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UPDATED: Messmer/Shorewood Football Team is Playoff Eligible, Judge Rules

Team is slated to play Milwaukee Riverside in a first round match Friday at Pulaski Stadium.

Messmer/Shorewood quarterback Taylor Dennis said he was in class when he heard the news his team was playoff-bound.

"My face just lit up, I was so excited," he said.

Milwaukee County Circuit Court Judge Kevin Martens issued a temporary judgment Tuesday saying the WIAA must consider the football program for the playoffs and release the playoff pairings that includes the team. Playoffs start Friday and although Martens didn’t say when the pairings needed to be released, the WIAA issued playoff brackets shortly after.

Shorewood will take on second-seeded Milwaukee Riverside in the first round of the playoffs Friday night at 7 at Pulaski Stadium.

“It’s for the kids and our guys worked really hard,” Messmer/Shorewood football Coach Drake Zortman said. “This is about the rules and following them as they’re written.”

"These guys earned a playoff spot."

Bob Smith, president and CEO of Messmer Catholic Schools, said he's pleased with the judge's ruling for the sake of the students who worked hard all season.

"They can now focus on their challenge on the field. Win or lose, they’ve been given the chance to compete. That’s all any team can ask," he said in a statement.

Now, players are looking ahead to Friday's matchup and say they aren't intimidated by Riverside.

"It's going to be a good game and I expect us to go out and play like we've been playing all year, nothing more, nothing less," tight end/defensive end Jonathan Carson said.

The football team because it left the Woodland Conference in 2007 and WIAA rules state teams that do so are not eligible for the playoffs for four years.

However, Messmer/Shorewood officials said they had followed the rules as they were written and should be deemed playoff eligible this year because the team had joined the Midwest Classic Conference in 2011 and finished with a record above .500. Playoff qualification is typically based on finishing over that mark in a conference.

Frank Gimbel, the WIAA's attorney, argued that making the organization defend its position in court Tuesday would be an “ambush” because no such hearing or trial was scheduled. But Martens said he needed to issue the temporary judgment because the playoffs start this week and without a ruling now, Messmer/Shorewood wouldn’t be able to gain what it seeks if the case were ruled in its favor.

Gimbel said Martens understood his concerns and the WIAA will have to decide if it wants to seek an appeal or a final judgment in the case. Nevertheless, the Messmer/Shorewood team, which has a 4-2 conference record and is 4-4 overall, will take on Riverside (6-0, 8-1) either Friday or Saturday.

“The judge ruled and my clients are a lawful entity, so they will adhere to the ruling,” Gimbel said.

Zortman said the team will hold regular practice beginning at 4 p.m. Tuesday.

Antoine Davis (534 yards, 7 TDs) and Xavier Johnson (501 yards, 9 TDs) are the top rushers, according to statistics at WisSports.net

Riverside (8-1, 6-0 City Conference) pulverized opponents in league play with an average victory margin of 61-4. The Tigers beat Catholic Memorial 21-18 and lost to Kenosha Bradford 27-14 in non-conference games.

For more on how the court hearings impacted other Patch area teams and their playoff preparations, .

stormtroopers October 19, 2011 at 02:41 AM
I've read a bunch of stupid comments like this one. This 4-year rule has nothing to do with the kids. If the school is run by a bunch of morons, that's not their fault. So why punish them for some boneheaded rule? If the kids were out of contention for something they did, that's their cross to bear. This is not that case. If anything, this is an example of standing up for what you believe to be right. Comments like the one above are made by the same morons who came up with this dumb rule in the first place.
sam October 19, 2011 at 03:15 AM
Just give them all a trophy for participating .
sam October 19, 2011 at 03:24 AM
After they get the crap beat out of them in the playoffs ,maybe they can sue somebody for all their shame and embarrassment , and to pay for all the kleenex to wipe their tears .
Debra Schwinn October 19, 2011 at 04:23 PM
How about this people -- how about hating on the WIAA for a) telling Messmer/Shorewood it was eligible and then taking it back, and b) writing a rule that doesn't say what they mean it to say and then whining when a judge holds them to the actual English meaning of their own written policy? DO NOT hate on these players: These kids are NOT sorry-asses, and frankly earning a place in the playoffs for the first time in a long while was what was important to the team -- and to be told they could, and then have it "taken back" was pretty unprofessional on the part of the WIAA. All that happened here was the WIAA got held accountable for its own behavior. Sorry if that upsets those of you who can't grasp the larger concepts involved in this dispute.
steve October 22, 2011 at 02:56 AM
49 to 6......... well worth screwing everyone else up... wasn't it!?! LOL

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