They did it in 2012, and now an open spot for “2015 Football” on the WIAA State Championship banner will eventually be filled.
Homestead wins its fifth overall state title in school history. The seniors, a rare group, start and finish their high school career with a state championship.
“It's a tradition here,” said senior receiver and safety Jack Popp. “We've always had a lot of success here and it's a great thing to be a part of. To get one my freshman year and my senior year, I mean, it's truly special.”
Especially after getting off to a 2-2 start. It was a taste of defeat that turned into a 10-game win streak to end the season.
“When you're 2-2 you're thinking, ‘Uh-oh, what's going on here?’” recounted head coach David Keel. “But to the kids' credit, they pulled it together and got one win at a time, and took it all the way and played their best football in November, and when you're playing your best football in November, it's fun.”
In the championship game against Waukesha West, Homestead had a drive that started in the third quarter and ended in the fourth with a touchdown.
“23 plays we had,” said Keel. “Five third downs, two fourth down conversions, 23 plays, almost 13 minutes off the clock. I don't think I've ever been around a football team that has had the ball for over a quarter of time on the clock. That was amazing.”
“We got a little cold on the sideline,” said senior defensive end Ryan Baranko with a laugh. “We're all right getting a little bit cold and, you know, capping it off with a touchdown was huge. We provided the opportunities for them, but they got the job done and all the credit to them.”
And credit to the defense that shut out West in the first half. It ended up a 28-12 win, truly a team effort.
“We're happy to get the win, but we're sad it's over,” Popp said. “We're all family here so it's sad but you know, it's a good way to go out.”
Congratulations Homestead Highlanders. you're TODAY'S TMJ4’s Frenzy Team of the Year.