Opportunistic Bay football team heads into NSC play 2-0
Germantown coming to town Friday
No, no, it won't be vengeance on the minds of the Whitefish Bay football players when they entertain Germantown in the North Shore Conference opener Friday, even though the Warhawks stunning season opening, 14-13, win last year nearly derailed the Blue Dukes eventual North Shore Conference title hopes.
No, in the mind of coach Jim Tietjen, it's nothing so venal and pedestrian that will be fueling Bay's passion that night at 7 p.m.
"Germantown is just well-coached, well-prepared program," he said. "Our motivation for any given Friday night is just to go out and compete with the the best we can. No, we're not that way (vengeful).
"Words are hollow. The play is what you stand for. How you define yourself."
And the largely rebuilt Blue Dukes have defined themselves very well these first two weeks as they improved to 2-0 with a 17-0 win over Slinger on Friday. Germantown, too, improved to 2-0 with a 24-7 victory over Hartford.
The winner will get a leg up in the early season North Shore race.
Capitalizing on mistakes
Tietjen liked how opportunistic his team was in the win over Slinger.
"We capitalized on a couple of their mistakes," he said. "They've got a 300-pound lineman, a 250-pound lineman. Those are the kinds of kids we just don't have, but we were able to get three picks and a fumble recovery. A great punt by Colin (Downing) eventually resulted in a fumble by them and then a Joe Sherburne interception set up a field goal."
That field goal came at the end of the first quarter and was 26-yards off the foot of Downing. Then late in the second quarter came Downing's punt. The Owls fumbled on the next play and the Blue Dukes got it. The first play after that, Ben Lehrmann went over from three yards out for a 10-0 advantage at the break.
The game remained that way until the Blue Dukes put together their best drive of the year so far, a 16-play, 80-yard effort that ended late in the fourth on a one-yard sneak by Turner DeMuth. DeMuth hit Sherburne with a couple of key passes, including a "great one over the top of a defensive back to get us to the five" Tietjen said.
Bend but don't break D
The defense then finished the job as Lehrmann, from his linebacker's slot, knocked down a pass on a fourth down play. The Blue Dukes allowed 251 yards all told, including 147 yards to Owls' back Thomas Lofy, but never broke.
"We still have some question marks," Tietjen said, "but the goal remains to get better every week. Identify the shortcoming and correct it. I have a quarterback (DeMuth) who was a running back last year. He's still making all the connections, but he's digging down and doing the work."
DeMuth was five-of-nine passing for 59 yards as Sherburne had four catches for 56 yards. Lehrmann led the balanced rushing attack with 13 carries for 78 yards while Van Bassindale had 55 yards on six carries.
Now come the important games.
"We're always anxious for conference," Tietjen said. "We have to win four games to get to the (state) playoffs and then a few more if we want to do anything else."
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