Gray's four touchdowns pivotal as Bay crushes Cedarburg, 38-8
Blue Dukes push their way back into league race
Whitefish Bay - There was a whole lot of Gray on Friday in Whitefish Bay despite the end result being black and white as the Blue Dukes football team got its swagger back with a 38-8 dismantling of Cedarburg.
The victory for Whitefish Bay avenged last year's meltdown loss to the Bulldogs when the Blue Dukes conceded 22 fourth-quarter points, and it also took some of the bad taste out of the mouth for Bay from its stunning 14-13 defeat at the hands of Germantown on Aug. 30.
It would not come back to that again and senior All-Suburban running back Rashadeem Gray made sure of it.
Gray rushed for 165 yards, adding to his already strong early season statistics, and scored four touchdowns. He also did some damage as a receiver throughout the game.
Gray caught a first-half touchdown pass from fellow senior Grant Menard to cap a drive that featured a 56-yard connection. The touchdown reception for Gray was sandwiched between an earlier 31-yard touchdown run and a pair of fourth-quarter scoring gallops.
"I was open deep because they were playing man coverage on me, and we actually ran the ball more than I expected," said Gray of his receiving score. "They play a lot of man coverage and I think we have more speed than they do."
Gray added: "It feels nice to beat Cedarburg. The varsity team has never beaten them since I've been here so we are excited about it."
The victory put the Blue Dukes back into the North Shore race as both they and the Bulldogs are currently 1-1 in league play and 2-1 overall.
Team focused, practiced well
After the Germantown fiasco, veteran Blue Dukes coach Jim Tietjen had Bay's full and undivided attention this past week.
"One thing I really noticed," he said. "Last week was the first full day of school and that is usually our worst day of practice of the season, but that wasn't the case this time. We practiced Monday (Labor Day) and Tuesday (the first day of school) was very good."
And that translated well into the effort against Cedarburg, as Whitefish Bay scored first in the game on a drive that didn't have much to do with Gray but did include another huge passing play from Menard.
During the Blue Dukes' second drive while facing a third and long, Menard found senior Jackson Weber wide open over the middle. Weber hauled in the pass and scampered 72 yards taking the ball inside the Cedarburg 10.
After a penalty pushed Whitefish Bay back, Menard found Weber again on a 16-yard touchdown pass to give the Blue Dukes an early 7-0 lead.
No comeback for Bulldogs
Cedarburg never led in the game but the thought of last year's comeback win was on the mind of both sidelines as the game reached the fourth quarter. A repeat of that thriller was not to be, even as a safety brought the game to within two scores in the second half.
"Absolutely, we thought about it," Tietjen said. "We dominated for three quarters up there and then let it slip away and our kids tonight just were not going to let it slip away again.
"It's a great win because our first goal is to always make the playoffs, and beating Cedarburg is big but our conference doesn't really have any weak teams, so our work is still cut out for us," added Tietjen. "… The big thing is that our skill position people (Gray, Menard and Weber) really made a difference."
The defense also came to play, as Cedarburg was held to just eight points after scoring more than 30 points in each of the first two games this season.
"Last year was quite a comeback so you always hope that your kids have it in them," Cedarburg head coach Brian Leair said. "It's high school football, so big plays can happen either way at any time, but tonight they got the better end of it."
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