Homecoming Heartbreaks

Port Washington, Grafton lose conference games, leaving them one win away from playoff eligibility

Grafton’s Dominic Voiland caught a pass for 23 yards in Grafton’s homecoming game against Hartford. Photo by Sam Arendt
By 
MITCH MAERSCH
Ozaukee Press staff

Quarterback Adam Baierl was back to lead Port Washington High School’s football team, but that and a colossal game from running back Deron Spicer weren’t quite enough to pull out a homecoming victory last Friday.

West Bend East won a 35-26 shootout to leave the Pirates one game from playoff contention at 4-3.

“Unfortunately, we just fell a little short. They’re a very big football team. They have big boys up front and made some big blocks,” coach John Bunyan said.

Spicer ran for 220 yards and three touchdowns on 21 carries, averaging 10.5 yards per rush.

He was basically matched by Sun Brady Schmidt, who ran for 211 yards and three scores on 26 carries.

“Deron ran really well, and their running back had a great night,” Bunyan said.

A long punt return that led to a score right before halftime put the Pirates down, 14-7, at the break. But they got the ball to start the third quarter and drove down and scored. A failed extra point made it, 14-13.

“Then it was just a matter of going back and forth and we just could not stop them,” Bunyan said.

Star player Jacob Lippe was held to four catches for 38 yards and 36 yards rushing on six carries.

“He’s getting double and triple-covered every game. It’s hard to get him the ball sometimes. He still had an impact,” Bunyan said.

Baierl, who has been out since the third week of the season with a foot injury, went 8-for-19 passing for 67 yards and an interception. He rushed for 48 yards and a score on 17 carries.

“He had a really good game, scrambled well for us, made plays with his legs It’s good to see him back,” Bunyan said.

The Pirates were missing standout kick returner and wide receiver Mitchell Niemeyer, who tore his ACL the game before at Slinger, and they lost cornerback Zach Sharpe, who had been filling in at wide receiver, to a knee injury. Cornerback  and wide receiver Brandon Kelling was back from a concussion he sustained against Slinger.

Backup quarterback Ethan Baierl, Adam’s younger brother who can also play receiver, has a banged up shoulder. Bunyan said he hopes to get him back for this week’s game against winless West Bend West.

With only 30 players, Port doesn’t have the luxury of much depth.

“We are week by week here trying to make it work. We’ve got a good team. We’re really explosive. We’re playing good football. We’ve just got to knock on wood, stay healthy,” Bunyan said.

Once at 4-1 in the North Shore Conference with eyes on a high playoff seed, the Pirates lost at Slinger and then against East for homecoming.

“I’m proud of my guys. Kids were balling their eyes out at the end of the game. They’re competitive and wanted to win that homecoming game,” Bunyan said.

Bunyan reminded his team that it is in a better position than last year at this time. Port was 3-4 and had to win its final two games to get into the playoffs.

On Friday, Port’s MASH unit could again guarantee itself a playoff spot with a win, this time on senior night.

“We’re going to have to get some other kids ready to go and stepped up,” Bunyan said.

Port heads to rival 4-3 Grafton for the final week of the season.

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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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