The Green Bay area is in for a good one this Friday night. As the old saying goes, “One 0 has to go!”. Both Bay Port and Pulaski are coming into Friday’s contest with undefeated records. Both teams are 3-0 overall with a 1-0 conference record as FRCC North action began last week. Bay Port comes in not only with home field advantage, but they’re coming off of a 55-0 blowout victory.
Bay Port began their season against Middleton, a team who now sits 1-2 after their victory in the Big Eight conference opener. This is a game that saw the offense take over as the score was 21-14 Bay Port after the first quarter came to a close. The scoring slowed down, and it ended up being a 38-21 win for the Pirates.
Cole Bensen is the star quarterback for Bay Port who isn’t afraid to tuck and run. He had nearly double the number of rushing yards than he did passing, which is a phenomenal feat when I tell you that he threw for 121 yards. It was a 11 for 23 effort that saw two touchdowns and one interception, but the 20 carries for 212 yards and a pair of rushing touchdowns is the number that stands out the most. What’s even more fascinating? His counterpart, Blake Buchinger, carried the ball 22 times for 154 yards. Those two combined nearly had 400 yards of rushing against that Middleton defense.
The Pirates non-conference action closed out against Notre Dame, a division three squad who also holds a 1-2 record. As expected, Bay Port defeated Nore Dame soundly, 24-3. The night for Blake Buchinger was very, very quiet. While he carried the ball 14 times, he only had 33 yards to show for it. On the opposite end of the spectrum, Cole Benson had only seven completions, but they resulted in 178 passing yards. Again, Benson had two touchdowns with an interception. After 15 carries, Benson just surpassed the 100 rushing yard mark as he finished with 103.
What has yet to been discussed is the receiving threats. In the 24-3 blowout, Brett Shipley had over 100 receiving yards on just two receptions. In week one, Shipley had five catches for just 26 yards. Carter Kallies seems to be the other big receiving threat as he has a total of five receptions and 50+ yards in each of the first two games.
FRCC-North Action Begins
Things got ugly when Bay Port headed to Green Bay Preble. The Pirates had a 41-0 lead at the half, but their statistics won’t blow anyone away. Cole Benson was a minimal three for four, however two of those three receptions were caught for touchdowns, and those three receptions totaled 98 yards. He was shut down in the rushing game as for the first time all season he finished with less than 100 yards. Benson’s nine carries led the team, however his 48 yards on the ground was nothing compared to the coming out party for Jackson Gegare. Gegare had sox carries for 86 yards, 16 more yards than Blake Buchinger finished with.
Pulaski didn’t have an easy matchup in week one of conference action. They were matched up against De Pere, a team that was 9-2 last season and lost in Level 2 of the playoffs 43-42 in overtime. De Pere was able to host that game, but a failed two-point conversion led to their one-point loss. This season though? De Pere is sitting at 0-3. Pulaski has handed them one of their three losses, and it came in a close 24-18 battle.
The Red Raiders were ahead 17-6 through three quarters, but a late rally from De Pere made things interesting. Similar to Benson and Buchinger, Pulaski has a 1-2 punch of their own. Logan Shultz, starting quarterback, went a perfect 5-5 against De Pere with 70 yards. Simple but efficient. He ran the ball 18 times for a total of 89 yards, but Maverick Cole was the star of the show. Cole finished with an astonishing three touchdowns on 23 carries for 153 yards.
Pulaski’s Road to 3-0
The De Pere game put Pulaski at a perfect 3-0 record, but how did their first two games go in relation to Bay Port? Pulaski has been in much closer games, including one against Notre Dame. It’s always interesting to compare teams (especially in football) who shared a joint opponent. Granted, it was Pulaski’s first game of the year, so who knows how that rematch would go if it happened again later in the season.
Pulaski had a touchdown in the first and final quarter against Notre Dame, a sound 14-0 win in week one. It was not a week won in the air as Logan Shultz was only 2 for 6 with 12 yards and an interception. Not great, but thankfully he made up for it with his legs via 17 carries for 95 yards. He finished three yards shy of Jacob Doxtater who exploded with six carries for 98 yards. Maverick Cole jumped in on the action with 15 carries for 55 yards.
Then, the 2-0 record was established after a five-point win over another Division 2 squad, Hortonville. Logan Shultz did a bit more in the passing game, finishing nine for 15 for 94 yards and a touchdown and interception each. In a complete 180 from week one, it was a quiet night on the ground for the Red Raiders. Shultz only finished with 39 yards while Maverick Cole had 71. At the end of the day, Pulaski will take the 21-16 win, especially when their leading rusher only had 71 yards.
The Head Coach Battle
Another interesting aspect about this match-up is the head coach battle. Gary Westerman, current Bay Port head coach, got his first head coach job at Pulaski back in 2011. It was only a short stint with the Red Raiders, but it makes this game mean that much more to not only him, but his students that are playing for him. Pulaski’s head coach, Jerad Marsh, is also well aware of this and will be playing with a chip on his shoulder.
Past Five Meetings (Bay Port Leads 4-1)
September 24, 2021: Bay Port def. Pulaski 14-0
April 30, 2021: Pulaski def. Bay Port 42-20
October 28. 2019: Bay Port def. Pulaski 42-0
September 14, 2018: Bay Port def. Pulaski 28-0
September 15, 2017: Bay Port def. Pulaski 48-27
Other than Pulaski’s win in the modified 2020 season, Pulaski hasn’t defeated Bay Port since September 2, 2011 (17-3)
Key’s To Victory
There’s a lot to love about this Bay Port team as they’ve outscored their opponents 79-3 in the past two games. It’s a very balanced offense that has put up seven passing touchdowns and eight rushing touchdowns. Pulaski is going to have to stay strong in the secondary while also not dropping too far back. If Cole Bensen finds a hole, he’s going to take it.
Pulaski is a bit more of a mystery in terms of the passing game. Logan Shultz showed last week against De Pere that he can be a patient and efficient quarterback. Don’t expect the Red Raiders to throw the ball 20 times for 200 yards, they’ve yet to surpass that mark through three games. The great part about Pulaski is they have three running backs with over 100 yards. While Doxtater hasn’t exploded since week one, he’s due, and could easily become an X factor in this Friday’s matchup. The same could also be said about Jackson Gegare for Bay Port. Both of these teams have elite RB3’s that could be big time difference makers.
Something that Pulaski needs to try and prepare for is the combo of Bensen and Buchinger. Both men have 44 carries, however, Benson has 107 more yards. It’s easier said than done, but if Pulaski is able to shut those two down and make them not a factor in the ground game, this matchup easily favors the Red Raiders. Bay Port will definitely be keeping a close eye on Maverick Cole. Cole has three less carries than Shultz yet he still has 56 more rushing yards than him.
September 9th, 2022
This Friday, I will be at Bay Port high school covering this big-time game! Under the lights, great weather expected, it doesn’t get any better than this. Two undefeated teams colliding in their second conference game of the year. There are still some kinks to be worked out on both sides of the ball, but the season is nearing the halfway point so this could be a huge game in the long run, depending on how the conference unfolds.
For More Great Wisconsin Sports Content
Follow me on Twitter at @JordonLaw_PxP and follow @WiSportsHeroics as well for more great Wisconsin sports content! To keep up to date on the latest in Wisconsin Sports, click here! For some awesome Wisconsin Sports Heroics gear, check out our merch store!