Bayâ€™s relentless rushing leaves Port searching for answers after tough loss
When the Port Washington Pirates grabbed a 6-0 lead in the first quarter last Friday, it appeared they might be on their way to a pleasant night of North Shore Conference football.A COLLISION WITH a Whitefish Bay defender kept Port Washington tight end Zach Hauser from making a catch in Fridayâ€™s game.
So much for first impressions.
After ripping off a 12-play, 74-yard drive for a touchdown on their opening possession, the host Pirates saw their bid for a win over Whitefish Bay fade into a long series of frustrations.
Unleashing a methodical rushing attack, Bay dominated the rest of the game and pulled away for a 41-6 victory.
The Blue Dukesâ€™ speedy backfield â€” led by the trio of Rashadeem Gray, Deontaye Brown and Julian Posey â€” piled up 415 yards and four touchdowns rushing on 48 carries. Gray led the way with a game-high 150 yards and two scores.
â€śWe had great difficulty with their speed,â€ť Port coach Tim Greisch said. â€śThey kept running the ball, and we couldnâ€™t stop them enough when we had to.â€ť
Bay â€” which outgained the Pirates, 472-135, in total yardage â€” had trouble of its own early in the game.
After taking the opening kickoff, Port faced little resistance reaching the end zone. Quarterback Taylor Devenport capped the Piratesâ€™ first series by throwing a 34-yard touchdown pass to tight end Zach Hauser on a third-and-14 play midway through the first period.
But Bay needed less than three minutes to move ahead for good. A 17-yard touchdown sprint by Gray was followed by the first of six extra points by Colin Downing, and the Dukes owned a 7-6 lead.
The Pirates struggled offensively the rest of the night, with six of their next 10 possessions ending in punts. The other times, they gave the ball up twice on interceptions and twice on downs.
Beating Portâ€™s defense up the middle on quick bursts and to the edges on counter plays, Bay used its running game to take control. By halftime, the Dukes added a 57-yard touchdown run by Gray and two field goals by Downing, including a 22-yarder with five seconds left in the second quarter, and held a 20-6 lead.
The Pirates toughened their defense in the third period, forcing Bay to punt twice and turn the ball over on downs on its first three possessions. However, Port couldnâ€™t get its own offense on track and failed to pick up a first down in the second half.
â€śWeâ€™re kind of tired of being one block away or one missed assignment from making the big play,â€ť Greisch said
â€śGood teams canâ€™t do that. Weâ€™ve just got to do a better job.â€ť
Field position was not in the Piratesâ€™ favor. On average, Bayâ€™s possessions started at its 46, while Port started at its 27.
After taking a 27-6 lead into the fourth quarter, the Dukes sealed the win with two insurance touchdowns.
Bay improved to 2-2 in NSC play and 3-3 overall while Port fell to 1-3 in the league and 2-4 overall.
The Pirates had few offensive highlights, though Devenport managed to complete eight of 19 passes for 126 yards. Hauser had three catches for 64 yards.
Port will try to bounce back this Friday when it travels to Germantown for a 7 p.m. game â€” the second in a run of three tough NSC contests that concludes against Cedarburg on Oct. 7.
â€śI said before the season started that this would be our toughest three games in a row by far,â€ť Greisch said.
â€śWe just have to keep working and find a way to play better. It doesnâ€™t get any easier, but we have to be ready.â€ť