Milestones & Memories of Phil Datka
Great moments in Germantown football North Shore Conference history
Retiring Germantown football coach Phil Datka's career began with trips to Kewaskum, Kettle Moraine and Mayville as part of the old Scenic Moraine Conference.
And that's where the groundwork for success in his 42-year career was laid.
But most of his truly groundbreaking wins have come during Germantown's 25-year affiliation with the North Shore Conference.
I'm going to start (albeit a week late), a series on the significant games he's had with current North Shore opponents. This week: Port Washington and Whitefish Bay.
1992: Germantown 14, Port Washington 7
There was nothing but frustration here for a long time as Datka and the Warhawks started the Port series, largely with legendary coach Al Urness at the helm of the Pirates, with an 0-8 record.
That changed with a memorable 1992 WIAA second-round road playoff game where the Warhawks, behind a late first-half touchdown catch from Chris Kloehn and the battering ram running of back Eric Brill, beat Port for the first time.
Brill, an All-Suburban selection at back that year, helped seal the victory with 13 consecutive rushes in the fourth quarter.
• 1990: Port Washington 35, Germantown 24: Both teams entered the regular season closer on the Warhawks home field unbeaten. The Wednesday night game saw an overflow crowd, as cars were parked up and down River Road by 6:30 p.m. (for a 7 p.m. kickoff).
The dominant state finalist Pirates broke off to a big early lead and though the Randy Nickel-led Warhawks battled back, they could not make up the ground.
• 1997: Germantown 21, Port Washington 14: All-Suburban all-purpose selection Jason Reeder had the game of his life, catching two touchdown passes from quarterback Ben Croatt and coming up with two interceptions, including the game-clincher right along the Germantown sideline.
The Warhawks wound up sharing the NSC crown that year.
• 2000: Germantown 14, Port Washington 6: Two-year starting quarterback Jeff Holzbauer was hurt and lost for the season early in the game, but sophomore David Pietrowiak came in and did the job. He got help from a stout defense and a physical offensive line led by All-Suburban selection guard Nate Kender.
2000: Germantown 45, Whitefish Bay 14
This was Pietrowiak's coming-of-age story as the sophomore showed both leadership and talent as he threw for four touchdown passes in the Warhawks road victory in the regular season closer that clinched the North Shore Conference title.
Germantown took control early against the young but talented Blue Dukes and never let them in the game as the Warhawks completed a rebound from a disappointing 1999 season that saw them miss the WIAA state playoffs.
Pietrowiak would lead the Warhawks to impressive state playoff wins over Plymouth and DePere before losing to eventual Division 2 state champion Ashwaubenon.
• 1993: Germantown 7, Whitefish Bay 0: A disappointing 4-5 season closes on a high note, as the Warhawks knock the NSC champion Blue Dukes from the unbeaten ranks with an emotional victory.
• 1991: Germantown 21, Whitefish Bay 14: A surging Warhawks team came up with a huge win on the road as they were making a run toward a potential NSC title (a frustrating loss to Tosa East the next week ended those hopes).
The punctuation mark on this game was a spectacular cutback run for score by Germantown running back Bill Reith who planted a Blue Duke defensive back deep in the ground with an absolutely ferocious stiff arm.
• 1997: Whitefish Bay 14, Germantown 10: The Blue Dukes almost derailed the Warhawks hopes of conference and state glory as two botched punts on Germantown's muddy home field led to two easy Bay scores in this upset win.
NEXT WEEK: Milwaukee Lutheran
- Steven L. Tietz
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