LEVEL 4 PLAYOFFS: Bay Port falls to Kimberly
By Rich Palzewic
MENASHA – The tears told the story – their perfect season was over.
Behind a dominating offensive performance from Kimberly running back Blake Barry, the Bay Port football team couldn’t keep up in a 42-21 loss to the Papermakers in a WIAA Division 1 state semifinal game at Menasha High School.
Barry racked up 279 yards on 28 carries to go along with his four touchdowns.
The Pirates (12-1) were looking to get back to Camp Randall Stadium in Madison for the second time in the last four seasons.
Bay Port lost the 2019 title game to Muskego, 21-10.
“We just didn’t play well enough,” Bay Port coach Gary Westerman said. “We were able to move the ball at times and score early, but the early turnover hurt.”
The Pirates took possession of the football first but fumbled on their fourth play from scrimmage to set the tone.
Six plays later, the Papermakers went up 7-0 four minutes into the game.
Bay Port responded on its next drive when Cole Bensen barreled in from a yard out to tie the game at 7-7 after Owen Bellisle’s extra point.
The 67-yard drive saw the Pirates run the ball 10 of 11 plays.
Kimberly scored on its next possession before Bay Port did the same on a 3-yard run from Tevyn Montgomery.
The Papermakers added their third touchdown in as many drives at the 7:48 mark of the second quarter for a 21-14 lead.
After a punt from each team, a key play late in the first half proved costly for the Pirates.
With about a minute remaining before intermission, the Pirates went for it on a fourth-down play at the Kimberly 45.
After quarterback Cole Bensen’s pass fell incomplete, Bay Port turned the ball over on downs.
Four plays later, the Papermakers took a two-touchdown lead into the locker room.
“Kimberly went right down the field on us in the first half,” Westerman said. “We made too many mental mistakes. This team will be able to look back someday and be proud of what they accomplished.”
First-year Kimberly coach Chad Michalewicz said he was surprised Bay Port went for it on the fourth-down play in the first half.
“I get why (Westerman) did it,” he said. “Bay Port took the wind in the third quarter so that probably played a role in it. It was a huge stop by our defense.”
The Papermakers scored a pair of third-quarter touchdowns to surge ahead 42-14 before the Pirates got an early score in the fourth quarter from Bensen.
“We couldn’t slow Kimberly down, and that became problematic in all phases of the game,” Westerman said. “I’m disappointed for our kids – we worked hard to get to this point. This group was fun to coach, and they put a lot of time and effort into everything they did.”
Michalewicz spent 11 years at De Pere, one of Bay Port’s Fox River Classic Conference rivals,
before taking the Kimberly job this past February.
“We will be humble about it, but obviously, Gary and I have shared the field together quite a few times over the last dozen years,” Michalewicz said. “I have nothing but respect for the program he’s built – it’s kind of fun beating a familiar foe, but I don’t take any more pride in beating any particular opponent.”
The Papermakers outgained the Pirates in total yardage, 390-330.
Kimberly running back Gavin Tyson added 74 yards on 13 carries.
Bensen was 13 of 26 for 205 passing with an interception and added 74 yards rushing on 20 attempts.
Carter Kallies and Brett Shipley each hauled in five passes from Bensen for 95 and 77 yards, respectively.
Kimberly will be aiming for its eighth state championship when it takes on Mukwonago on Nov. 18 at 4 p.m.