BY RICH PALZEWIC
SUAMICO – It’s not often that a high school football team gets to play in front of an NFL coach, but such was the case Friday night for Bay Port.
With Green Bay Packers head coach Mike McCarthy on hand, the Pirates got past Green Bay Notre Dame 35-14 in a Fox River Classic Conference game at Bay Port High School.
Isaiah Gash had 167 yards rushing, including 145 of which came after halftime, and defensive lineman Max Meeuwsen had 3.5 sacks to help the Pirates (6-0 overall, 6-0 FRCC) remain unbeaten, winning their 24th straight conference game dating back to 2015.
Quarterback Jake Plummer accounted for four touchdowns on the night – two passing and two rushing for Bay Port, who out-gained the Tritons (4-2, 4-2) by a whopping 483-171 margin.
“We had like three really long drives in the game and that’s tough to do,” said Bay Port head coach Gary Westerman. “Our defense played really well and I’m proud of how hard the kids played. We made some halftime adjustments in the running game.”
Three of the Pirates’ drives were 88, 92 and 96 yards, which helped them hold nearly a two-to-one edge in the time-of-possession battle.
Bay Port went 92 yards on its first possession of the game to take a 7-0 lead after Plummer scampered in from 6 yards out.
On the ensuing drive, Notre Dame drove from its own 27 to the Pirates’ 4, but running back Brandon Limoni was stopped cold on 4th and 1 by linebacker Call Verlanic to end the threat.
Bay Port then proceeded to drive 96 yards from there to make it 14-0 right before halftime when Plummer hit receiver Cole Weber with a 13-yard touchdown toss.
“Obviously the stop was huge, but then to convert on offense with that drive was even bigger,” Westerman said. “Our defense is playing really well, but the last two weeks offensively, we’ve really controlled the ball. Those long drives are huge.”
After Plummer scored his second touchdown of the night on a 9-yard run halfway through the third quarter, that’s when Meeuwsen and Gash took over.
With things getting chippy on both sidelines, Meeuwsen put a stop to a Tritons’ drive when he sacked quarterback Wes Glime on consecutive plays to quiet things down.
Meeuwsen, a 6-foot-1, 225-pound junior, is nearly unblockable one-on-one and is a front-runner for the defensive player of the year in the conference.
“Max Meeuwsen is a really good high school football player,” Westerman noted. “He plays really hard and is extremely coachable.”
With 3 minutes remaining in the third quarter, the diminutive Gash had a 60-yard gallop and then scored from 22 yards a play later to make it 28-0.
Gash, a junior, is the son of former NFL running back Sam Gash.
“Some of Isaiah’s yards in the second half came from him making plays and from us changing things up a bit,” said Westerman. “We went from power to pin-and-pull after halftime. We didn’t run any power in the second half.”
Plummer would account for his fourth touchdown of the night when he connected with Cody Lindquist from 13 yards for a score.
Notre Dame scored two fourth-quarter touchdowns to make the game appear closer than it was.
The Pirates have given up just 32 points all season, with only a couple touchdowns coming against the first unit.
“Schematically on defense, we are different than last year,” Westerman said. “We made a bunch of changes in the offseason and the coaches have done a great job implementing that – and, we are talented. You put all of those things together and it’s pretty simple.”
Bay Port travels to Green Bay Southwest (2-4) Sept. 28 for another FRCC tilt.
Notre Dame: 0, 0, 0, 14 – 14
Bay Port: 7, 7, 7, 14 – 35