GREEN BAY — For most of its first three games this football season Bay Port had little trouble finding the end zone, scoring at least 40 points in three wins.
Friday, though, the Pirates were confronted with their toughest challenge of the season when they visited Notre Dame in the GameTime Game of the Week.
Notre Dame, like Bay Port, was also 3-0, so the Pirates would find out they were through four games, and Bay Port found out it is 4-0. But unlike the first three games the Tritons didn’t let Bay Port run away and hide.
Nonetheless, Bay Port found a way led by the Alec Ingold-to-Blair Van Ess connection as Bay Port beat the Tritons, 21-7, in a Fox River Classic Conference game.
“It’s a big game, two 3-0 teams,” Van Ess said. “We came in and knew it was going to be a challenge.”
For the second game in a row, Bay Port’s offense was contained in the first half. Pirates coach Gary Westerman said there were multiple reasons for that.
“We got buried in the first half,” Westerman said. “Our field position was really, really bad, so it was difficult to run offense at times and get into a flow. Then we had some penalties that kept our score down.”
Notre Dame held Bay Port to a season-low in points by containing the Pirates’ running game, led by Ingold and Max Biebel. They were unable to consistently find big holes, so the Pirates had to go to the air.
That’s where Ingold and Van Ess broke the game open. Van Ess caught two TD passes in the first half, 38 and 42 yards, repsectively, to give the Pirates 14-0 halftime lead.
“Just two of our famous plays,” Van Ess said of the TD catches. “We had a backside post and another drag across the field. Great balls; just executed the plays really well.”
Then, on the first drive of the third quarter Ingold pushed the lead to 21-0 when he capped a 9-play, 64-yard drive with a 4-yard TD run. This game looked all but over, but then Notre Dame responded.
After totaling just 39 yards in the first half Charlie Rotherham sparked the Tritons when he hit Joel Krawczyk down the left sideline for a 68-yard TD strike, cutting the gap to 21-7.
On its next drive, Notre Dame RB Isaac Seering scampered 49 yards to move the ball to Bay Port’s 41 and there was a hint of a rally by the Tritons. But that was it as Bay Port stepped up and stopped the Tritons from there.
In fact, Notre Dame totaled 117 yards on two plays and 46 yards on the other 37 plays.
“Our defense played exceptional,” Westerman said. “They had two big plays, obviously the one pass and one run. Other than that, we played really good run defense and really good pass defense.”
Ingold finished 12 for 19 for 248 yards as it was his second game in a row with more than 180 yards. Meanwhile, Van Ess caught 6 passes for 154 yards and two TDs.
“Obviously, Blair is a very good football player when he gets the ball in space,” Westerman said. “He can make people miss and also has great speed. He certainly is a weapon; he’s certainly going to draw some attention now so we’re going to have some other guys step up.”
While Bay Port managed a 14-point win on their first road game of the season, the Pirates knew they could’ve made it easier on themselves. Penalties and a dropped TD pass made things harder than they wished they were.
“We had a lot of mistakes,” Van Ess said. “Just a lot of things we have to clean up.”
Added Westerman: “Our kids are believing; we’re still really young. We had some really goofy penalties and mistakes, especially up front. We have to get those things cleaned up and get some momentum.”
Through four weeks, most would say Bay Port already as that momentum.
- Notes: Three of its four games, Bay Port has allowed seven points or less. … Bay Port has 17 rushing TDs and five passing TD this season. … Bay Port hosts Manitowoc next week. … This was Notre Dame’s home opener after three road games. … Notre Dame hosts Sheboygan North next week. … Ben Wagner had an interception for Notre Dame and Riley McElmury had an interception for Bay Port.
- Game ball: Van Ess, whose ability to beat coverage deep opened up the Pirates passing game.
- Numbers game: 154 Yards receiving by Van Ess.
(6) BAY PORT 21, NOTRE DAME 7
Bay Port……..6 8 7 0 — 21
Notre Dame…0 0 7 0 — 7
BP – Blair Van Ess 38 yard pass from Alec Ingold (kick failed).
BP – Van Ess 42 yard pass from Ingold (pass good).
BP – Ingold 4 run (kick good).
ND – Joel Krawczyk 68 pass from Charlie Rotherham (kick good).
Follow Doug Ritchay on Twitter @dougritchay
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