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Pirates clinch conference crown with dominating win

By Josh Staloch (Correspondent) and Rich Palzewic (Sports Editor) 

SUAMICO – The Bay Port football team got a lights-out performance from its defense Oct. 18 in a battle of the Fox River Classic Conference’s top teams.

The result was a 42-0 victory over Pulaski while wrapping up a fourth-straight, undefeated FRCC season.

Both teams came into the tilt with perfect 8-0 records.

“Certainly, we’re feeling good about things wrapping up the season like this,” said Bay Port head coach Gary Westerman. “We’re playing good football – it’s critical we are playing good football going into the playoffs. Going in the way we are, we feel really good about it. We’re excited for the kids. Honestly, they are such a pleasure to coach. They’re great humans and it’s really fun to be on the practice field with them. They are amazing people, and they all work very hard. I’m really blessed to be able to coach them.”

The Pirates, the No. 2-ranked Division 1 team in the state, have won 36 consecutive conference games dating back to the 2016 season.

Defensively, it was Bay Port’s sixth shutout of the season.

The Pirates have outscored their last seven opponents, 367-10.

After a pair of uneventful drives for each team to start the game, the Red Raiders began their third series of the evening at the Bay Port 24.

The Bay Port defense, which has given up a paltry 51 total yards of offense in its last two games, stiffened and put Pulaski in a 4th-and-14 situation from the 28-yard line.

The Pirates then got a big spark for the rest of their defensive night, as Logan Geissler intercepted the pass downfield from Nash Lemerond to turn away the scoring threat.

Bay Port quickly turned the opportunity given by its defense to put points on the board.

Isaiah Gash, who rushed for 215 yards with three touchdowns, took a handoff on a third-down play and raced 58 yards up the middle into the end zone at the end of the first quarter.

The Pirates were able to settle into a methodical running game on their next drive.

Gash and Matt Grzybowski helped get Bay Port into the red zone on a drive that featured three, third-down conversions before quarterback Andrew Thomas broke off a sweet run of his own to get the ball to the one.

Gash punched it in two plays later.

After kicker Austin Heim put his second of six extra-point kicks through the uprights, the Pirates had a 14-0 advantage with 2:58 remaining until halftime.

“I feel pretty confident,” commented Gash on his way to the locker room. “We’ve got a few things we need to work on – turnovers and we had a few missed blocks. Things have to get a little tighter, but I think when we’re all doing our jobs out there and working as a team, we can get things done.”

Pulaski, which came into the game as the No. 9-ranked Division 2 team in the state, had pitched five shutouts on the season and was allowing only 3.8 points per game.

Down 28-0 in the third quarter, the Red Raiders forced a Bay Port fumble and looked like they were going to pick up some points, only to turn the ball back over to the Pirates with a fumble of their own.

Pulaski head coach Jerad Marsh said his team will move on quickly.

“That was taken care of right after the game,” said a smiling Marsh when asked how his team would shake off its first loss of the year and get ready for the postseason. “As soon as we walk off this field, our focus is on the playoffs. An 8-1 season is very good for our program. Honestly, Bay Port is a very good football club, as we’ll see all season – hats off to them.”

Besides Gash’s three touchdowns, Thomas and Grzybowski each added fourth-quarter rushing touchdowns.

Thomas also hit David Carpiaux with a 9-yard touchdown toss with 18 seconds remaining in the second quarter for a 21-0 lead.

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