Pirates throttle Hilltoppers, advance to Level 3
By Josh Staloch
SUAMICO – The No. 2-seeded Bay Port football team is moving on to Level 3 in the playoffs following a resounding 49-14 victory over the No. 6-seeded Marquette University Hilltoppers Friday, Oct. 29.
The Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association Division (WIAA) 1 Level 2 game was played at Bay Port High School.
“I’m proud of our team stepping up,” Bay Port Head Coach Gary Westerman said. “We’ve been battling injuries, so some other guys had to step in. I’m proud of how well they performed. (Marquette) got after us that first drive, but after that, we shored it up. Once we got the wind at our back, we were able to be explosive and grind clock.”
Bay Port, which scored 28 points in the second quarter, broke through on its opening drive of the game with some hard-nosed running by Tevon Montgomery and Blake Buchinger (16 carries, 87 yards).
Pirates quarterback Cole Bensen, who finished the night with 155 yards on 14 carries with three touchdowns, scored on a keeper from 35 yards out to make it 7-0 after the extra point.
After sitting on the sideline for the first six minutes of the game, the Marquette offense wasted no time testing the Bay Port defense.
On their second play of the night, Hilltoppers quarterback Luke Novotny fired a pass down the middle of the field and hit Nick Ferge in stride for a touchdown that went 56 yards, tying the game at 7-7 after the extra point.
However, that was the end of the back-and-forth scoring for the evening.
On its first drive of the second quarter, Bay Port, starting at the Marquette 48 following a bad punt, scored quickly on a nice pass from Bensen to Sam Barry from 35-yards out for a 14-7 lead after the extra point.
The Pirates stopped the Hilltoppers on the ensuing drive with a defensive series highlighted by Landon Gauthier flattening Novotny in the backfield to set up a punting situation.
Upon getting the ball back, Bay Port spent nine seconds of clock time finding its way into the end zone again.
Starting at the Hilltoppers’ 29, Bensen kept it on first down and picked up 19 yards.
Montgomery, who had a big game on both sides of the ball with 79 yards rushing on 13 carries and two sacks defensively, did the rest from 10 yards out with a run up the middle for a score.
“We knew they weren’t going to get anywhere with their run game,” Montgomery, who had three touchdowns, said. “We stopped that, so we only needed to clean up our pass defense. We made some adjustments to put pressure on their quarterback, and he wasn’t able to throw a good ball. We got pressure on him and stopped the big plays. From there, it was history.”
Down 35-7 at the break, Marquette couldn’t get anything going against Bay Port’s defense in the second half, either.
During one of its better drives of the game, the Hilltoppers got down to Bay Port’s 4-yard line, but Novotny was picked off by Keegan Severson.
Marquette scored with 27 seconds left on the clock for another score.
The Pirates will travel to No. 1 Franklin Friday, Nov. 5, for a Level 3 game.