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Unfortunate loss puts Bay Port 0-1 for start of season

By Tori Wittenbrock 

Sports Reporter

SUAMICO – Thursday, Aug. 17th began the 2023 high school football season. Bay Port played its first game of the season, coming off of a 12-1 2022 season which ended at the state semifinals. 

However, the Pirates suffered an unfortunate 29-35 loss to Middleton, putting their record at 0-1 for the start of the season, going into an important game against Kimberly next week. 

Pirates quarterback Carter Kallies finds a gap in Middleton’s defense as he makes a run up the field with the ball. Tori Wittenbrock photos

It didn’t seem to take long for the Pirates to get their footing. About seven and a half minutes into the first quarter, Bay Port’s Tevyn Montgomery ran the ball 14 yards for a touchdown, which would put them ahead 7-0 through the end of the first quarter. 

However, Middleton would soon retaliate with a touchdown with 8:59 to go until half when running back Bryce Falk was able to find a gap and make his way to the endzone. 

With 8:43 on the clock until halftime, Sawyer Torp’s reception allowed him to make his way down the field for a gain of 28 yards, but unfortunately, the Bay Port offense’s efforts were stopped by Middleton. 

With about three minutes left to go in the first half, a personal foul on Middleton for a shot to the head allowed Bay Port good position defensively on Middleton’s first down. Yet, Falk was able to again find a gap in Bay Ports defense to make the score 14-7. 

However, the Pirates were quick to retaliate. After Blake Buchinger’s 22 yard punt return, quarterback Carter Kallies threw a long ball down the field for a 37 yard reception by Torp who ran down the sideline and into the endzone to even up the score. 

Brexton Piontek’s interception allowed the Pirates to gain possession with less than a minute to go until the half. 

Yet, 27 seconds later, Kallies threw an interception which was picked off by Middleton’s Thomas D’Onofrio. With less than 10 seconds left until half, Middleton’s wide receiver Isaiah Oliver was left unguarded in the endzone, allowing Middelton to throw for a touchdown to tip momentum in their direction going into halftime.

At the end of the first half, Bay Port led Middleton 128 to 110 in pass yards, while Middleton led in rushing — 119 to Bay Port’s 107 yards. 

Going into the second half, Middleton again came out strong, working the ball down to the endzone. A decent pass to Troy Teff was bobbled, leading to a lucky escape for the Bay Port defense, four and a half minutes in. 

Tommy Berg of Bay Port picked off Middleton’s next attempt to find the endzone, gaining back possession for the Pirates. 

Max Romenesko makes a tackle the first quarter of Bay Port’s game against Middleton on Thursday, Aug. 17.

Yet, with 5:24 left in the third quarter, Falk scored his third touchdown of the night to put Middleton up 28-14 — a score which would hold until the end of the third quarter. 

After a quiet stretch for the Pirates on the scoreboard, a blocked punt by Ethan Farley two minutes into the final quarter of the game allowed the Pirates to recover the ball in the endzone for a touchdown, placing them within one touchdown of Middleton. 

Despite their difficulty finding the endzone, the Pirates attempted a two point conversion, which was answered by Kallies as he broke a tackle and snuck into the endzone to make the score 22-28. 

A touchdown by Falk put Middleton ahead again, leaving the Pirates 8:20 to come back.

A reception by Tyler Plummer and a 15 yard penalty on Middleton allowed the Pirates to progress down the field, ultimately leading to a touchdown by Sawyer Torp with 1:24 left in the game, making the score 29-35. 

Despite a lasting effort by Bay Port, they were unable to find the endzone again, leaving the final score 29-35. 

“This isn’t the outcome we wanted, but one game doesn’t define us. We just had way too many mistakes that we need to own and get better at and coach better to execute,” said Bay Port Head Coach Gary Westerman. 

“At the end of the day, kids just need to play harder and we need to coach better and we need to get people in position to make plays.”

Bay Port has a difficult game ahead of them next week as they face Kimberly, a team they lost to 42-21 in the state semifinal game. 

“We just need to clean up what we do most importantly,” said Westerman. “[On offense] we have the guys there. The guys are fine and know how to get it done, but we just need to execute at a higher level.” 

Bay Port plays Kimberly away on Thursday, Aug. 24 at 7 p.m. as they hope to come back and avenge the unfortunate loss for their home opener. 

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