Bay Port rolls Notre Dame
By Greg Bates
GREEN BAY – It’s become evident three weeks into the season the Bay Port football team isn’t going to get challenged in the Fox River Classic Conference.
A smothering defense and high-powered offense have the Pirates looking as if it was playoff season already.
Bay Port put on another impressive display against rival Notre Dame Academy, scoring five touchdown drives which consisted of three plays or less.
An inexperienced Notre Dame squad couldn’t keep up, as Bay Port led 44-0 at halftime en route to a 51-7 victory Sept. 6 at Notre Dame High School
Bay Port coach Gary Westerman was most impressed with the play of his defense, which held the Tritons to 16 rushes for -13 yards in the opening half.
“They’re a gritty outfit,” Westerman said. “Part of our deal is we’re trying to stay healthy and play a lot of guys. We’re rotating guys at safety, corner, linebacker and D-line – it wasn’t just 11 out there. We’re trying to do the same thing on offense, too. I’m really proud of how our guys played. I thought we finished better than we started.”
Against Bay Port’s top defensive players in the first half, Notre Dame had nine possessions: four punts, two interceptions – one that was returned for a touchdown – a safety and the clock ran out to end the half.
Not to be outdone, the Pirates’ offense was nearly unstoppable after punting on two of its first three drives.
The coaching staff made a few adjustments, which worked to perfection.
“We didn’t run any of our outside stuff,” Westerman said. “We didn’t spend a lot of time practicing it and [Notre Dame] kept packing it in – they weren’t going to give it to us on the inside.”
Once No. 4-ranked Bay Port established the outside, it opened everything up.
“You know exactly what they’re going to run – they just run it better than everybody,” Notre Dame coach Mike Rader said. “When they really get at it, they root you out and they’re going to smack the crap out of you and make it work.”
In a matter of 10 offensive plays in the second and third quarters, the Pirates tallied five touchdowns in 11 minutes, 58 seconds.
“It shows all-around how special we are,” said Bay Port quarterback Andrew Thomas, who threw three touchdowns in the win. “The line, our receivers, our backs, everybody can do it. You pick your poison. We can find the open guy, and whether it’s running or throwing, we can beat you.”
Bay Port (3-0, 3-0 FRCC) took advantage of a muffed punt to get on the scoreboard first.
Wide receiver Mitch Merhalski got the ball from Thomas on a jet sweep and scored from 9 yards out.
Up 9-0 following a safety, Merhalski took another jet sweep and went 50 yards nearly untouched.
Fifteen seconds later, Bay Port defensive back Logan Geissler picked off a Hogan Anderson pass and brought it back 20 yards for a touchdown.
Pirates running back Isaiah Gash, in his first game back after nursing a knee injury, ripped off second-quarter touchdown runs of 34 and 64 yards.
“Obviously, he ran well,” said Westerman about Gash, who finished with seven carries for 112 yards and two touchdowns. “It was a good first game out.”
Sandwich in a 42-yard touchdown strike from Thomas to Sam Plumb and Bay Port led 44-0 at halftime.
Matt Grzybowski tacked on a 60-yard touchdown run for Bay Port, which captured its 30th straight conference victory.
Notre Dame (1-2, 1-2 FRCC) finally got on the scoreboard with 1:30 left in the game, as James Arett scored from a yard out.
For how explosive Bay Port’s offense has been – averaging 49.3 points per game – Thomas knows his team hasn’t fully tapped into its full capacity.
“We’ve got a lot more in the tank,” Thomas said. “Gash came back and we’ve got a lot of plays we haven’t run on the field yet. There’s a lot of room for improvement. I’m excited to see where it goes.”