Greyhound gridders learn in defeat to South Milwaukee
Shorewood travels to Brown Deer on Friday
The Shorewood/Msessmer football team has suffered losses in recent years in the rebuilding program of coach Drake Zortman.
And though the veteran mentor still views losing with the same joy as the thought of undergoing root canal surgery, if there was such a thing as a "good" loss, Zortman said the season opening, 28-7, defeat the Greyhounds suffered at the hands of Woodland Conference Eastern Division favorite South Milwaukee on Friday would fall into that category.
"It was kind of how I expected the game to go in a ways," Zortman said. "We had a few more guys going two-ways than they did, and quite honestly, I never like to come away from a loss thinking that we didn't have anything to learn, but this was something.
Matched physical play
"We had their full attention all night. That was one of the first times (in his three years at the helm) that we were as physical as a good team. (Whitefish) Bay last year (in the state playoffs), no. Riverside the year before (in the playoffs), no, but tonight South Milwaukee was physical and so were we."
And that is something Zortman and his team will use to their advantage as they go forward with high hopes this season. They will try to build on that attitude as they visit area rival Brown Deer in their second nonconference game at 7 p.m. Friday. The Falcons are also a member of the Woodland Conference.
"We're looking forward to it," Zortman said. "After what we did, we showed we can compete with the best teams in that league. The only issue we have is depth."
And that was a telling fact against the Rockets on Friday. The Greyhounds actually took the first quarter lead on a 30-yard run by sophomore running back Louis Williams. The Rockets tied it up in the second quarter and then, right before the half, came a back-breaking play after the Greyhounds had forced a fourth and 27 situation out of a first and goal set-up for South Milwaukee.
Before Zortman could turn around, South Milwaukee hit a 27-yard pass for a TD. The Rockets converted on the two-point try and they went into the half up 15-7.
"That was a real killer," Zortman said. "We had pulled Taylor (Dennis, a quarterback and safety) to get him a blow. The backup was in good position, but their kids just made a play."
Defenders wear team out
It became hard in the second half for Shorewood/Messmer. The South Milwaukee defense, which was filled with what Zortman called "6-2, 210-pound athletes who could run" began to lean on the Greyhound offense.
"I don't think we got past midfield at all in the second half," he said.
The Rockets made sure that all-state level tight end Jonathan Carson was blanketed all night (three catches for 36 yards). Carson had better luck on the defensive side of the ball as he and fellow defensive end Tywan Ramsey "introduced themselves," as Zortman put it, to the Rocket backs all night long.
And while Carson had to fight through double-teams all night, Ramsey was particularly effective, with 12 total tackles, including four for loss. Michael Fazio had three catches for 43 yards for the Greyhounds while Williams ran for 87 yards on 14 tries.
"They (the Rockets) were really reaching tonight," Zortman said. "They ran a fake punt and got it and an onside kick and got it. They were ready and so were we."
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