Over the years, the Whitefish Bay football team has picked up a reputation of being soft, pass-happy and unable to hold up to the more physical teams in the area.
But in recent years, Coach Jim Tietjen has worked hard to change that attitude and on Sept. 17, area gridiron fans got to see up close and personal exactly how physical the Blue Dukes can be as they dominated a previously 3-0 Germantown squad from beginning to end in an impressive 32-6 North Shore win.
"It all comes from Tietjen," said running back Brian Kroll, who benefitted from a tough-minded offensive line to gain 157 yards on 19 carries and score three TDs. "He demands it from us in practice."
That demand became no more clearer than late in the first half, as the Blue Dukes were nursing a 12-0 lead but were sitting on their own 1-yard line after an excellent punt by Germantown's Eric Kindler.
No matter, on the second play of the drive, Kroll hit the edge, as the Blue Dukes were successful doing all night, for 51 yards. Six plays later, on a fourth-and-seven play from the Germantown 21, quarterback Cal Ehrke hit end Paul Davis (six catches for 66 yards) with a perfect fade pass into the right corner of the end zone with just 33 seconds left in the half.
It was one of five fourth-down conversions by the Blue Dukes and made the score 18-0, effectively ending any drama in the contest. Bay is now 2-0 in North Shore contests and 3-1 overall while Germantown is 1-1 and 3-1, respectively.
Bay outgained Germantown 336-211 and didn't give up an offensive touchdown. Germantown's only score came in the fourth quarter, as shortly after the Blue Dukes stopped the Warhawks on their deepest penetration, Ehrke was sacked in the end zone and fumbled with Germantown defensive back John Blaser recovering for the score.
Other than that, it was all Bay.
"They kicked our butts, no doubt about it," said veteran Germantown coach Phil Datka, who's used to having the more physical team be on his side.
Bay rushed for 271 yards on 49 carries (5.5 yards per carry) and also got a TD run from Justin Alt as well as a fumble recovery and interception from Gabe Aleman. Aleman's recovery of a fumbled punt on the Germantown 32 set up Kroll's two-yard TD run in the first quarter, and his interception return to the Germantown 35 set up an 11-play drive that was finished off by Alt's three-yard sweep to the left that made it 12-0.
Senior running back Mike Fischer had 75 yards on 17 carries for Germantown.
It was a remarkable turn of events for Bay center Ryan Grych, who was amazed at the Blue Dukes' success this night.
"We've got to make up for our lack of numbers with attitude," he said. "Usually in this game it's their big old farm boys against us small city kids. … But we sealed the deal. I'm proud of all my guys (on the offensive line)."
Blue Dukes make statement with rout
Visit to Port next. Game time is 7 p.m. Friday.
GERMANTOWN GAME NOTES: Alt finished with 59 yards rushing on 11 carries while Deontaye Brown had 51 yards on 13 tries. Ehrke completed seven passes out of 12 tries for 59 yards and one TD. The Bay offensive line includes Grych, Taylor Hoff, Jeff Cebe, Jake Levings and Jamie Klett.
PORT WASHINGTON NOTES: The Pirates (1-1, 2-2) got on the winning side of the conference ledger with a 31-14 win over Nicolet on Sept. 17. Port, which had lost to Germantown 16-0, the previous week, had quarterback Taylor Devenport hit 14 of 24 passes for 189 yards and two TDs.
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