Bay football team works past a day's delay, overpowers Grafton, 28-14
Dukes win turnover battle
The Whitefish bay football team couldn't help but be a bit off on their game Friday against Grafton.
After all, the Blue Dukes had been scheduled to go the night before, a televised game of the week, but thunderstorms rang down throughout all of southeastern Wisconsin with fearsome lightning bolts in tow, forcing a postponement.
So just before the start of what eventually would be a sound 28-14 victory over the Blackhawks a night later, head coach Jim Tietjen had his offensive coordinator Jake Wolter make sure that the Blue Dukes were a little bit on edge.
"We knew that was a good team we were going to be playing," Tietjen said, " so Jake got after our guys a little bit before the game (verbally). Really lit into them."
It didn't take right away. The Blue Dukes fumbled the opening kickoff and the Black Hawks (1-2 in North Shore play and 2-3 overall) tried to cash in on the mistake.
Defense sets tone early
"But on a fourth down pass we got a sack and we were able to turn them away," Tietjen said. "That was huge. It could have been like the Homestead game last year (with a critical defensive stand after a big turnover). They (the Black Hawks) could have got a ton of momentum out of that but instead we got the stop."
As a result, the Blue Dukes got the momentum, went on to secure a 21-0 lead and then eventually hung on for the win. A win that improved them to 3-1 in league play, good for a tie for third and 4-1 overall. They are at border rival Nicolet (0-5) for a 7 p.m. game Friday.
Tietjen and the Blue Dukes will engage a simple plan going into that game.
"We just want to continue to get better and if we do that, we'll continue to win," he said.
Bay took the initiative against Grafton on a drive late in the first quarter that quarterback Turner DeMuth finished with a one-yard run to the end zone. DeMuth then highlighted one of his best days of the season with a 58-yard pass for a score to Rhashad Gray. Senior running back Ben Lehrmann then made it 21-0 on an eight-yard run.
"Lehrmann ran like a horse," he said of the senior fullback, who rushed for 149 yards on 27 carries, while DeMuth would hit eight-of-12 passes for 142 yards and an interception.
The Black Hawks scored shortly after the Dukes' third touchdown of the half and Tietjen said that the Blue Dukes defense was always having to fight its way out of trouble as Grafton quarterback Choo Weisflog threw for 267 yards and two touchdowns.
Bay gets three picks
The Blue Dukes did extract a price for that success as they picked off three passes, including snags by Dane Fleck and Joe Sherburne. Sherburne has had a pick in nearly every game this season.
Tietjen also noted that defensive ends Mitch Rogers and Tyler Terveer had "tremendous games" repeatedly getting hits for losses.
Grafton closed the gap to 21-14 midway through the third quarter, but then the Blue Dukes answered just two minutes later as Lehrmann fought his way into the end zone again from two yards out.
"Our offense moved the ball tonight," Tietjen said, noting that the Blue Dukes gained a total of 327 yards for the game.
A big factor in the win, Tietjen said, was that Bay was able to stay ahead in the turnover battle, also forcing a fumble along with the three picks. Bay had two turnovers itself for the game.
Sherburne had three catches for 41 yards as did Jaren Walker for 32 while Gray grabbed two for 69.
"We didn't always turn them away on downs as much as we would have liked to," Tietjen said, "but that was a good football team we played. They played hard and we worked hard, too, but we were able to make just a few more plays than they did."
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