By Rich Palzewic
GREEN BAY – For the first time in almost two years, the Green Bay West football team came out victorious.
In their annual rivalry game against Green Bay East, the Wildcats started fast and hung on late for a 41-28 Fox River Classic Conference-South game on Sept. 29 at Green Bay West High School.
After the Wildcats (1-6 overall, 1-4 FRCC) jumped out to a quick 13-0 lead seven minutes into the game, the Red Devils (0-7, 0-5) showed some grit and determination in making it a game.
“This was probably one of the most emotional swing games I’ve been a part of, both as a player and as a coach,” second-year West Coach Drew Brusoe said. “Both teams put the ball on the ground, but we stepped up when we had to. Our offense moved the ball – we scored 41 points after scoring 32 (in Week 6). Defensively, we have to clean some things up, but overall, I’m super proud of the kids.”
The Wildcats’ last win was on Oct. 1, 2021, against East.
“This is us taking the program up a notch,” Brusoe said. “Hopefully, we can get our numbers up even more for next year.”
Coming into the 118th meeting in the series – which dates back to 1905 – the Red Devils held a 64-50-3 advantage, including winning 22 of the last 25 games played between the two schools.
After losing last year’s game to East 8-6, Brusoe said it was a nice win for his squad.
“The preconceived notion is that East and West only play for this game, and nothing else,” he said. “Tonight, we played for this game, but going to the future, it won’t be just about this game.”
West’s first drive of the game culminated in a 10-yard touchdown pass from Sam Hemery to Dakotah Montez five minutes into the game.
“It was a hard game, but we executed,” Montez said. “We had some fumbles as a team – I had one – but we fought through adversity. It was an emotional game. We came out locked in, but then made a few mistakes.”
After the Red Devils punted on their first possession, the short punt was scooped up by Dominic Becker, who grabbed the bouncing ball and sprinted 20 yards to paydirt for a 13-0 lead after Daniel Brundidge’s extra point.
The Wildcats pushed their lead to 20-0 when Hemery scampered three yards for a score with 4:03 remaining before halftime.
East scored with 12.2 seconds left in the half when Brady Anderson hit Quincy Shields in the corner of the end zone for a TD to bring the score to 20-8 after the 2-point conversion.
The second half started in the Wildcats favor.
Brundidge’s hard squib kick bounced off a Red Devils player and caromed right back to himself.
On the next play from scrimmage, Hemery connected with Brandon Wilson from 48 yards, but the play was wiped out because of a penalty.
Eventually, later in the drive, Jaysean Wright bumped the lead to 27-8 on a four-yard TD run early in the third quarter.
After East scored to make it 27-16, West’s Leo Bustamante snared a 33-yard TD pass from Hemery halfway through the quarter.
The Red Devils responded immediately thereafter when Shields caught his second TD pass of the night – the 2-point conversion failed to make it 33-22.
The Wildcats’ next drive ended on a fumble in the end zone, giving East a touchback.
On the first play of the ensuing drive, the Red Devils executed a 59-yard halfback option pass to pull within 33-28 early in the fourth quarter.
West’s Wilson ended the scoring with an 18-yard TD catch late in the game.