Swider emerges, helps Greenfield get first victory
Hawks rout Cudahy as offense explodes
Greenfield - One day during the Greenfield football team's summer camp sessions this year, a number of players were throwing the ball around for fun before the practice began.
"All of a sudden," related head coach Scott Otto, "I saw somebody throw a tight, 50-yard spiral. I asked who threw it, and Jeremy Swider said, 'I did.' "
Soon after that, Otto and his staff switched the sophomore from running back, which he had played his whole life, to quarterback.
He held the position through the regular August training camp and into the season, and he saw some action in the final minutes of Greenfield's loss to Whitnall on Sept. 7.
After that game, Otto decided to start Swider in the Hustlin' Hawks' next game, against Cudahy on Friday night.
The move paid off, as Swider energized the offense and led the Hawks to their first victory of the season, a 48-0 romp at home.
"Our other two quarterbacks (Alec Piekarski and Joey Hannah) are great workers," Otto said, "but we thought Jeremy gave us the best chance to win, and he did a nice job."
Swider passed for 47 yards and ran for 32 more, but the biggest statistic for Otto was that Greenfield committed no turnovers against Cudahy.
The Hawks, who had been held without a touchdown through three games, were plagued by mistakes entering Week 4.
"(Swider) is intelligent and has great poise," Otto said. "He is unflappable out there. He is coachable and has good instincts. He just fits with what we want to do."
Otto added that Piekarski and Hannah, who both played against Whitnall, have graciously helped out Swider this season.
QB switch sparks Hawks
The coach said the change at quarterback lifted the entire Greenfield offense.
"Everything seemed to be smoother," he said. "The running backs ran harder, and the offensive line blocked better, although it has been strong all season.
"Also, (wide receiver) Josh Czerwinski did a great job blocking. That was why we were able to run so effectively."
Xavier Copeland got things started on Friday with a five-yard scoring run early in the first quarter.
The Hawks went on to score four times in that period on one-yard runs by both Eric Suminski and Swider and an 85-yard burst by Copeland.
"He's a good football player," said Otto of Copeland, who finished with 160 yards on the ground. "He did well in track last season."
Greenfield maintained that 27-0 advantage through the first half, then added two scores in the third quarter on a 20-yard run by Suminski and a 96-yard interception return from Kyle Schahczinski.
Victor Castro's five-yard touchdown in the fourth capped the scoring for the Hawks, who racked up 456 yards of offense after being held under 200 by Whitnall the previous week.
Defense plays well again
While the offense finally hit its stride, the team's defense continued its season-long solid play, forcing six turnovers.
Otto cited linebacker Tyler Haim and Schahczinski for their play and defensive coordinator Kevin Murphy for his game plan.
Greenfield improved to 1-3 on the season, although Otto pointed out that the three teams who have beaten the Hawks are a combined 10-2 this year.
The Hawks next visit St. Francis (0-4) at 7 p.m. Friday. The Mariners were routed by Whitnall, 43-15, last week.
"They have some good players, but their roster is limited," Otto said. "Still, they defend their home field well. Our magic number is four (victories, to get into consideration for the WIAA playoffs)."
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