DE PERE — Two weeks to play in the regular season and the West De Pere football team is on the verge of once again winning a Bay Conference title.
Since the Bay Conference was realigned in 2007, West De Pere has at least shared every league title, so, yeah, the Phantoms feel a little ownership over this crown.
However, if West De Pere is to continue its streak, it faces its toughest test of the season in undefeated Hortonville in the GameTime Game of the Week. The Polar Bears, ranked No. 7 in the FOX 11 Top 11, have allowed 16 points all season, so No. 4 West De Pere knows come Friday it won’t be easy.
"I don't want it to be the first time in my high school career that we haven't won conference,” said West De Pere quarterback, wide receiver and defensive back Chandler Diekvoss. “I don't want to be the one to end that streak."
Did someone say streak?
Not only has West De Pere been at the top of the Bay for the last six years, it has done it in dominant fashion, having won 41 straight regular season games and 36 straight league games.
If West De Pere is to continue its streaks, look for Diekvoss to be a big reason. The 6-foot, 5-inch Richmond basketball recruit started the season at quarterback on offense, but an injury to wide receiver Connor Konshak forced coach Bill Turnquist to return Diekvoss to the position he played last season on a part-time basis.
Diekvoss, who leads West De Pere with 369 receiving yards, will switch positions during games and while the move seems odd, Turnquist said it was easy.
“He’s just a great athlete,” Turnquist said. “He can run, he can throw, he can catch the ball. I just think he’s the best athlete around right now. He’s a very heads-up kid, smart and real competitor.”
After six blowout wins to start the season, West De Pere cleared its first big hurdle last week when it won at Seymour, which entered the game with one loss. Now the Phantoms have their toughest test of the year and they know there’s no second chance.
Hortonville actually leads the Bay with a 7-0 record, while West De Pere is 6-0. Hortonville’s open week in the Bay is Week 9 so its final league game is Friday, which makes this a must-win.
West De Pere can’t get help next week if it loses, so this is winner-take-all.
"We're not getting any help next week, they have a nonconference game, so it's a good situation for us,” Turnquist said. “At the end of the year that's the way it should be, going down to the final game. May the best team win.”
Turnquist thinks the 30-18 win over Seymour was good preparation for Hortonville. Prior to that game, West De Pere’s closest game was 41-0.
“I think it was a real confidence builder,” Turnquist said. “Seymour is a good, quality football team. I thought our kids responded.”
West De Pere has been the Bay's best team, winning 51 of 53 league games since 2007. It really doesn’t know anything but winning and that is what the Phantoms are thinking about.
"It's a must-win,” Diekvoss said. “If we win, we win conference. If we lose, we lose conference. So it's a must-win for us."
West De Pere By Game
Antigo, W 47-0
at Oconto Falls, W 58-7
Marinette, W 63-7
at Luxemburg-Casco, W 41-0
at Shawano, W 61-8
New London, W 45-0
at Seymour, W 30-18
Follow Doug Ritchay on Twitter @dougritchay
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