By Rich Palzewic
SUAMICO – With Bay Port’s 56-14 victory over De Pere on Oct. 6, the regular season finale in Week 9 at West De Pere sets up to be a good one.
The Pirates scored early and often in posting their sixth consecutive Fox River Classic Conference (FRCC) victory of the season over a shorthanded De Pere team.
Bay Port (6-2 overall, 6-0 FRCC) scored 21 points in the first quarter and added another 14 in the second quarter to take a 35-7 lead into intermission.
With a running clock for much of the second half, the Pirates scored an additional 21 points.
The Redbirds (3-5, 3-3) came into the contest without their starting quarterback and running backs, who were all injured.
“For starters, I’m disappointed (De Pere starting quarterback Easton) Arendt couldn’t play,” Bay Port Coach Gary Westerman said. “He’s such a competitor and fun to watch play. From afar, he seems like a good kid.”
De Pere Coach Ben Strickland said Arendt played with a knee injury in a Week 7 victory over Green Bay Preble.
“It continued to swell up this week,” he said. “He didn’t practice all week and had a doctor’s appointment, but by that time, it was too late – he hadn’t gotten any reps. We wanted to make sure he was ready moving forward.”
The Redbirds were also without the services of running backs Lucas Koskey and Caden Schampers.
“I hope they’ll all be ready for (Week 9 against Ashwaubenon),” Strickland said. “We had some injuries, but we have to learn to overcome that.”
Bay Port quarterback Carter Kallies scored on a 12-yard touchdown run sandwiched between a pair of Tevyn Montgomery rushing TDs in the first quarter.
In the second quarter, Kallies connected with Blake Buchinger on a 47-yard TD reception before De Pere’s Dante Matte got the visiting team on the scoreboard with a 25-yard TD run.
Buchinger added his second TD of the night – this one from 31 yards out – to make it 35-7 at the break after Owen Bellisle’s extra point.
Buchinger, who had 139 total yards on the night, scored his third TD of the game early in the third quarter to initiate the running clock.
Backup Redbirds quarterback Marcus Schmidt connected with Noah Fischer on a six-yard TD pass early in the fourth quarter before Mongomery and Anthony LeFebre each scored rushing TDs to end the scoring for the Pirates.
Bay Port outgained De Pere in total yardage, 438-152.
Montgomery rushed for 114 yards on eight carries, while Kallies ran for 106 yards on 13 attempts.
Hayden May hauled in six receptions for 66 yards to lead the Redbirds.
Defensively, Kallies and Landon Gauthier each nabbed interceptions, while Max Romenesko recovered a fumble.
“We jumped out fast on offense and played well on defense,” Westerman said. “We didn’t play perfect, but we kept De Pere from being explosive.”
West De Pere (7-1, 6-0) also stayed undefeated in the conference with a 45-6 victory over Preble.
“West De Pere is well coached, and we’ll get their best game,” Westerman said. “They have good personnel – we’re looking forward to it. They have a good quarterback and good receivers and fly to the ball on defense.”
For De Pere, its playoff chances hinge on a Week 9 showdown at home against Ashwaubenon (3-5, 3-3).
To automatically qualify for the WIAA postseason, teams must finish above .500 in their conference games.
“We talk about it all the time – control what we can control,” Strickland said. “We’ll watch this film against Bay Port and try and fix what’s needed.”