Simply put, Germantown two-time Now All-Suburban all-purpose selection Austin Mozdzen is a special high school football player.
Mozdzen, who was also the North Shore Conference's linebacker and defensive player of the year and a WFCA first-team All-State choice at inside linebacker, put the Germantown team on his back this fall and led them to respectability.
The Warhawks made the WIAA state playoffs for the seventh straight year, beating Shorewood/Messmer in the first round before falling to old rival Homestead one last time in a Level 2 game to finish at 5-6 overall.
It will be the last Germantown-Homestead game for some time, as the Warhawks are slated to move to the Greater Metro Conference next fall.
It was fitting Mozdzen was Germantown's leading rusher in that game with 74 yards and scored the Warhawks' only TD.
"We were a completely different team when he wasn't on the field," said coach Jake Davis. "A great kid to have out there."
The 5-10, 200-pound Mozdzen did make a huge difference whenever he was on the field. With great feet and a motor that just wouldn't stop, he was a critical factor in the Warhawks making that run to the playoffs. They had to win their final two North Shore games to do it, and they did with a big hand from Mozdzen.
In the 55-36 decision over Port Washington, he rushed just 11 times for 201 yards and four TDs and also had 14 tackles. In the playoff-clinching 45-28 win over Milwaukee Lutheran, he suffered an injury but not before scoring a TD and contributing seven tackles.
In the first-round playoff rout of Shorewood/Messmer, he had 65 rushing yards and a TD.
All told, Mozdzen's name will be all over the Warhawk record books for sometime.
He broke the great Ryan Pollow's (2003 D2 state championship) career tackle record of 280 with 302. He also rushed 144 times for 1,086 times this season and 14 TDs. His 7.5 yards-per-carry average broke all-stater and 1998 D2 state championship team star Chermond Thomas' season yards-per-carry mark.
Mozdzen's rushing efforts helped the Warhawks go over 2,000 yards rushing as a team for the season. Davis said that's the first time that's happened in 10 years. Mozdzen also took down Chris Canter's 1970s career yards-per-carry mark with a 6.9 effort.
On defense, he had 50 solo tackles, 48 assisted tackles including five tackles for loss and a sack.
"Every time he had a chance, he made the most of it," Mozdzen said. "We simply wouldn't have gotten nearly as far as we did without him,"
Mozdzen's speed is not simply limited to football, as he helped the Warhawks' 4x100-meter relay team make the state track meet last spring.
Others who helped the Warhawks overcome their limitations this fall include first-team All-North Shore Conference selections Ahmed Kharoub and Joe Block (offensive line), Dan Colvin (defensive line), Colton Thomas (linebacker) and Waymon McNeal (defensive back). All are seniors except for Thomas. McNeal was also the North Shore's defensive back of the year.
First-year senior starting quarterback Collin Sathe was praised for his development over the course of the season.
Mozdzen was named overall team MVP, while Sathe was the offensive MVP and senior linebacker Connor Stoming was the defensive MVP. Kicker Jack Brzakala was special teams MVP. Brzakala tied a school record with seven field goals this season. The underclassmen teams also performed well, Davis said.
Seniors include Dan Lakich, Stoming, Nichael Cunningham, Joe Lutz, Marshall Grimm, Sathe, Jacob Donovan, Josh Acker, Shon Pratcher, Dan Drinan, Brady Stroik, Justus Mueller, McNeal, Luke Schneider, Jarred Wolfe, Nick Obradovich, Rodrigo De La Pena, Mozdzen, Anthony Fera, Ethan Walters, Riley Kellom, Zach Larsen, Jared Welnak, Kharoub, Colvin, Block, Frank Hartzheim, Brzakala and Dominique Bennett.
"This season had a lot of ups and downs," Davis said. 'We didn't get off to the start we wanted, but the kids responded well and fought until the end. The efforts in the Port and Lutheran games were really good."