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West De Pere Phantoms fall just short to Kaukauna 

By Tori Wittenbrock

Sports Reporter

West De Pere quarterback Duke Shovald throws the ball in their game against the Kaukauna Phantoms on Friday, Aug. 25. Tori Wittenbrock photos

DE PERE – After a 25-14 win against Hortonville to start the season, the West De Pere Phantoms fell to the Kaukauna Ghosts by just three points in their game on Friday, Aug. 26. 

With less than ten seconds on the clock and three points away from tying the game, the Phantoms found themselves in scoring position for the final play of the game. 

However, despite their efforts to find the endzone, a sack brought down West De Pere quarterback Duke Shovald around the 20 yard line, ending their chances for a win.

After going down 7-0 early in the game and facing another touchdown by Kaukauna wide receiver Parker Schuh just before half, the Phantoms had a decent hill to climb going into the second half.

“I wouldn’t say there was really just one turning point, there were lots of them,” said West De Pere Head Coach Chris Griesan. “It’s a really good team, really well coached.”

The team did, however, come back out ready for redemption in the second half. 

Shovald and running back Evan Ott worked the ball down the field to get the team in scoring position in one of their first drives back out on the field. 

Senior Andrew Baumgart ran the ball into the endzone from the goalline for a touchdown with 7:02 remaining in the third quarter to begin the Phantoms comeback. 

A few plays later, West De Pere regained possession of the ball and found themselves on their fourth down with eight yards to go when Shovald threw to Langdon Norgaard to secure the first down. 

With just a minute and a half left in the third quarter, the Phantoms were able to again find the endzone. However, a flag on the play for roughing the kicker allowed West De Pere to go for a two point conversion, which senior Isaac Kaster was able to receive, unguarded in the endzone. 

The 15-14 score put West De Pere in good position going into the final quarter of the game, but with just 1:50 left in the quarter, Kaukauna’s Tucker Hofmann received a pass in the center of the field and ran the ball 83 yards to put the Ghosts ahead again.

Kaukauna also went for the two point conversion, making the score 22-15. 

Andrew Baumgart pushes through the Kaukauna defensive line on his way to the endzone.

A fumble by Kaukauna at the 10 yard line was recovered by West De Pere’s Baumgart just before the fourth quarter, which Shovald was able to utilize to get the ball to Norgaard in the endzone to even up the score at 22-22. 

After a personal foul on Kaukauna for a late hit out of bounds, the Phantoms again found themselves in scoring position. Yet, a bad snap was bobbled by Shovald and recovered for a loss of yards, putting them at fourth and ten. 

A missed 31-yard field goal attempt by Own Wolfe left West De Pere with 22 points on the board. 

“We just have to make some plays,” said Greisen. “We didn’t make the plays we needed to on defense. On offense we had some wide open guys we missed. We were in position covering guys and didn’t knock the ball down. We have to clean that up and I think we’ll be a lot better team coming into the next few weeks.”

A longball down the field to Schuh brought Kaukauna down from their own half to the 40 yard line.  

A series of missed tackles at the 30 yard line allowed Kaukauna to sneak closer to the end zone before a 10 yard penalty pushed them back. Another longball brought them into the 10 yard line before they kicked a field goal to put them ahead 25-22, a score which would hold until the end of the game. 

“It’s one of these games that’s non conference and we’ll learn from it and I think we’ll be a better team because of it,” said Greisen. 

West De Pere’s next game is at home against Green Bay West on Friday, Sept. 1.

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