Menominee wins battle of champions
September 3, 2007
BY MICK McCABE
FREE PRESS SPORTS WRITER
The biggest game in the state last weekend featured a battle between two defending state champions.
You can stop scratching your heads. It was Menominee, the Division 5 state champ from the Upper Peninsula, against Homestead High School in Mequon, a suburb of Milwaukee, that won the biggest division in Wisconsin last fall.
This fall, Mequon was ranked No. 1.
"They might have lost some of their guys defensively," said Menominee coach Ken Hofer. "But offensively, they had five guys who are just about impossible to stop."
In the early going, Menominee jumped to an 18-7 lead and the fans who packed Menominee's stadium might have thought it was going to be easy.
"I was thinking we better get more," Hofer said, "because it was going to take more than that to beat them."
Hofer was right. In the third quarter, Mequon led, 28-18, before the Maroons rallied to post an impressive 48-28 victory.
After closing to 18-14 at the half, Mequon scored on the first play of the second half and then scored quickly again for a 10-point lead.
"All of a sudden we looked like: 'Where are we?' " Hofer said. "But for whatever reason, our defense came alive. We had four straight three-and-outs and blocked a punt."
Menominee's defensive domination, which began late in the third quarter, allowed the Maroons to score 30 consecutive points. Ethan Shaver's 36-yard run gave Menominee the lead with 6:03 left to play.
For the game, Shaver gained 181 yards on 25 carries and Matt Eisenzoph added 90 yards on 16 carries, in addition to his contributions as a linebacker.
"Matt was in on at least 60% of the tackles," Hofer said. "Our defensive ends, Bob Forgette and Trevor Powers, also played very well."
The victory bodes well for Menominee, but Hofer knows a trip to Ford Field is far from assured.
"I think we've got a good football team," Hofer said. "But we've got some weaknesses we've got to get straightened out before we get into our league or we're going to be in trouble."