Home » Sports » West De Pere » Brotherly love on the gridironDeschane trio has played integral role on success of Phantoms football team

Brotherly love on the gridiron
Deschane trio has played integral role on success of Phantoms football team

By Rich Palzewic

DE PERE – With a plethora of starters on a football team, it’s the ultimate team sport.

For the West De Pere football team, the Deschane boys — all three of them — have been a big part of the team’s success this season.

Senior Sutter (tight end), junior Langden (offensive left guard) and sophomore Easton (defensive end) are all starters for the 11-1 Phantoms, who are only one win away from heading to Camp Randall in Madison for a shot at another WIAA Division 2 state title.

West De Pere, a No. 3 seed in the playoffs, will play No. 6-seeded Kaukauna on Friday at Ashwaubenon High School in the state semifinals.

“We’re not going to look ahead, but how cool would it be to get back to Madison,” Sutter said. “We have two gold balls (for football) in the trophy case, and it would be awesome to get another.”

The Phantoms won Division 3 state championships in 2010 and ’11 with back-to-back 14-0 seasons under then-head coach Bill Turnquist.

West De Pere also made it to the 2009 and 2018 title games, but finished runner-up both seasons.
Against Catholic Memorial in 2018, the Phantoms watched as a 24-0 third-quarter lead evaporate in a 37-24 loss — something Easton still remembers.

“I was a sixth-grader and got to leave school early,” he said. “Remembering they played Catholic Memorial and realizing we only have one more game to get there, we have to keep our eyes on where we are now.”

West De Pere finished the 2022 regular season with an 8-1 mark, with its only loss coming to Division 1 powerhouse Bay Port, 34-27.

The Pirates are currently in the state semifinals as well and face Kimberly for the right to go to Madison.

Postseason snub
Despite hanging with Bay Port in the regular-season finale, the Phantoms were “awarded” the No. 3 seed — something that didn’t sit well with the team and fans.

It meant after hosting a Level 1 game, West De Pere would have to go on the road for Levels 2 and 3.
“The game against Bay Port gave us lots of confidence,” Easton said. “It proved we could hang with one of the best teams in the state. Our defense didn’t have the best game, but we still hung in there. We came into the playoffs with a chip on our shoulder.”

West De Pere proved the doubters wrong with a dominating 38-6 victory over No. 1-seeded River Falls in Level 3.

The Phantoms traveled four hours west, only to find a mixture of fans from other schools in the student cheering section.

“River Falls was shell-shocked,” Langden said. “Their fans asked other fans from Holmen, New Richmond, Hudson and their fans to show up. It was a big student section.”

Sutter said the chants from the student body began immediately after the game began.

“They were chanting, ‘I believe that we will win, I believe that we will win,’” he said. “When we got out there and beat them like that, it was the best feeling.”

West De Pere opened the playoffs with a 56-7 drubbing of Holmen in Level 1 and followed that up with a 21-6 win over New Richmond in Level 2.

Matchup with Kaukauna — again
In a Week 2 nonconference matchup at Kaukauna, the Phantoms eked out a 43-42 overtime thriller.
In that game, West De Pere jumped out to a 28-0 lead, only to see Kaukauna roar back.

Phantoms junior quarterback Duke Shovald was 19 of 26 passing for 348 yards with two touchdowns, but the West De Pere defense allowed quarterback Finnley Doriot to throw five touchdown passes.

After the Ghosts went ahead 42-35 in overtime, West De Pere scored a touchdown and went for the 2-point conversion and the win.

“We came to the sidelines and said to (head) coach (Chris Greisen), ‘Let’s go for 2 — run power, and we can make it,’ Sutter said. “Najeh (Mitchell) punched in the conversion — it was an awesome feeling.”
Langden said he’s expecting another tough game from the Ghosts (8-4).

“I didn’t get to play the first time against them because I was on the junior varsity team, so I’m excited to play them this time,” he said.

Mitchell, a Division II commit to the University of Minnesota Duluth, has rushed for 1,468 yards on 252 carries (5.8 yards per carry average) with 25 touchdowns.

He’s added another three touchdown catches from Shovald, who has thrown for 2,133 yards with 22 touchdowns and only three interceptions.

Brotherly love
Sutter didn’t go out for football during his junior year because he wanted to concentrate on basketball, but decided to come back out during his senior season.

Langden didn’t become a full-time starter until the sixth game of this season against De Pere, but the biggest piece of the puzzle might have been Easton.

“I worked hard this summer, but I didn’t know if I’d get a position — I was battling another guy,” Easton said. “It’s cool I get to be out there. Whenever the defense gets a turnover or does something good, both Langden and Sutter come running out and give a shoulder bump or a high five, It’s cool to see them run out on the field.”

Sutter said he and Langden get to block together on certain plays.

“I didn’t think it was a possibility because we’re not normally next to each other on the line,” he said. “But then coach put in a formation where Langden and I are blocking together. The first time we did it, there was an extra spark putting the guy across from us on his butt.”

When Langden was told he’d be staying with his brothers on the varsity, it was a great moment.
“They were so happy for me,” he said. “They started punching me on the shoulder.”

Basketball season
With the boys’ father Todd being the varsity head basketball coach and older brother Raef also on the coaching staff, there’s a good chance there could be five Deschanes on the sidelines come basketball season.

“There’s a decent chance of that,” Todd said. “They have to work hard to make it. Sutter played varsity last year, Easton was on JV for most of the year before getting pulled up to varsity later in the year and Langden was on JV the whole season. Langden will be one of our tallest kids — he’s 6-foot-4 — so we can use his height. If he puts in the time, he will probably see some time.”

With three starters on the football team, is there a chance the three brothers will all be starters — or on the floor at the same time — in basketball this season?

“It sounds like a broken record, but we have to work hard and put the time in,” Sutter said. “Nothing is given — we all know that, especially when our dad is the coach. He won’t be doing us any favors.”

If the Phantoms advance to the state title football game on Nov. 18, it would interfere with the start of basketball season.

“With practice starting (Nov. 14), if the boys make it to football state, I’d be missing two-thirds of my team,” Todd said. “It would be a good problem to have.”

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