By Greg Bates
Name: Cole Bensen
Parents: Tracy and Tim Bensen
Activity: Football and baseball
Cole had a solid career, going 22-3 as a two-year starting quarterback at Bay Port. As a dual-threat, he rushed for 2,352 yards and 36 touchdowns and threw for 3,064 yards and 28 scores. Cole is also one of the main pitchers for the Pirates’ baseball team.
How much fun did you have playing football at Bay Port?
“Those two years, junior and senior years, those were the best times of my life in high school so far. It’s going and playing football with your friends.”
What’s your favorite sport? Why?
“Right now, probably football. I think it’s just more fun than baseball. I never get bored of it. There’s times in the year where baseball seems like a grind and I have to like grudge through it almost. But football, I can go to practice and not get bored at all. It’s just that fun to me.”
Have you always played quarterback?
“I’ve only been playing since eighth grade. Besides sophomore year, I played a little running back, too, but that’s about it.”
What attracted you to football in eighth grade?
“My friends pulled me into it. They convinced me to go out and play. I gave it a shot, and I loved it.”
What makes playing quarterback so much fun for you?
“I like being quarterback because I have to like lead my side of the ball and I know the guys are going to be there for me and I’m going to be there for them. I just like making plays happen. I was dual threat, so it’s throwing it and running it, too. Just having those two weapons under my belt was just a good thing to have.”
What’s more fun, when you can run it for a nice gain or find a receiver open and connect on a pass?
“I think it feels more satisfying connecting on a pass, but you can never go wrong with a big touchdown run, too.”
What do you prefer, college football or NFL?
“Oh, I’ve been watching more NFL.”
Who is your favorite player, past or present?
“Probably Rodgers and then I’m also a big Micah Parsons (Dallas Cowboys linebacker) fan. He just gets after it on defense.”
What’s it been like watching Alec Ingold the last couple years in the NFL knowing you ran the same system he did a number of years ago and now he’s in the NFL?
“It’s kind of crazy to think that I’m in the same shoes as he was. There’s obviously been other Bay Port quarterbacks, but to think like a dude who’s in the NFL used to do what I did is kind of crazy to think.”
You’ve talked to Ingold when he’s been back at his alma mater. Has he ever given you any personal advice just being the Bay Port quarterback?
“Yeah, the one thing I asked him was what was the big difference between his junior year and his senior year. What I got out of it was just grinding in the weight room and just being more mentally prepared to play. I think that really helped, because — it’s hard to explain — my junior year I could hear the crowd noise, but my senior year I didn’t hear the crowd noise. It was being able to be locked in all the time.”
What do you like about baseball?
“I’m a pitcher, so I like just having the game in my hands, just going after guys. I like competing, too. Bay Port baseball, especially, we have really good coaches. They coach us very hard and they want to see us win. I just love playing with my friends out there, too.”
The baseball team had an improbable run in the playoffs last season all the way to the state title game. How much fun was that?
“Yeah, that was amazing. Everyone counted us out once the playoffs started, and we just proved them all wrong.”
Are you looking at playing football or baseball in college?
“Right now, I’m looking more at football. But I’m still keeping baseball as an option.”
Are you looking at playing Division III?
“Yeah, like the WIAC (Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference) schools.”
Who is your favorite former or current baseball player?
“I grew up idolizing Derek Jeter. Right now, I like Edwin Diaz, the closer for the Mets.
What do you like about school?
“Seeing my friends. Learning a little bit, I guess.”
What is your favorite class?
“I’m taking a human anatomy and physiology course that I find really interesting.”
Any idea what you want to major in at college?
“More of that like health science career. I’d maybe become a physical trainer or something like that.”
Would you ever get into coaching?
“Oh, yeah, that, too. I’d love to coach football, baseball, anything.”
Any athletic moments really stand out to you from your high school career?
“Two moments, one from baseball, one from football. Baseball one was when we won sectionals and (Ethan) Plog struck out the batter from De Pere. I just remember dogpiling on the mound. Football was when I hooked up with Ethan Houle, threw that pass, to seal the deal in the conference game (vs. West De Pere). Me and Houle have been like best friends since like we were like 11, 12. It just means a lot when you hook up with someone you know real well.”