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Pirates hope to rebound this fall

By Rich Palzewic
Sports Editor

SUAMICO – The Bay Port football team had an uncharacteristically rough season during the alternate fall campaign conducted this spring by the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association (WIAA) due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

After winning their first two games, the Pirates dropped their last five contests to finish 2-5.

Bay Port head coach Gary Westerman wasn’t about to make excuses for his team’s lackluster performance.

Gary Westerman

“We aren’t used to that – that’s not Bay Port football,” he said. “We can’t make excuses – we flat-out didn’t execute. It was a different season, for sure, so it’s nice to get back to normal. We lost some close games early, and that set the tone for the remainder of the year. That being said, our kids never quit, and we played hard until the end. That was a new experience and a piece of humble pie for us as a program.”

Westerman said he sees a new excitement from his players.

“It’s fun to be back out on the football field,” he said. “The energy has been great, and we had a great summer of training. The kids worked hard in the weight room.”

The Pirates lost to Appleton East 34-28 May 7, and less than three months later, were back on the gridiron.

“To be honest, it’s been a lot,” Westerman said. “The coaches have done a great job coming back fresh. The players are ready to move forward with a new approach.”

Bay Port advanced to the WIAA Division 1 state title game in 2019 but lost to Muskego, 21-10.

The Pirates are also in the midst of a 36-game, Fox River Classic Conference (FRCC) winning streak.

Their last FRCC loss came at the end of the 2015 season.

The FRCC took a one-year hiatus during the shortened seven-game season this spring but is back to normal this fall.

“The media seems to be more worried about the streak than we are as a team,” Westerman said. “We’re excited to be playing some new teams (in the revamped conference). It’s nice to play both (East and West) De Pere schools – they are good teams with competitive programs. You can’t worry about who you play.”

Eli Frank graduated from the quarterback position after throwing for 876 yards and rushing for another 245.

He accounted for 10 combined touchdowns on the ground and through the air.

“Junior Cole Bensen looks to be our starter this season,” Westerman said. “He’s a dual-threat kid who throws it well. He’s a baseball kid who can do both things well.”

Matt Grzybowski, a bruising running back also lost to graduation, rushed for 924 yards and 13 touchdowns this spring.

“We’re going to be physical up front and be who we are,” Westerman said. “That hasn’t changed. “We also have to develop toughness and can’t be injured. That held us back at the end of the season – we need to stay healthy.”

Bay Port also has a Division 1 commit in senior Jayden Montgomery on the roster.

Montgomery is the son of Green Bay Packers defensive line coach Jerry Montgomery and recently verbally committed to the University of Iowa.

Sports editor’s note: Bay Port is the second team to be previewed in The Press Times for the 2021 season.

To read the preview for Ashwaubenon, CLICK HERE

Bay Port 2021 regular season schedule

8/19 – Middleton
8/27 – @ Notre Dame Academy
9/3 – Sheboygan North
9/10 – @ West De Pere
9/17 – De Pere
9/24 – @ Pulaski
10/1 – Green Bay Preble
10/8 – @ Green Bay Southwest
10/15 – Ashwaubenon

• All games begin at 7 p.m.

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