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Top-ranked Fond du Lac pushes past Bay Port

By Murray Gleffe

SUAMICO – There’s a reason the Fond du Lac football team is ranked No. 1 in the Large Division of the latest WisSports.Net poll.

With arguably two of the best players in the state with running back Braelon Allen and quarterback Kyle Walljasper, the Cardinals defeated Bay Port 62-19 in a Fox Valley Classic Conference game April 23 at Bay Port High School.

After starting the season 2-0, the Pirates (2-3) have lost three straight games.

Dating back to the 2002 season, Bay Port has never lost three consecutive games during a season.

“The scoreboard doesn’t indicate it, but we played far better in stretches,” said Gary Westerman, Bay Port head coach. “They have two of the best players I have ever seen in high school. They make cuts you don’t see every day. They’re incredible athletes. We had a turnover and a special teams touchdown go against us, which didn’t help. A positive is we moved the ball productively on offense.”

The Cardinals scored on all eight of their offensive possessions.

Allen had 155 yards on the ground and three touchdowns, while Walljasper added 133 yards and two touchdowns.

Bay Port’s Matt Grzybowski rushed for 163 yards and two touchdowns on senior night.

The Pirates started the game on offense and drove to the Cardinals’ side of the field.

However, on a first down-play, Bay Port quarterback Eli Frank threw an interception to stall the drive.

Thus began the offensive onslaught by Fond du Lac.

Facing a fourth-and-6 on its first possession, Walljasper got flushed out of the pocket and scampered 27 yards to the end zone for a 7-0 lead after the extra point.

A punt by the Pirates gave the ball back to the visitors, and they needed only six plays to go up 14-0 on a Walljasper 21-yard touchdown run after the extra point.

Midway through the second quarter, Bay Port remained resilient through the air.

Mitchell Merhalski hauled in a 48-yard completion on the drive, and Frank capped it off with a 1-yard plunge to bring the home team within 14-6 after the point-after try failed.

“Our kicking has been a struggle for us through the years,” Westerman said. “We have to continue to get better and work at it in practice.”

The one touchdown deficit was short-lived as David McArthur brought the ensuing kickoff to the house to extend Fondy’s lead to 20-6 with 8:20 left until halftime.

“It was a big momentum killer,” said Westerman. “We had scored, and then we kick it right to the kid, and he made a play.”

After a quick three-and-out by the Pirates, Allen took a handoff and went around the edge 52 yards for a score, which gave the Cardinals a 27-6 advantage after the extra point.

Each team exchanged touchdowns near the end of the quarter, as Fond du Lac took a 34-12 lead into intermission.

The Cardinals essentially put the game away to start the third quarter with touchdowns by Allen and Tyler Collien to extend the margin to 48-12.

The 36-point advantage induced a running clock for the rest of the contest.

Fond du Lac added two touchdowns with reserves, and Grzybowski added the final touchdown for Bay Port.

“We’re going to work hard these final weeks,” said Westerman. “I know our kids are going to show up. We’re on a skid here – everybody knows that. Their attitude has been positive. Our goal is to go 1-0 next Friday.”

FVCC crossover play will take place April 30 and May 7.

According to the Fox River Classic Conference website, Bay Port will travel to Pulaski April 30.

Box score:

Fond du Lac: 7, 27, 21, 7 — 62

Bay Port: 0, 12, 0, 7 — 19

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