Greendale - So was the 2012 season a success for the Greendale football team?
Yes and no, said head coach Rob Stoltz.
'We had our first (WIAA) playoff victory in four years and our first-ever in Division 2,' Stoltz said, 'but if you look at the scope of the season, some people would say it was not that successful. We finished third in the conference and had three regular-season losses.
'I guess that's an indication of how high the standards are at Greendale that that type of year is looked at that way.'
Trifecta of seasons
The Greendale season actually came in three parts this year. The Panthers started out 3-0, dominating their opponents by a combined 125-21, but then hit a major drought.
They lost three of four, although two of the losses came to Woodland West Division champion Pewaukee and runner-up Wauwatosa West.
Greendale then finished with a flourish, blanking Brown Deer, 42-0, in the regular-season finale. The Panthers went on to gain some big-time revenge on Tosa West with a 41-16 romp in the first round of the WIAA Division 2 playoffs.
They then dropped a tough 28-21 decision to Greater Metro Conference champion Brookfield East in the second round to end up 6-4.
'I was proud of the way the seniors came through for us at the end of the season,' Stoltz said. 'They really rose to the occasion late in the year and stepped up.
'Overall, I would look back at this season as being memorable.'
This was also the season that Stoltz worked with his first-ever sophomore starting quarterback in Josh Ringelberg, who proved to be a huge talent.
Getting his quarterback
Ringelberg hit 104 of 159 passes for 65 percent, throwing for 1,568 yards and 13 touchdowns. He also rushed for 752 yards and 15 scores, so overall, he accounted for 2,320 yards and 28 touchdowns.
He posted the third-highest completion rate and total yards for a season in school history.
Interestingly, Ringelberg had to fight hard for the position in preseason training camp.
'We held a junior quarterback in Zack Henderson, and they went back and forth early,' the coach said. 'As things progressed, Josh kind of distanced himself. We noticed that he is a very composed kid. He had some periods of nerves but always bounced back. He was also resilient.'
Ringelberg could make use of some talented targets in junior wide receiver Mitchell Brees, who made 36 catches for 534 yards, and senior tight end Peter Pekar, with 23 catches for 332 yards, as well as sophomore wideout Cody Kmetz, who came on late in the season.
'Brees is an incredible talent,' Stoltz said, 'but Cody does the things you can't teach. I've never seen a sophomore receiver like him.'
Junior Jake Zywicki led the ground game with a Woodland West-leading 832 yards and seven touchdowns.
Lining up offensively
Everyone in the backfield benefitted from Greendale's offensive line, which featured senior center Sam Bryan and senior guard Brandon Hart.
'The line was well-coached by Greg Koch,' Stoltz said. 'When they took their steps in unison, it was almost like a concert.'
Leading the Panthers defense were junior inside linebacker Nate Miller with 74 tackles, including 6½ for losses; Pekar at outside linebacker with 63 tackles; and Brees in the secondary with a team-high three interceptions.
Pekar was named the team's most valuable player, Ringelberg was offensive player of the year, and Miller won that honor for defense.
Senior Adam Gamroth was the special teams player of the year and senior Jesse Johnston was the lineman of the year. Winning scout team honors were junior Riley Fragosso and sophomore Chris Phillips, and Fragosso was the most improved player.
Greendale loses just nine seniors, including Mike Scheidt, who was projected as the top running back but sat out the entire season with injury.
Ringelberg, Brees, Kmetz, Zywicki and numerous others will be back next year, so the Panthers should have another good season.
'At Greendale, the names and faces change, but the success will not,' Stoltz said.