The 2012 senior class for the Whitefish Bay football team made its name with a conference title and a state semifinals berth. Both great historical things for the program.
The 2013 class had the unenviable job of following that storied group but held up its end with another competitive season that included a WIAA state playoff berth and a first-round state playoff win on the road in Wilmot.
For their trouble, this latest round of Blue Dukes earned three NOW All-Suburban team berths in defensive end Tyler Terveer, all-purpose ace Ben Lehrmann and punter Colin Downing.
"We feel satisfied with what we were able to accomplish," Terveer said. "It wasn't the best we could do because last year we did great things, but we did a great job of playing together as a team even though we did come up a little bit short in the end."
Terveer was a three-year starter but didn't have a sense of entitlement toward his position entering his senior year.
"I worked out three times a day (all summer)," he said. "I really wanted to elevate the level of my game this year and reach my full potential. A lot of guys (on the team) did that. They really stepped up ...because we pride ourselves on trying to play Blue Duke defense all the time. We do that and it's a big boost for our confidence.
"Our scheme is predicated on all 11 guys getting to the ball, all doing their jobs."
Which Terveer, a two-time All-NSC selection and All-Region choice, did remarkably well, coach Jim Tietjen said.
"He had more impact plays than anybody on the team," Tietjen said. "He has speed and strength and can hold up at the point of attack as well as having enough range to make the play on the backside."
Leading by example
Lehrmann was the 7-4 Blue Dukes' best overall player, earning first-team All-NSC at both running back and linebacker. He was also an All-Region selection at linebacker.
He literally never came off the field.
"I think it was only on extra points and field goals," he said. "I don't like being on the sidelines.
"...We worked very hard in the off-season because we wanted to show that we were more than just last year's team. That we had a lot more to our game than that."
Tietjen loved Lehrmann because he was the team's energy guy, who, when things were getting lethargic in practice, could lift the team just by the example of his effort.
"I just like making sure everyone is doing their jobs," he said. "I'm not too much on speaking about things. It's more about how I play and how much effort I put in."
Which, in Tietjen's eyes, is a great deal.
"He's the one who leads by example. He's my guy," Tietjen said.
Special teams weapon
Downing was the one who bailed the offense out and made the defense's job a little easier with his 43.2 yards per kick average as a punter, more than seven yards better than what he did last year and worthy of first-team WFCA first-team all-state honors. He was also Bay's place kicker.
"Everything starts with the drop, working on the craft," he said. "It got to the point where I was practicing it 10 times even inside the house. It's also all about flexibility, being able to swing the keg as high as you can."
Which was very high, as he got tremendous height on his kicks and that led to next to nothing in terms of return yardage for the opposition.
"About 10 yards all told (for the season)," the Iowa State recruit said.
Downing also follows in the tradition of other great Blue Dukes punters Will and Chris Hagerup. Will Hagerup was a senior and Downing was an eighth-grader when the older kicker mentored the younger. Downing got an early start at the position, starting when he was in sixth grade.
In time, he made himself invaluable for the Blue Dukes.
"He's just a weapon," Tietjen said.
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