Greenfield football loses on last-second touchdown
Hawks had chance to grab lead in division race
A championship in the Woodland Conference East Division and a WIAA playoff berth were both oh-so-close for the Greenfield football team on Friday night.
In a matter of seconds, though, they were both gone.
Josh Czerwinski hauled in a 14-yard touchdown pass from Jeremy Swider to give the Hustlin' Hawks a 20-17 advantage with just 27 seconds remaining in their first-place showdown with South Milwaukee.
The unbeaten Rockets then took the ball at midfield with about 18 seconds left and moved to the Greenfield 38-yard line.
On the final play of the game, quarterback Justin Oliden launched a pass toward Joe Saskowski that was caught for a 38-yard score as time expired, giving the Rockets a 23-20 victory.
Hawks slip to 3-1
The loss dropped Greenfield to 3-1 in the Woodland East, while the Rockets improved to 4-0 and could clinch an undisputed division title with a victory over St. Francis this week.
The Hawks (3-3 overall) need one more victory to secure a playoff spot. They visit Brown Deer (3-1, 5-1) at 7 p.m. Friday in the division finale, then play a Woodland crossover game on Oct. 18 against an opponent to be determined.
Now the focus is on Brown Deer.
"A defeat like (Friday's) can be crushing," head coach Scott Otto said, "but our seniors will be ready for Brown Deer. If we win, we can punch our ticket for the playoffs."
In Friday's game, the Rockets were up 17-13 with about two minutes left when a fumble gave the Hawks the ball on their own 40.
Greenfield, using a no-huddle offense, moved those 60 yards, with Czerwinski catching the scoring pass from Swider. The extra point by Joey Hannah put the Hawks up 20-17.
"South Milwaukee changed its defense," Otto said, "and Jeremy adjusted his pass and Josh adjusted his route, both on their own."
The Rockets answered with the game-winning score to Saskowski.
"We knew they were going to throw deep," Otto said, "and we were in the right defense. We rushed five and dropped six back into coverage.
"We hit Oliden just as he threw, and I don't know how he got so much on the pass. We also had defenders on Saskowski, but he made the play. South Milwaukee earned this one."
Greenfield leads early
Greenfield had taken the early lead when Swider ran 52 yards for a score just minutes into the game.
Saskowski connected on a 39-yard field goal, but the Hawks went up 13-3 when Eric Suminski snagged a 41-yard scoring pass from Swider.
The Rockets came within 13-10 by the half and took the lead in the third quarter. That advantage stood until the frantic final minutes.
Swider ran for 124 yards and threw for 94 more on the night.
"I think we surprised a lot of people," Otto said. "I don't think many people gave us a chance. South Milwaukee had allowed just 27 points all season, but we held our own."
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