It promised to be a WIAA Division 7 slugfest as Greenwood/Granton took on Owen-Withee.
Owen-Withee would not let that happen as the Blackhawks rolled 49-22 to take over sole possession of first place in the Cloverwood Conference.
O-W set the tone on the opening drive, going 80 yards, mostly on the ground, in 14 plays. Albert Goerlitz crashed in from 4 yards out to make it 7-0.
G/G went punted after four plays before Goerlitz faded back to pass only to blast up the middle for 24 more yards and a 14-0 lead.
“Our line played their hearts out,” said Goerlitz, who scored three times, ran for 110 yards and passed for 73 more. “They knew their assignments and what they had to do. If they screwed up they came back and made up for it.”
The lone bright spot for G/G was Tanner Opelt, who wrestled the ball from Goerlitz on a read-option play and got a head start to the end zone, rumbling 65 yards to start the second quarter.
Bryce Niemi’s scoring runs of 27 and 2 yards kept the Blackhawks comfortably ahead. O-W went on to outgain G/G 201-57 in the first half.
“We definitely came in hot and kept the excitement going early,” said Niemi, who came into the game as the conference’s leading rusher and had 169 yards rushing. “They got a couple scores but we didn’t let that effect us. We just kept going.”
Owen-Withee coach Terry Laube gave his team credit for setting the tone early.
“Truly, that first drive was huge for us,” Laube said. “They’re big up front. I was worried about controlling the line of scrimmage. When we blocked the way we did early, our kids got confidence they may have otherwise not had. We executed well.”
G/G’s Delten Schmitz had a 3-yard touchdown run with four minutes left in the third quarter to cut the lead to 28-16, but that’s as close as G/G could come.
Goerlitz, Niemi and Austin Milliren all had scoring runs before Schmitz ended the scoring with a 75-yard jaunt, but it was too little, too late.
“We came out flat,” G/G coach Jeff Trunkel said. “We didn’t execute. We made mistakes and didn’t seem to want it enough. They had momentum early and we couldn’t overcome it.”
Laube summed it up.
“This is high school football at its best,” he said. “This conference is always tough.”