Associate Sports Editor
DE PERE – In their rivalry game on Friday, Sept. 22, the West De Pere Phantoms (4-0 conf.) secured a 28-14 win against De Pere High School (2-2 conf.).
“I’m very proud of this team, tonight” said West De Pere Head Coach Chris Greisen after their win as the team celebrated.
West De Pere’s opening drive was aggressive as De Pere got to face a reception by Langdon Norgaard that moved the team deep into Redbirds territory, a 27 yard carry by quarterback Duke Shovald and even an unsportsmanlike conduct call which pushed them back 15 yards.
The Redbirds, however, had a bit of a slower start to the game, spending their first drive fighting to get out of the endzone, but nonetheless being pinned at the one-yard line by a strong West De Pere defensive line.
With 1:35 left in the first quarter, a six-yard carry by Andrew Baumgart of West De Pere brought his team into the endzone for the lead.
Moments later, a fumble by De Pere was recovered by West De Pere on their 49-yard line.
As the third quarter began, Norgaard clinched an 11 yard reception from Shovald for a touchdown, making the score 14-0.
On West De Pere’s next drive, Norgaard’s 37-yard reception took his team from their own half into the endzone, yet again, bringing his team to a three score lead with seven minutes until the half.
Baumgart’s quarterback sack brought De Pere down at their own 40-yard line for a turnover on the fourth down.
De Pere’s Derrek Bunckleman, however, regained possession for his team with an interception at the Redbird’s 23, with just a minute until halftime.
Another interception, this time by West De Pere’s Marcus Schmidt, brought the Phantoms back possession at the 45 on the very next play that kept the score 21-0 going into halftime.
A comeback for De Pere began to look less and less possible, when Baumgart’s three-yard touchdown run and Brandon Schaefer’s point-after kick brought West De Pere’s lead to 28-0, just seven minutes into the second half.
A few plays later, Baumgart found another quarterback sack 38 yards out from the Redbirds endzone.
However, with the ball on their own 42 yard line, Hayden May had a 28-yard reception which he ran in for a De Pere touchdown at the end of the third quarter.
In an effort to redeem themselves for the first half, the Redbirds fought their way from their own six to the West De Pere 42 by efforts from Caden Schampers and quarterback Easton Arendt, but another quarterback sack would end the drive.
Shovald and Evan Ott made their way up to the endzone, but an interception by Ryan Wettstein of De Pere would hold the score at 28-7.
The Redbirds worked their way out of the danger zone with a completion from Arendt to wide receiver Noah Fischer. Shortly after, May brought the team up from their own 17 to the 38, and Fischers next reception brought them just eight yards from the goal line with eight minutes left in the game.
Arendt then secured a second touchdown for his team with a one-handed diving catch in the endzone on a pass from Fischer to bring the score to 28-14 with less than eight minutes remaining.
The Redbirds recovered their onside kick at the 49 yard line, but when the Phantoms took over on downs with six minutes to go, their fate was sealed as the rest of the night saw rotating possessions by the two teams near the halfline.
With this win, the West De Pere Phantoms not only beat their crosstown rivals on their own territory, but also secured a spot in the WIAA playoffs.