For the second week in a row, the Wauwatosa West Trojans went down to the wire. With their Homecoming grandstand filled, they won in heart-stopping fashion, defeating the Greenfield Hustlin’ Hawks 28-21.
The Trojans concluded their regular season with a record of 7-1, while Greenfield dropped to 2-6.
The Trojans won without two of their biggest playmakers, held out due to health precautions. Yet this gritty Tosa West team persevered.
In the first quarter, the Trojans forced a Greenfield fumble and then scored on a 15-yard Greg Lewis run up the middle. On their second possession, Greenfield’s Alec Piekarski tied the score on a quarterback keeper good for 29 yards.
Late in the first quarter, Tosa sophomore Demaris Purifoy broke a pair of arm tackles and took the ball into the end zone from 26 yards out, and the score was 14-7. Both offenses stalled in the second quarter – and the half ended 14-7.
In the second half, the Trojans had little luck moving the ball. Without their usual speed backs on the perimeter they tried to pound the ball inside – but Greenfield did a great job stuffing the Trojan backs.
Tosa runners averaged only 3 yards a carry and gained a total of 84 yards on the ground all night, a far cry from their nearly 300-yard per game rushing average.
The Trojans turned to their passing game with mixed success. Tight coverage and major rushing pressure by Greenfield led to Tosa completing 7 of 14 passes for just 63 yards and two interceptions.
Kickoff return strikes sparks
The third quarter was scoreless. In the foruth quarter, Greenfield struck first with a 10-yard run, but the extra point missed, leaving the score 14-13. On the ensuing kickoff Trojan fans got an early taste of Homecoming fireworks.
Tosa West junior Develyn Ferguson caught the kickoff at the 12, angled right and then cut through a nice hole up the middle. He juked a defender left, then sped to the right hash mark and outran two Hawks to the end zone for a thrilling 88-yard kickoff return. The Trojans were up 21-13.
Next, a Trojan defensive stand forced a punt. But Tosa West followed up with a turnover on a fumbled pitch. On Greenfield’s possession, their nice drive ended abruptly on an errant pass play when Tosa’s Develyn Ferguson made a well-timed, leaping interception in the Hawks' end zone.
With the ball on their 20 and just over four minutes left, fans expected the Trojans to run time off the clock. But a first-down pass was incomplete. Then line protection broke down on a second pass attempt, contributing to Tosa’s second interception of the night, and the Greenfield defender ran the ball back inside the Trojan 5-yard line.
On fourth down and with 2:20 left in regulation, Greenfield scored on a run off left tackle. They needed a two-point conversion, and that’s what they got. The Hawk receiver ran a good out pattern to the right side of the end zone and laid-out nicely to make the catch. Now, the game was tied at 21-all.
Lightning strikes again on kickoff, 3rd-down pass
More fireworks came after the next Greenfield kickoff. The ball was kicked short, went through the hands of one Trojan, and bounced at about the 20-yard line. Ferguson gathered it up, made two nice crossover moves and sprinted to the Hawk 25-yard line before being dragged down.
After two minimal gains on running plays, the Trojans were several yards from a legitimate field goal attempt. They faced a decisive third down and 9. Under pressure, Jared Morzinski rolled left and launched a pass downfield to the right hash mark where senior tight end Sam Clough jumped to make a big-time catch near the 5-yard line.
Now there were 40 seconds left on the game clock, and Tosa West junior running back Greg Lewis got the call. On his second power run he stretched the ball over the goal line for the score. Zack Veit finished Tosa West scoring with his fouth extra point in four tries – thanks in part to flawless ball placement by senior Mike Nowakowski.
In this gutsy Trojan win, their special teams stood out. They limited penalties. And once the Trojans had the lead their defense refused to give it up. Their D-line played well, with Sam Clough and Khaled Salem both recovering fumbles, and their linebackers were active and effective.
In the coming playoffs, Tosa West will play in Division 2 as part of a southeastern Wisconsin grouping that includes two other Woodland Conference teams – Greendale and South Milwaukee.
Also in their grouping are Brookfield Central, Brookfield East, Whitefish Bay, Messmer/Shorewood and Bradley Tech. Matchups and other details are not yet announced.