Germantown overwhelms Greenfield in Koch's debut

Aug. 22, 2014

If Joe Koch's track record is any indication, there will come a time when the Greenfield Hustlin' Hawks will be able to walk into games like their season opener against Germantown on Aug. 22, and be able to compete.

That time isn't here just yet.

The Hustlin' Hawks got a look at the end product Koch, who has turned around moribund programs at Whitefish Bay Dominican, Oak Creek and Pius XI, envisions for his new program in the 56-7 road defeat.

"If I had a say in the schedule, we wouldn't have played it," Koch said. "We're not ready for it. We're like an amateur boxer who stepped up to try and fight Mike Tyson in his prime. Since we are here, the kids came out and fought. We're physically not at that level."

The Hawks trailed Germantown, which has designs on competing with North Shore Conference powerhouse Homestead this season, just 7-0 heading into the second quarter.

Following an eight-play, 35-point onslaught to start the second quarter, Greenfield found itself trailing at recess, 42-0. The Warhawks didn't do anything special of flashy in rolling to the big lead; they took advantage of good field position, ran their base offense and just executed.

Germantown ran 24 plays in just 7 minutes, 24 seconds of possession in the first half and didn't need a drive of longer than four plays.

For an offense that is explosive on paper and returns a majority of its weapons from 2013, it was a virtuoso performance by the Warhawks.

In the first half, the Hustlin' Hawks were outgained, 240-33, and had just three first downs.

"You have to take the positive out of it," Koch said. "This is the level we want to get to. It's obvious what weight training does, and an offseason program. They obviously haven't had one here the last few years. It's pretty evident to anybody who sat in these stands: it looked like a varsity team playing a JV."

After Germantown had scored on its fourth play of the first quarter, an 8-yard run by junior running back Spencer Pethan (11 carries, 114 yards, 2 TDs), Greenfield stopped the Warhawks' next two first-quarter drives, forcing a punt and getting an interception from junior defensive back Abram Vizzarra.

"Coaching wise, we couldn't get frustrated," Koch said. "You have to stay positive and look for little victories. They were few and far between, that's for sure. This is a very good Germantown team. They're well prepared and, boy, they've some really good players."

Greenfield trailed 49-0 before getting on the board when senior running back Xavier Copeland scored on 8-yard run with 6:41 left in the fourth quarter. Copeland led the Hustlin' Hawks with 49 yards on 14 carries.

Ultimately, Greenfield got a good look at what its future could look like: a team loaded with explosive weapons that walks into any game knowing it has a chance.

"We're going to get this program turned around," Koch said. "That's not a maybe; it's going to happen. The other part is to get these kids to believe."

It's just going to take time.

"That's one of the hard parts of getting the job in the first week of June," Koch said. "You don't have an offseason. The strength levels are about as weak as I've ever been around. It's going to take a good offseason and them some; it's going to take a couple of years. We're not going to sell this season short yet."

Greenfield will play Koch's most recent rebuilding project, Pius XI, at 7 p.m., Friday, Aug. 29 at home. That is a change from the originally scheduled date of Thursday, Aug. 28.

"We want to get the guys to start thinking like winners," Koch said. "Just keep their heads up and let that last play roll off your back and jump into the next one. You can't hang onto negatives."

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