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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, .

David October 18, 2011 at 08:06 PM
My question is what team will be left out of the playoffs in order to let Messemer/Shorewood in? When they left the conference 4 years ago, they knew they would be out for 4 years. I am glad they joined a new conference ... but that does not obviate the fact that they are still under a cloud from their original decision.
Steve Newman October 18, 2011 at 08:40 PM
Jerome-spell check dude- they probably don't play didgeball at that school-if you can't win on the field, just sue. How PC that judge is. Probably never took a snap in his life
Steve Newman October 18, 2011 at 08:41 PM
That is dodgeball-not didgeball-my bad
Bill House October 18, 2011 at 09:42 PM
This school taught a great lesson to their kids. If you feel you've been wronged, just take it to court and find a friendly judge.
steve October 18, 2011 at 10:29 PM
what was the made up stuff JD?
bob October 19, 2011 at 12:17 AM
how pathetic this country has gotten. no wonder our society has become to feel entitled to everything. kids get too much given to them instead of having to earn it.
Dustin Block October 19, 2011 at 01:05 AM
How did the kids not earn this? They had a nice season and now they get another game.
steve October 19, 2011 at 01:27 AM
a so-so season is a nice season? WOW!
Sammy October 19, 2011 at 01:44 AM
poorly written! Next time explain earlier in the article why they had to go to court in the first place.....the quotes are nice but does not tell the story well.
Paul Dicandia October 19, 2011 at 01:48 AM
So when you dont win in the playoffs, are you going to sue to get the score reversed? It is a good lesson for kids. If you dont win, just sue
Craig October 19, 2011 at 02:02 AM
It doesn't matter if they were undefeated. They knew the rules going into the season just as they knew when they pulled out of the conference. The Judge had no business ruling the way he did- WIAA lost it's balls now. What is next? Court decisions regarding a bad call on the field??
Bill Simmons October 19, 2011 at 02:14 AM
So you go to court when things don't go your way and find a friendly judge. What about the team who will be removed from the playoff who "played" by the rules?
bob October 19, 2011 at 02:15 AM
ok not enough details in this story to make a good decision here. as most of this posts they leave out crucial details so that it will get all the rednecks fighting with each other. this is the same tactics the tv, newspaper, and govt uses on us. no your not smarter than a 5 th grader. oh and mr spell check, looks like you made a typo ? probably like the guy your flicking crap too. focus on the real facts people and unless you are the person that proof reads the websters dictionary, back off
steve October 19, 2011 at 02:17 AM
Looking at the bracket, mess/shore won't make it out of the first quarter but, if they have their attorney get an injuction to prevent the opposition from touching them..... it will be interesting when they play rapids. I know players on the rapids, the marshfield and point teams... they eat whiners for lunch and they don't care much for outside rules! LOL
EmpthyCursed October 19, 2011 at 02:24 AM
Who knew that football players actually USE their Brains!! I couldn't be prouder! NICE JOB MESSWOOD!!! Proving once again we are not "dumb jocks". NOW go play hard !!!
stormtroopers October 19, 2011 at 02:28 AM
According to this article, any team with a .500 record is playoff bound. If that means the whole league is in October Madness then so be it. Don't punish the kids because there's some stupid four year hiatus rule. High school is four years (for most people) so why deprive these kids of the opportunity to compete? I'm sure the rule has its merits but really?!? Rules like: don't steal, no drinking and driving, and no smoking at the gas station make sense. Rules that hurt kids, because of what financial commitments or something else like that, are just plain stupid. The point isn't, "Let's learn a lesson about following rules," it's, "Stand up for what's right and you might actually come out on top sometimes!" Great call judge, you made the right call. "Unsportsmanlike Rule, defense. Results in negation of 4-year rule. First down."
EmpthyCursed October 19, 2011 at 02:30 AM
High School ball. NOT NFL. PS- I will be more upset if we hear about them getting away with murder and obtaining their freedom in a jeep. THESE PLAYERS gained their "freedom"(to the play offs) the LEGAL WAY.
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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