Red zone is the dead zone too often for Ozaukee at Hilbert

Ozaukee Press staff


Missed scoring opportunities continued to plague Ozaukee High School’s football team last Thursday at Hilbert, and this time it meant being eliminated from playoff contention.

The Warriors lost, 21-7, and fell to 1-4 in the Big East Conference with two games to play. With few exceptions, teams need a 4-3 league record to play in the postseason.

“We had red zone struggles,” coach Cole Large said.

The Warriors tried to hang tough on defense, led by linebacker Blake Cocanower, who had 19 tackles and a forced fumble.

“Blake might have had his best game at linebacker in his career,” Large said. “He was all over the field. He was thumping guys.”

Sophomore quarterback Noah Harness went 9-for-27 passing for 149 yards and a touchdown. Bret Hamm ran 18 times for 88 yards and caught three balls for 34 yards. Sawyer Kowalkowski caught two balls for 43 yards.

“Brett was running downhill. He was doing a really good job,” Large said.

Joe Grabowski returned from injury and caught two passes for 25 yards and made five tackles at cornerback. During a screen pass, Grabowski “got hit by the D end at a yard and he ended up gaining 11,” Large said. On another pass, he was one block away from a touchdown.

The Warriors started well, scoring on their first drive on a play the coaches designed.

“Blake Cocanower got himself wide open and broke a few tackles” on his way to a 47-yard touchdown from Harness.

Ozaukee then forced and recovered a fumble, and drove to Hilbert’s 6-yard line. On third and one, the Warriors were called for being offsides before they were set. Large debated to no avail, and after an incomplete pass they decided to try a field goal. The snap was a little high, and Kowalkowski’s kick sailed left.

The Wolves scored on a blown coverage, and Ozaukee got the ball back with 40 seconds left in the half and took two shots at the end zone. One ball was overthrown and the second slipped through Kowalkowski’s hands, leaving the score tied at 7 at the break.

“We played a good half. Our kids were fired up, doing some good things,” Large said.

The Warriors tried a pooch kick to start the third quarter. Chase Mills “lit a kid up,” Large said, and Ozaukee recovered.

After a couple of first downs, a sack effectively stalled the drive.

Another time, a long run was called back due to a penalty.

“Things like that — all of a sudden something would happen that screwed the drive up,” Large said.

“It was a good back-and-forth game. In a couple of key moments, they came through and we didn’t.”

Kevin Diaz made 10 tackles, Michael Higginbotham had eight and Kowalkowski had six.

Hilbert rushed for 325 yards, led by Austin Cullen’s 185 and two scores on 16 carries. Logan Lau ran 13 times for 75 yards and Matthew Sweere ran 15 times for 70 yards. Carson Grenzer went 5-for-6 for 91 yards and a score.

Lau made 19 tackles.

Ozaukee, 2-5 overall, plays at Howards Grove (3-2 Big East) on Friday.



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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
(262) 284-3494


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