Pesky Port prevails

Fourth-quarter flurry leads to fourth straight league win for Pirates

JACOB LIPPE AGAIN played a huge role in Port Washington’s 35-25 comeback victory over Hartford on Friday night, scoring on a pass and a kickoff return. Photo by Sam Arendt
By 
MITCH MAERSCH
Ozaukee Press staff

Port Washington High School’s football team had survived two games with a backup quarterback against less-talented opponents, but on Friday night a different breed entered Al Urness Field.

Regular playoff qualifier Hartford came in for a battle of 3-1 teams in the North Shore Conference.

In a game that lived up to its hype, the Orioles scored two third-quarter touchdowns to take a three-point lead, but the Pirates answered with a 13-point fourth quarter to seal a 35-25 victory.

Ethan Baierl, filling in for injured older brother Adam, went 10-for-17 passing for 108 yards and a touchdown.

“Ethan has his strengths compared to his brother. He’s great pocket passer and throws the ball well. He’s not as mobile but still elusive and can throw on the run,” coach John Bunyan said.

Baierl got help from a trio: a huge running game thanks to an impressive offensive line and star running back, a star receiver who is a deadly kick returner and an opportunistic defense that made three takeaways.

Deron Spicer ran 23 times for 180 yards and three touchdowns, and recorded a safety.

Jacob Lippe caugh seven balls for 108 yards and a score, and had a 73-yard kick return for a touchdown.

Deion Edwards and Nolan Makoutz each recovered a fourth-quarter fumble, and Zach Sharpe intercepted a pass on the Orioles’ final drive.

“Our kids played hard. Back and forth, really hard fought,” Bunyan said.

“Hartford is a good football team, a big football team.”

In that pivotal fourth quarter, after recovering a fumble on Hartford’s 29-yard line, it took two plays to find the end zone. Spicer scored on a 1-yard run to give Port the lead for good.

After recovering another fumble, Port drove 62 yards, the final 42 on a Spicer run, to extend the lead.

Port built a lead in the first half thanks to all facets of its team. The offense drove to 61 yards to inside the Orioles’ 5-yard line, before being stopped on fourth down.

Late in the second quarter, the Orioles took over and ran a bubble screen — almost like a lateral pass, Bunyan said — and Spicer tackled a receiver in the end zone for a safety.

Lippe, who teams have taken great pains to avoid on kickoffs, then promptly returned the ensuing boot 73 yards for a touchdown.

That extended the Pirates’ lead to 22-12 at the break.

Bunyan has nearly run out of superlatives for his stars, Spicer and Lippe.

“They’re special kids that have had tremendous years already,” he said.

The Orioles bounced back in the third quarter. One score was set up by a kickoff return to midfield, and another was aided by a Port fumble at its own 22-yard line.

Bunyan said his team worked hard on kick coverage on Monday. With Lippe, he knows well the value of special teams.

“Field position is everything and that’s the thing that was really beneficial for us,” he said.

While Port won the turnover battle, 3-1, rushing yards were pretty much even, with Hartford totaling 200 and Port 222.

Scott Savage led the Orioles with 168 yards and two scores on 16 carries.

Bunyan was pleased with both sides of the ball in the running game.

“Our offensive line is getting better every week, running football well against a team like Hartford,” he said.

Defensively, “We held our own and we definitely were aggressive and made them throw.”

He’s even more pleased with his team’s disposition.

“I’m excited about the fact we’re still looking to improve,” he said.

Now 4-1, a showdown for second place  in the North Shore Conference is up for grabs when Port visits 4-1 Slinger on Friday. Bunyan said he expects another tough r attack from the big and strong Owls, who have a couple of linemen that weigh about 300 pounds.

“They’re going to be in an I formation and come down hill,” he said.

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Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

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