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Whitefish Bay football team handles BC and the weather just fine in opener

Dukes physical in 20-6 win

Running back Van Bassindale of Whitefish Bay is met by Brookfield Centrals Evan Liebetrau on a play during the Blue Dukes 20-6 win over the host Lancers on August 22. Bassindale ran for 153 yards and two TDs in the game.

Running back Van Bassindale of Whitefish Bay is met by Brookfield Centrals Evan Liebetrau on a play during the Blue Dukes 20-6 win over the host Lancers on August 22. Bassindale ran for 153 yards and two TDs in the game. Photo By Dave Haberkorn

Aug. 25, 2014

It was not the type of debut that Brookfield Central football coach Jed Kennedy was hoping for on Aug. 22, as Whitefish Bay dominated the Lancers and rolled to a 20-6 victory at Central in the season opener.

"The defense was on the field most of the game," Kennedy said. "What did they have, 75 offensive plays? We have physical kids up front but they just didn't play that way."

An elated Whitefish Bay coach Jim Tietjen, whose team was playing the first of three consecutive road games to open the season, had an answer for that.

"I was concerned with all these new rules about our conditioning," he said. "But I felt our kids were in better shape. We got after them. There were points early in the game I felt when we drove on them, they were tired. No question, we got tired, too. It was a hot and humid night, but we did a good job of hydrating the kids and with our conditioning. Our kids just handled it (the weather) better. They got the big guys and the heat takes its toll on them. We're not very big, but our kids rose to the occasion. We had some questions coming in and we answered them."

The Blue Dukes will now head off to Slinger at 7 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 29. The Owls posted an impressive 44-16 win over Whitnall in their opener.

Bay established the tone early against Central in the opener.

After BC senior linebacker Matt Patterson sacked Bay quarterback Jake Fisher to stop the opening drive, the Blue Dukes stopped Central on a three-and-out and put together a 10-play, 74-yard drive.

Junior running back Van Bassingdale carried the ball seven times for 48 yards on the drive and scored the game's first touchdown from 2 yards out with 3 minutes and 40 seconds left to play.

"Van just ran tough as heck tonight," said Tietjen.

After another three-and-out for the Lancers, Bay went 73 yards on 10 plays, as running back Adam Strehlow finished it off by racing around right end and scoring from 14 yards out to make it 14-0 with 8:38 left in the half.

Bassindale carried it six times for 28 yards on the drive. Running back Macklin Kortebein had a 13-yard run to help keep the drive alive.

Central then ran a five-play drive which ended when defensive back Matt Bernstein picked off a Dominic LabBellarte pass at the Bay 12-yard line.

The Lancers took the ball 11 plays to close out the half with their best drive, but Labellarte's incompletion ended the half.

Even second half

The Lancers played Bay even in the second half, as each team had a long drive to eat up the third quarter. Jack Ludke missed a 30-yard field goal, the closest any team came to scoring.

Bassindale scored on a 6-yard run with 6:39 left to play, and then the Lancers scored on a 4-yard run by junior running back Mitch Meves with 2:35 left to play.

Bassindale rushed for 153 yards in 30 carries and two scores and Strehlow ran 85 yards in 10 carries and a score. Labellarte rushed for 50 yards in 13 carries.

"In the second half, it was an even ballgame," Kennedy said. "They have a lot of philosophies that we do. They control the clock. We gave the offense a lot of possessions. We would go three and out, then they would have a 10- or 12-play drive. That's what was frustrating. We could not get in the flow offensively.

"What's disappointing was we just made a lot of mistakes, a lot of things we hadn't seen in the last few weeks. We had some kids get under the lights and got a little star struck."

On the other side of the field, Tietjen likes the mindset of the Blue Dukes. It's part of the underdog mentality he has built for years with the program and it's something that has kept Bay competitive for close to a decade.

"Nothing is a surprise to me about these kids," he said. "We preach to them that we're always the toughest guys out there. It's not always the case, but that's what we tell them, that's what we have them think. They come back from that first hit and just keep going."

Tietjen also praised the efforts of Fisher for managing the game well, as well as those of lineman/linebacker Teddy Weber, and two-way lineman Matt Deakin. The junior free safety Bernstein was also highlighted for running the defense well in his first start.

"Having all these road games doesn't bother us as much," said Tietjen, "because Central also plays on turf (like the Blue Dukes do) and the kids always get excited (for the first game of the season). Our kids just like to rise to the occasion."

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