Wauwatosa West football coach Matt Good's coming home party to Brown Deer was a messy, wild and occasionally sensational success Friday night, as the Trojans overcame three critical turnovers to beat host Brown Deer, 19-13, in double overtime.
Good's team was down to using sophomore back-up quarterback Jared Morzinski because of injury and other concerns. And he also had other things on his mind too.
Such as the fact that he had spent eight seasons coaching with old friend Falcon coach Rob Green before coming over to West four years ago.
So intense were his feelings after running back Amari Rushing had plowed into the end zone from a yard out to decide the game that he just kept it simple when he met his players in the north end zone afterward.
"That was friicking awesome guys," he said to loud cheers.
And when his players waited for him to say more, he just laughed and said "That says it all, guys!" which led to even louder cheers from his happy team.
With the win, the Trojans (1-1) closed the book on a tumultuous week that included a heartbreaking loss to archrival Tosa East last Saturday, an untimely injury and a furor over an athletic code violation on the team.
Good, needless to say, was impressed by the effort.
"This group has more resiliency than any other group I've ever coached," he said, "and Jared (Morzinski) is a phenomenal young man for a sophomore. Tonight he put himself and the team in a position to succeed."
For Green, whose team dropped to 0-2 amid several missed opportunities, it was a frustrating loss.
"We talked about opportunities to win the game," he said. "We just didn't capitalize on what was given to us tonight. We're a team that's still figuring out its identity yet."
The Trojans found their identity in the overtime session after the Falcons Tray Palmer intercepted a Morzinski pass deep on the West end of the field late in regulation with West clinging to a 13-6 lead. Palmer initially ran it in for a score but a penalty pushed Brown Deer back to the 30.
But after Brown Deer end Pietro D'Amato made a gritty play to turn a short pass from Drew Worth into a 12-yard gain and a first down in a fourth and 10 situation, Worth eventually plowed over from a yard out with 2:20 remaining. Freshman kicker Jerry Gilles kicked the extra point to tie the score at 13-all
And the Falcons appeared to have everything going their way at that point, as they won the toss going into overtime. That became important a play later, as West messed up the exchange and Brown Deer defensive back Evan Naber got on the ball.
All Brown Deer would have needed to win in that instance was a field goal, but the Trojan defense rose to the occasion holding Falcon back Najee Williams to four yards on two carries and forcing a Worth incompletion. Gilles potentially gamewinning 38-yard field goal had the distance but was wide left.
Brown Deer's offense came right back out and advanced to the West eight but two short runs and and incompletion coupled with a motion penalty forced another Gilles field goal attempt.
This try was blocked.
"We would get moving and it would be two steps forward and three steps back," said Green.
But it looked like the Falcons were going to survive to see a third overtime as a holding penalty on the Trojans first play of their next possession forced them into a third and 23 situation, but a bold call by Good netted West an invaluable first down.
Morzinski rolled out to his right carrying much of the defense with him and then threw back far to his left to find a wide open Mickey Morgan, who raced all the way to the Brown Deer 12. Five plays later Rushing (103 yards on 25 carries) was in the end zone and the jubilant Trojans had a much needed win.
"That play (the throwback) was something we've worked on all week and we thought we could have success with it," said Good. "Jared executed it perfectly."
Which could not have been said for the rest of West's game. After Williams had returned the opening kickoff 52 yards to the West 21 yard line and then scored on a 16-yard run two plays later, the Trojans rallied with an impressive 15-play, 67-yard drive that netted the tieing TD on Morzinski's seven-yard pass to Tyler Gross.
But the Trojans had a chance to pull ahead early in the third quarter when they drove to the Falcon one yard line, only to have Brown Deer defensive back Kineith Lewis strip a surging Morzinski of the ball. West eventually did get the lead when Morgan stepped in front of a Worth pass midway through the third quarter and raced back 65 yards for a TD.
However, if the Trojans were stymied, the Falcons were downright frustrated, as they had seven possessions that lasted six plays or more, but faltered once inside West territory.
Again, Good gave credit to his troops resiliency in tough situations.
"Our kids have been through a lot," he said. "I don't think dropping the ball on the one-yard line is going to faze them much."
Williams finished with 167 yards on 32 carries in a losing effort while Worth had 118 yards rushing for the Falcons.
The old coaching friends could only calmly and genuinely praise each other afterword.
"We have a pretty solid friendship," said Green of Good, "and we both have a lot of respect for how we've built our programs. I'm impressed how far he's brought his and I've always appreciated how he helped ours when he was here."
"That's a good team that overcame some adversity over there."
Good was equally complimentary.
"I was here for eight years so for us to come here and steal one is just amazing," he said. "Rob is an unbelievably good friend. It's just so tough to go against each other in this kind of situation."
"This means a lot."
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