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Hot Corner: Bay Port primed for state title run

By Rich Palzewic
Sports Editor

SUAMICO – Christmas came a few months early with the recent announcement of the WIAA postseason football brackets.

The regular season is over, and now the real fun starts.

It’s win or go home.

Some of the saddest times I’ve seen as a writer have been when a team loses in the playoffs, and the seniors realize they played their last high school game.

Locally, Bay Port, the No. 3-ranked Division 1 team in the state, looks really good.

The Pirates (9-0 overall), who have won 36 straight conference games and recorded six shutouts this season, have allowed 31 points all year – which comes out to 3.4 points per game.

Offensively, Bay Port is scoring 51.6 a contest and firing on all cylinders.

Rich Palzewic, Sports Editor

Notre Dame Academy scored a touchdown in the last minute of play in mop-up duty against the Pirates, and Sheboygan South, despite having -7 yards of total offense, managed to kick a field goal – not sure how that happened.

The only game Bay Port remotely struggled in was during week two when they gave up 21 points to Green Bay Preble.

The Pirates still managed to win that game, 55-21.

Bay Port also beat Ashwaubenon and Pulaski by 55-0 and 42-0 scores, respectively.

Coming into those games, the Jaguars were 6-0 and the Red Raiders 8-0.

Quarterback Andrew Thomas, who recently received an offer from Division I Drake, is 48-of-63 passing for 894 yards with 16 touchdowns.

In Thomas’ case, it’s an example of the team not needing to use his arm during the regular season.

Thomas has added 370 yards rushing with 10 touchdowns.

Division 1 recruit Isaiah Gash, who is the son of former NFL player Sam Gash, leads the team with 907 rushing yards and 18 touchdowns.

Gash missed the first two games of the season with a minor knee injury but is averaging almost 10 yards per carry.

Matt Grzybowski has chipped in with 702 yards rushing with nine scores.

Wide receiver Sam Plumb has 16 receptions for 469 yards and eight touchdowns.

Plumb’s average-per-catch is a robust 29.3 yards per reception.

On the defensive side, the Pirates have six players with 30 or more total tackles: Call Verlanic (57), Jayden Montgomery (45), Navy recruit Max Meeuwsen (41), Keyshawn Derritt (37), Ben Storby (35) and Jose Ramirez (33).

Logan Geissler has four interceptions, while Verlanic has nabbed two.

In short, it appears Bay Port doesn’t have a weakness.

Not surprisingly, the Pirates earned a No. 1 seed and will host No. 8 Milwaukee Bradley Tech (5-4 overall) on Friday, Oct. 25, in a Level 1 game.

I don’t know much about the Milwaukee public schools, but traditionally, they are not very good in football, so I’m assuming this game will be a four-hour roundtrip mauling for Bradley Tech.

Bay Port could see Preble in a Level 2 game if the Hornets (5-4) can pull off the upset against Milwaukee Riverside in their opening-round game.

If things hold true to seed, the Pirates would host No. 2 Marquette in a Level 3 game.

The state quarterfinals have been Bay Port’s nemesis the last three seasons.

In 2016, the Pirates lost to Stevens Point, 37-34, on a late Panthers’ field goal.

The next year, Bay Port was defeated by Appleton North, 49-41.

Last season, the Pirates had Kimberly on the ropes but eventually fell 38-20.

All three of the previously-mentioned losses occurred in Level 3 games on the turf at Bay Port High School.

A potential matchup with Marquette (6-3) in Level 3 would also be played at Bay Port.

Nothing is a given, especially because the Pirates have lost the last three seasons in Level 3 despite being the higher seed, but I like the Pirates’ chances to get at least a step further this season.

Kimberly could potentially be waiting for Bay Port in the state semifinals.

Like a year ago, that’s the matchup area fans want to see.

Bay Port head coach Gary Westerman used to be an assistant coach at Kimberly, so there will be a little extra adrenaline if that game happens.

Whoever you are rooting for, get out and show your support and pack the stands.

Upcoming area football playoff games

Friday, Oct. 25

Chippewa Falls @ Pulaski

De Pere @ Hortonville

Grafton @ Ashwaubenon

Green Bay Preble @ Milwaukee Riverside

Green Bay Southwest @ Kaukauna

Milwaukee Bradley Tech @ Bay Port

Shawano @ West De Pere

Editor’s note: All games begin at 7 p.m. 


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