Germantown - The chat rooms, the blogs, and general high school sports gossip have all been absurd.
They say that the Arrowhead (9-0) second string football team could beat Germantown (7-2) in its WIAA Division 1, Level 2 playoff game at 7 p.m. Friday in Merton, that the Warhawks shouldn't even bother to get on the bus and show up.
Funny, Germantown football coach Jake Davis remembers hearing those same words 13 seasons ago as a player. In a game with much higher stakes.
'You shouldn't listen to that stuff,' he said after the Warhawks advanced to face Arrowhead with a 35-0 Level 1 victory over Milwaukee City Conference co-champion Milwaukee King on Oct. 19. 'You can't hang your head in that kind of situation. While at Homestead (as starting center for the 1999 WIAA state D1 champions), we were told and heard that we shouldn't even bother show up and play Marshfield (in the final). We even heard that they had a banquet hall all set up and ready to go for the next day (to celebrate the presumptive title).'
But funny how that worked out, as behind state player of the year and running back Demetrius Johnson and a stingy defense led by tenacious sophomore linebacker Victor Meckstroth, the Highlanders spoiled the plans of the Tigers by claiming their first-ever title with a 23-13 victory.
So Davis is making sure that his Warhawks will hold their heads high as they enter as underdogs to the state's top-ranked D1 team.
And make no mistake, there are reasons why Arrowhead is a darling of the blogosphere. They are after all, 'the empire,' owner of four state championships, the last coming in 2007 and they are averaging 47.6 points per game, having scored 56 touchdowns for the season.
They have done it in a balanced fashion too, with 26 scores through the air and 30 on the ground. Ten different running backs have found the end zone for the team and 10 different receivers have caught TD passes, with four of those having over 20 catches each.
Just for fun, the defense has allowed less than nine points a game (77 total points on the season).
'I haven't slept much since Friday night (after the King game),' said Davis, 'but we aren't going to go in there and lay down either. They're very big. No one on their defensive line is shorter than 6-3 and their two interior guys are 6-5 and 6-6.'
'But we believe in what we're doing here. We just can't believe any of the stuff we hear and see (on the web). How we'd lose by 20 to their JV and stuff like that.'
'I told the kids not to listen, because you never know.'
And Davis does have reason for confidence. His team was very workmanlike in the win over King (7-1) as senior Mason Yahr took over the quarterback position for the game, as sophomore starter Dwayne Lawhorn, Jr., was still nursing an ankle injury suffered in the loss to Homestead last week.
Yahr finished the night nine of 11 passing for 91 yards and a touchdown. The score was the first of the game, a four-yard, first-quarter strike to Jason Townsend.
'Mason stepped in and had a fantastic game,' said Davis. 'That's why we gave him playing time earlier. To prepare him for moments like this.'
The Warhawks tacked on two more TDs in the second quarter as Tyler Baran ran one in from five yards out and senior defensive back Austin Krysiak punctuated a spectacular three-interception night with a 53-yard 'Pick 6' that made the score 21-0 at the break.
'The defense played very well,' said Davis. 'They were trying to do a lot of quick slants and we were able to pick off two of them.' All told, the Generals hit just four of 19 passes on the night.
The Warhawks then put the running clock into order in the third quarter as Baran (one yard) and Yahr (two) both found the end zone with short range runs. Germantown rushed for 199 yards in the game, including 99 yards on 16 tries by Baran and 91 on just six attempts by Kyle Theis.
'I thought it was a good game,' said Davis. 'Kids stepped in and did the job.'
WHO:Germantown visits unbeaten Arrowhead at 7 p.m. Friday at the high school, 700 North Ave., Hartland
WHAT FOLLOWS: If the Warhawks were to beat Arrowhead, they would face the winner of Menomonee Falls (7-2) and Kimberly (8-1) in a Level 3 playoff game on either Nov. 2 or 3. Germantown reached Level 3 in 2010, Phil Datka's last season.
MAJOR ACHIEVEMENT: Krysiak's three-interception night was sensational, but came up just one short of the school record that is held by Datka's son, Doug, who in 1984 snagged four interceptions, including a 'Pick 6' in a win over Brown Deer.