Bay football team passes "eyeball test" in 14-7 OT win over Slinger
Dukes 2-0 heading into GT
This is how it rolls with the Whitefish Bay football team.
The Blue Dukes will on occasion wow an opponent with raw physical skill, but they're rarely ever very big and they will never, ever overwhelm anyone with sheer numbers.
But they do know how to beat you, as they showed in overtime on Aug. 28 against nonconference opponent Slinger. Bay got a 10-yard TD run from Van Bassindale on its possession in OT and then came up with a critical stop to win its second straight road game, 14-7, over the Owls.
"Never underestimate our kids," said veteran coach Jim Tietjen. "They don't pass the eyeball test. Teams look at us and say 'Huh, we'll kick those guys' but we go out and play hard."
And as a result, the Blue Dukes will enter North Shore Conference play at 2-0 as they open league play with a very difficult test, traveling to state ranked Germantown (2-0) at 7 p.m., Friday, Sept. 5. The Warhawks have routed Greenfield and Hartford by a combined 97-14 score in their first two games behind an enormous offensive line and three-year quarterback Dwayne Lawhorn, Jr.
Bay holds a 3-2 egde over Germantown over the past five years. Key turnovers last year allowed Germantown to pull out a 23-15 victory.
"They're always close and tough and hard-fought," said Tietjen. "We know each other well so we just get after it. It ought to be a heck of a game."
It will be the last of three consecutive road games for the Blue Dukes to open the season.
The Slinger contest was also a heck of a game. Bay took the lead at the end of the first quarter, completing a nice drive with a 20-yard swing pass for a TD from Jake Fisher to Adam Strehlow.
The Blue Duke defense, which limited the Owls to just 147 total yards including 1-of-8 passing, almost made it stand up. They forced a missed field goal in the third quarter but a Slinger interception deep in Bay territory midway through the fourth quarter gave the Owls an opportunity.
Still, the Blue Dukes almost got a stop there, too. A controversial leading with the helmet call gave Slinger a fresh set of downs and the Owls plowed in the tying score on a 1-yard run with 5:25 left in regulation.
Bay went on offense first in the overtime. Strehlow gained 15 yards on a jet sweep on first down and then Bassindale scored on the second play on a dash up the middle.
The defense then did its job. A defensive holding call gave the Owls a first down on the Bay 15, but then one run and three successive passes wound up in nothing.
"We chased him (the quarterback) on fourth down and it fell incomplete," said Teitjen.
Bassindale led a balanced, 157-yard rushing attack with 63 yards on 18 carries while Strehlow had 57 on 13.
Fisher completed 8-of-16 passes for 124 yards with a TD and two picks. Joseph Martinez-Ortiz (35 yards) and Macklin Kortebein (57 yards) each had three catches.
"Jake (Fisher) was definitely more comfortable (in his second start at quarterback) and he managed the game quite well," said Tietjen. "The defense is moving forward and we're getting a lot of people to the ball. We're working hard to create situations where there are no surprises for us."
Matt Bernstein, Strehlow and Martinez-Ortiz all came up with interceptions for Bay, while Conner Claiborne forced a fumble and Martinez-Ortiz recovered it.
Tietjen felt the team passed a good "eyeball test" of its own with this win.
"We like to go to Slinger," he said. "It's a great environment. They got field turf (like Bay does). They have a great band and there's always a lot of cooking and tail-gating going on. It's a great circus environment."
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