For the Wauwatosa West Trojans and their fans, pre-game excitement met disappointing news even before kickoff on Friday night. Three top Trojan playmakers would not play due to injury and unavailability.
The damp conditions wouldn’t help the usually faster Trojans, and more bad news concerned standout senior Mickey Morgan, who had received treatment for a sore shoulder.
Substitutes and role players would have to step up for this Tosa West versus Greendale state-wide Division 2 playoff matchup.
Greendale was at full strength. They were coming off a thrashing of Brown Deer and looked to avenge their overtime loss to the Trojans two weeks earlier.
It didn’t take long to see this game’s direction – and it was more disappointment for Trojan fans – a 41-16 thrashing. Wauwatosa Patch had predicted that to win, West would need to score early and often, as it has all season, and then hold on.
Just the opposite happened.
It doesn't take long for Greendale to score
On the second play from scrimmage sophomore quarterback Josh Ringleberg ran a keeper for 74 yards and the first Greendale score.
If that name sounds familiar, it’s because the Trojans couldn’t stop the Panther QB two weeks ago, when he scored all four rushing touchdowns and threw for 260 yards. In Friday’s rematch Ringleberg’s stats were ridiculously good: He passed for over 300 yards and rushed for 109.
The Trojan defense failed to show they had a game plan to slow Ringleberg. Combine that with Tosa West’s depleted line-up, and it cost them.
Adding to Greendale’s success was an offensive playbook that took advantage of the slippery field – especially passing routes that had Trojan defenders isolated, slipping and spinning. Greendale had four first-half touchdown passes, leading to a lopsided halftime score of 35-7.
The Trojans’ offense seemed hampered by the damp field conditions. Passing routes were straight lines and well-covered. On the night, the Trojans passed nine times and ran the ball 63 times. Overall, West’s depleted backfield was contained by a stout Panther defense that seemed to know what was coming.
But on this cool and drizzly night, there were at least a few things to warm Tosa West fans.
Some strong efforts gave Trojan fans hope
Late in the first quarter, Trojan fullback Demaris Purifoy made a strong, churning run to the end zone from eight yards out to tighten the score 12-7. This sophomore showed grit and strength as he rushed for 119 yards on 34 attempts. All season the Trojans depended on junior workhorse Greg Lewis, and he added 76 yards on 15 carries.
Trojan seniors were solid. On defense, senior Elijah Banyard-Johnson was inspired, relentless and fast: On several plays, he pursued from his interior D-line position to make solo tackles deep in the Trojan secondary. Craig Egle recovered a fumble to set up the Trojan’s second touchdown, a quick-open runner from four yards out by Mickey Morgan.
Trojan fans can feel good about next year, knowing they’ve developed several junior and sophomore impact players. There are questions. Will players inspire – and be inspired – to continue improving? Can the coaching staff step up and build on this season? Will player-leaders fill in for a great group of departing seniors?
Their victory means that Greendale moves on to play Brookfield East in a second-round playoff game.
The Tosa West season finished with seven wins and two losses. There were great, memorable plays and victories over teams that had dominated Tosa West for many years.
Being host to a playoff game was a great step forward and the end of a great Tosa West season.