When your hometown football team makes the playoffs, there's no better place to be than in the stands, cheering the boys on.
But if you can't make it to Wauwatosa West High to see the resurgent, 7-1 Trojans host the Greendale Panthers at 7 p.m. Friday – or if you're leery of the predicted rain and mid-40s temperatures – you can watch the game live on Time Warner Cable Channel 32 (1332 for high-definition).
Whether you're a hard-core Trojans football fan or not, this game could be worth tuning in to. Something has come over this West team that hasn't been seen in a long while – winning, for one, and second, doing so in exciting fashion.
The Trojans surprised everyone this year. After going 2-7 the past two years, the team racked up four straight victories to open the season, with the offense putting up 50, 46, 46 and 55 points, in order. Meanwhile, the Trojans' defense allowed those opponents an average of just 16 points.
Next, the Trojans ran into Pewaukee High and suffered their only loss of the regular season, a lopsided 27-6. Pewaukee went on to be undefeated.
The following week, West bounced back in a big way, trouncing New Berlin Eisenhower 42-0 to stand at 5-1.
The final two games of the regular season were barn-burners, with Greendale – their playoff opponent Friday – coming from behind to tie. But West would win in OT, 37-30.
In their final game on Friday, the Trojans had to face Greenfield at Homecoming. Not the strongest of opponents, but West was without two of its leading rushers, sidelined for safety reasons.
West struggled at times but stayed in the game and found a way to win in the final minute, 28-21, after a long kickoff return and a run-pass drive to the end zone.
Speed on offense, solid defense define team
Over the regular season, West averaged 34.4 points per game and amassed 3,021 yards of offense – almost exactly double the team's total last year. The team scored a whopping 41 touchdowns in putting up
Quarterback Jared Morzinski started and finished every game and was solid at the helm. Morzinski passed for 748 yards, going 41 for 71 with eight touchdowns and just four interceptions, for a final efficiency rating of 108.2.
Morzinski's favorite target was Develyn Ferguson, who hauled in 442 yards receiving. Ferguson was also the hero of the finale against Greenfield, keeping his depleted team in it with a spectacular 88-yard kickoff return for a touchdown and following up with another return to the Greenfield 25 to give the Trojans a chance to ice it in regulation.
Throughout the season, though, West caught the most attention for its outside running game, using speed backs to sweep opposing defenses. Mickey Morgan led all rushers with 648 yards, but just behind were Jameson Brock, amassing 642 yards, and Greg Lewis logging 628, showing the balance of the West attack.
On defense, West was stellar against the pass, the secondary allowing 1,088 yards, only a 52.2 percent completion rate, just four touchdowns against 10 interceptions, and an average opposing passer efficiency rating of 54.9.
Against the run, West gave up 1,228 yards, 4.1 yards per carry and 15 TDs overall.
The Trojans haven't finished the regular season above .500 in the past 10 years and won as many as they lost only once in that time, going 5-5 in 2006 (although they were only 1-3 in the Woodland Conference).
The team has not finished better than a tie for fourth in the Woodland or Woodland West in that time, and went 0-9 in 2008.
But this year is different, and the out-of-nowhere Trojans aren't taking a back seat to anybody.