stepped up.

“I’ve never seen a defensive back come down and hit like he did,” Norris said.

Ward got one of his miscues back. After committing a turnover in the second quarter, he stripped a Suns’ ball carrier and recovered the fumble.

Linebacker Kyle Proefrock, who earned a spot as honorary captain this week, wreaked his own havoc.

“He absolutely manhandled some of their guys. There were a couple of fourth-down plays where he absolutely got after it,” Norris said.

Norris also praised Jack Orlowski for helping pin the Suns with his punting.

“It was a total team effort. It took all 11 of our guys to shut down what they were trying to do,” he said.

Weir went 8-for-17 passing for 99 yards and the deciding 3-yard score to Giorgi.

A second-quarter touchdown was set up on a fourth-and-1 play that Norris said should make ESPN’s “SportCenter.”

Weir saw something in the Suns’ defense and checked out of the play call. He instead ran a play-action pass and lofted a deep ball to Bryson Clague.

A Sun had the sophomore receiver covered, but had his back to the throw. Clague reached around the defensive back’s body with both arms, caught the ball while essentially hugging the defender and pinned the ball against his back as the two fell to the turf.

Norris, who has been around college and high school football for years and watches every game possible from Friday through Sunday, said “That’s the best catch I’ve ever seen.

“It was stupid,” he said.

Norris went nuts on the sideline — “I’m into the game, I coach hard” — and the sizeable traveling crowd followed suit.

“I haven’t heard them that loud in a while,” he said.

The 36-yard gain set up Giorgi’s second touchdown that gave Grafton a 14-7 lead.

East got two first-half touchdown passes from T.J. Simpson to tie the game at 14-14 at the break.

Simpson went 10-for-20 for 153 yards and two scores. Brady Schmidt led East in rushing with 78 yards on 15 carries.

The Hawks next play co-defending conference champ Homestead (2-0) at 7 p.m. Friday for their home opener.

Regardless of opponent, the goal, Norris repeats to his team regularly, is to go 1-0 on every play and every day.

 

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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.

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