Josh Ringelberg of Greendale is a classic double-threat quarterback, and never was that fact made clearer than in the Panthers' WIAA Division 3, Level 3 playoff game against Plymouth on Friday night.
Ringelberg is equally dangerous throwing or running the football, and he did both extremely well as Greendale downed plucky Plymouth at Steve Gavinski Field, 41-27.
The junior completed 7 of 12 passes for 144 yards and two touchdowns while running 15 times for 173 yards and three scores.
One at a time
Interestingly, he seemed to focus on one aspect of his game at a time. Ringelberg hit 7 of 10 passes for 144 yards in the first half, including 5 of 5 for 109 in the second quarter.
He then turned to the run, garnering 139 yards and three touchdowns in the fourth period.
'He really is (a double threat),' head coach Rob Stoltz agreed, 'and that's a function of the playmakers we have on the perimeter at wide receiver, our O-line giving him great pass protection, and Josh being Josh, the athlete that he is.
'He can make things happen in multiple ways, and that's got to be pretty scary for a defense.'
Ringelberg said the apparent switch from passing to running in the second half was not necessarily part of the game plan but rather a reaction to what Plymouth did on defense.
'They like to play man, and then have one high safety, so we knew we could attack the pass right away, and we did that,' he said. 'We scored a couple times (in the first half).
'At halftime, they were probably wanting to make adjustments on defense, and they played too high, which opened up a lot of running lanes. I have the best offensive line in the state, with (senior tackle) Jake Maxwell, (senior guard) Chris Halbur and (freshman center) Mike Witkowski, and they were opening up the lanes for me.'
Plymouth comes close
Ringelberg's running ability helped Greendale after Plymouth drew within 21-20 late in the third quarter.
With Greendale up 21-14, Ringelberg fumbled after gaining a first down near midfield and Plymouth's Kollin Neils scooped up the ball and rambled all the way to the Greendale 4-yard line.
Plymouth scored on the next play, but the point after was blocked, leaving Plymouth trailing by one at 21-20 with 3 minutes, 43 seconds left in the third quarter.
Greendale did not move on its next drive, but punter Mitchell Brees made a huge play by dropping his kick at the Plymouth 2.
Plymouth went three-and-out and its punt was partially blocked, placing Greendale at the Plymouth 37.
On the second play, Ringelberg wound his way through defenders for a 25-yard gain to the 10, then he ran in for the score. Frankie Rutkowski's extra point made it 28-20 with 8:42 remaining in the game.
After a Plymouth punt, Greendale took over at its 47 and scored five plays later. Ringelberg broke loose for 35 yards to the Plymouth 18 and later tallied from 9 yards after snaring a high snap.
Rutkowski's point after put Greendale up 35-20 with 3:49 left in the contest.
Plymouth answered with a 65-yard drive that featured a 39-yard pass from Neils to Dominic Bocchini and a 33-yard pass on fourth-and-30 to Zac Cain that carried to the Greendale 1. Neils tallied on the next play, and the point after trimmed the Greendale lead to 35-27 with 2:16 left.
Miller gets onside kick
Greendale's Nate Miller recovered the ensuing onside kick at his 47, and Ringelberg scored from those 53 yards three plays later to put away the game at 41-27.
Greendale started the game by overcoming an early 7-0 deficit. Rutkowski tallied from 2 yards out early in the second period, Ringelberg connected with Brees from 53 yards and Doug St. Onge caught a TD pass from 37 yards away for scores to give Greendale a 21-7 advantage.
Plymouth came back within 21-14 as Neils hit Cain for 51 yards to the Greendale 11, then found Tyler Willeford for an 8-yard touchdown with 15 seconds remaining in the half.
Just as Ringelberg's arm staked Greendale to that lead, his feet kept the Panthers ahead in the second half.
Greendale had other heroes as well. Rutkowski saw more chances at running back after an early injury to Jake Zywicki and finished with 93 yards rushing.
'Frankie and Zywicki were neck-and-neck (for the running back spot),' Stoltz said. 'They are different running backs but they are equally effective. Frankie's so valuable on defense (at linebacker) that he really doesn't get the touches (on offense).'
Brees collected 107 yards receiving on six catches and big defensive plays were made by a number of players, including Miller with an interception and Ty Ramirez and Angel Ramirez with key sacks of Neils.
Xavier up next
Greendale will meet Appleton Xavier in a fourth-round playoff game at 7 p.m. Nov. 15 at Slinger.
This is Greendale's first trip to the fourth round since 2006, when the Panthers were state runnerup.
'The hard work is paying off,' Ringelberg said, 'and we don't want to stop. We're not satisfied. We want to keep it going.'