Big plays push Bay Port past Notre Dame
By Rich Palzewic
SUAMICO – The Bay Port football team used its big-play offense in the first half Thursday against Notre Dame Academy to post a 24-3 nonconference victory.
The Pirates had scoring plays of 70, 56 and 39 yards in the first half before the defense took over.
“That’s the type of offense we’re capable of having,” Bay Port coach Gary Westerman said. “Our defense played well, especially in the second half, but we had too many penalties.
“Notre Dame is a well-coached team.”
Going into Fox River Classic Conference play next week against Green Bay Preble, the Pirates (2-0) are off to a strong start.
“We’re 2-0, so we can’t complain too much,” Westerman said. “Having said that, we’ve had too many penalties on both sides of the ball during our first two games.”
After the Tritons took the opening drive of the game 60 yards from their own 20-yard line to the Bay Port 20, the Pirates’ defense forced a turnover on downs.
The Notre Dame drive milked almost six minutes off the clock.
“I was happy with our start, but we just couldn’t close the drive off,” Notre Dame coach Mike Rader said. “Against a quality team like Bay Port, you have to put points on the board when you get the chance.”
Three minutes later, Pirates quarterback Cole Bensen hit wide receiver Brett Shipley on a 70-yard bomb down the right sideline for a 7-0 lead after the Owen Bellisle extra point.
A play earlier, Bay Port converted on a fourth-down play inside its own 30.
After a Tritons’ punt, Bensen raced 56 yards for a score and a two-touchdown lead.
Bensen, who was 7-for-12 passing for 178 yards, hit Shipley for the final touchdown of the game three minutes into the second quarter from 39 yards out.
Bensen also added 103 yards rushing on 15 carries.
“Bensen finishes runs, so nobody is very excited to tackle him,” Westerman asked. “He’s a physical runner.”
Notre Dame put together another nice drive toward the end of the first half, but again, the series bogged down deep inside Pirates’ territory.
The Tritons had to settle for a 21-yard field goal from Nicholas Gruesen for their only score of the night.
Bellisle added a 30-yard field goal in the last minute of the third quarter to end the scoring.
“Bay Port has the athletes to beat you,” Rader said. “We prepared for it all week, but they still caught us.”
Rader said his team can take away some positives, even in defeat.
“No one likes to be 0-2, but we proved we can play with Bay Port and deserved to be out here,” he said. “If we had converted on a few of those third or fourth-down plays, it could have been a different game.”
After Notre Dame lost to Pulaski 14-0 in Week 1, they’ve only scored three points combined in two games.
Bay Port’s Tevyn Montgomery went down early in the game and didn’t return.
“He has a calf strain but should be fine,” Westerman said.
The Pirates’ defense allowed only 149 yards of total offense and registered four sacks.
Tritons running back Ian Blom had 63 yards rushing on 23 carries, while quarterback Joe Otradovec was 6-for-12 passing for 95 yards.