A signature win as big as any for the program since it won the Metro Classic Conference in 2013.
That's how good Shorewood/Messmer football coach Chad Hofmann feels about the 41-34 overtime thriller the Greyhounds pulled out against Woodland Conference rival South Milwaukee on Sept. 9.
"It was an absolutely fantastic game," Hofmann said. "In front of the home crowd, in front of packed stands. What a great thing for the team and the community."
It was a great thing for the program because the Greyhounds have been trying to douse the Rockets' fuse for years now, going back to a state playoff loss a few years ago.
"We've been working on this for four years," he said. "We just haven't been able to beat these guys. Just a big step for the program and for the guys. It's a game these guys will never forget."
Until possibly the next one, as the Greyhounds, who are now 2-0 in Woodland Conference East play and 3-1 overall, will visit Whitnall (2-0, 3-1) at 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 16, to try and stay in the divisional lead.
"We're going to keep it one game at a time," Hofmann said, "and see how far we can get."
And Messwood had to go far to pull out the victory over the Rockets.
In the first game since star running back/defensive back Grant Brown became eligible after sitting out a few games because of some academic issues, the Greyhounds rolled out to a 34-20 lead after three quarters, but fatigue and a big injury to outside linebacker Lael Thompson slowed Messwood down.
South Milwaukee scored two TDs in the final period, including a long drive that culminated in a 4-yard scoring run with just 30 seconds to go. The subsequent two-point conversion pass was good, and the game was tied at 34-34.
"We had some cramping issues (it was a warm and humid night), and the guys were just gassed," Hofmann said.
Messwood lost the coin toss for overtime and went on offense first. The Greyhounds didn't waste any time as quarterback Joe Friedman found end Aaron Eimers on a 25-yard fade pattern for a TD. The extra point was good, and the Greyhounds were up 41-34.
"It was a jump ball, and Aaron did a great job of going up and getting it," Hofmann said.
Then the defense made it stand up, as on the second play of the subsequent Rocket possession, defensive back Josh Sanders snagged an interception to end the game.
"Josh had a great stat line," said Hofmann. "Six tackles, two tackles for loss, one sack and one interception."
Prior to that, the game was interesting enough. After a scoreless first quarter, Messwood took a 13-0 lead in the second on a 55-yard option pass from Eimers to Thompson and then a 5-yard scoring run by Brown. It was 13-7 at the half.
The Greyhounds went up 20-7 early in the third period on a 1-yard Brown run, only to have the Rockets cut the margin to 20-14 on a TD pass.
Still in the third, Messwood boosted the advantage to 34-14 on two scores within 42 seconds of each other. First Friedman hit Henry Peters on a 55-yard TD pass, and then just a short time later, Brown grabbed an errant pass and raced in from 43 yards out for still another score.
The Friedman-to-Peters connection was a fake punt that worked despite not coming off as it was drawn up.
"The guy we intended it for didn't quite get open, but our gunner (Peters) went up and got the ball and made a great play," Hofmann said.
Still, the Rockets stayed in the game, scoring right before the session's end to cut the deficit to 34-20, setting up the fourth-quarter theatrics.
Messwood won despite giving up 481 total yards as opposed to the 408 yards they gained. Friedman hit nine of 12 passes for 209 yards and two scores. Add in Eimers' option pass and the Greyhounds had 264 total passing yards as Thompson had two catches for 87 yards before being hurt. Brown led the rushing attack with 63 yards on 11 carries.
At the end, the Greyhounds went over and thanked the jubilant fans who stayed to the end.
"Everyone needed to celebrate a little," Hofmann said.