LINKEDINCOMMENTMORE

If this was the last installment of the Homestead-Germantown rivalry we’re going to see for some time, it wasn’t representative of what has became one of the most storied rivalries in Wisconsin high school football.

The defending state champion Highlanders (10-1) thoroughly dominated visiting Germantown, 31-7, in an Oct. 28 WIAA Division 2 Level 2 playoff game.

The top-seeded Highlanders entered the Germantown game a heavy favorite and beat the Warhawks (5-6) on Sept. 9, 21-3, but Germantown was riding a three-game winning streak and scored 55, 45 and 49 points in those games.

With the storied history between these two teams, Homestead knew this was one it couldn’t take lightly.

“It’s very sad that this is the end,” Homestead head coach Dave Keel said regarding next season’s conference realignment that will take Germantown from the North Shore Conference and put it in the Greater Metro. “Germantown is always a tough team, they always play hard and bring everything they’ve got. It’s just too bad.”

Homestead will advance to a Level 3 playoff game with North Shore rival Whitefish Bay on Nov. 4.

The Warhawks hung with Highlanders for a half on Oct. 28, but ultimately, it was the Homestead defense that proved to be too much.

Homestead scored easily on a steady, rush-heavy opening drive capped by a 10-yard touchdown run into the left corner of the end zone by junior running back Bradley Woldt.

Later, Homestead junior Ben Price put the Highlanders up 10-0 early in the second when he connected on a 37-yard field goal.

“I think that’s the longest one I’ve hit,” Price said. “I didn’t really do anything different. Just kick it. The wind didn’t hurt.”

On Germantown’s ensuing possession, Homestead sophomore Emory Weeden intercepted Collin Sathe after recognizing a route his coaches prepped him for all week.

“That was a play we practice all the time,” Weeden said. “I had my eyes on the third receiver, I saw him coming, and the coaches always put it on me, you have to watch this guy, and if he crosses over, you have to take him. I took that to heart, and I was in the right spot when I had to be.”

The Highlanders took over deep in Germantown territory and appeared headed for an early blowout, but the Warhawks defense turned Homestead back on downs at the 10-yard line.

With the first half coming to a close, Germantown ran its two-minute offense and looked to get on the scoreboard with at least three points until Weeden showed up again.

On third down with 25 seconds left at the Homestead 17-yard line, Weeden intercepted Sathe again over the middle.

“That one kind of fell right into my lap,” he said. “I had good position, and it was overthrown just a little bit.”

In the second half, Homestead’s defense created more separation when junior Mike Bruner blocked a punt on fourth and 2 at the Germantown 28. Homestead then converted a third and 13 and a fourth and 2 before Woldt added his second touchdown from 4 yards out.

“I can’t say enough about the defensive effort,” Keel said. “Two interceptions shut down probably their two best drives of the half. The coaching staff did an outstanding job scouting this week. The guys knew certain things to look for.”

It was déjà vu on the next drive when Homestead senior John Erpenbeck blocked another punt, and Woldt added a score from 2 yards out for a 24-0 Homestead lead.

Bad got worse for Germantown when Homestead recovered a fumble on the first play of the fourth quarter. Homestead took over, and faced with a fourth and 2 at the 9-yard line, it opted for the knockout punch rather than attempt a field goal into a fierce wind.

Woldt not only converted the first down, but he knocked the Warhawks out with his fourth touchdown run to go with 141 yards on 26 carries. True to form, Homestead senior quarterback Eric Zoeller threw just one pass but did his damage on the ground with 108 yards on 22 rushes.

Germantown’s do-it-all running back/linebacker Austin Mozdzen avoided the shutout with a 1-yard score in the closing minutes. Mozdzen finished with 74 yards on 15 carries.

“It’s not what we were hoping for,” Germantown head coach Jake Davis said. “Homestead’s a great program. But I’m proud of these guys. Nobody on this team quit when a lot of teams would have a few weeks ago. They kept fighting.”

LINKEDINCOMMENTMORE