Bay Port’s toughest challenge of the season came this Friday against West De Pere. Both teams came into the matchup undefeated, but only one could remain with a perfect record and come out as the FRCC North Conference Champions.
The two teams came into the matchup with very different offenses. West De Pere loves to throw the ball while Bay Port didn’t throw a single pass in the first half. Duke Shovald, quarterback for West De Pere, nearly threw the ball three times as many as Cole Bensen. Thankfully for Bay Port, Cole Bensen is one of the most explosive rushers in the entire state.
Bay Port jumped out to a 14-0 lead right away in the first quarter. West De Pere continued to fight, but they found themselves down 28-17 at the half. A scoreless third quarter for the Pirates shortened their lead to 28-24 heading into the final twelve minutes of play.
Less than ninety seconds into the final quarter, Cole Bensen rushed for his fifth touchdown of the night. Yes, Cole Benson had a total of five rushing touchdowns. A field goal later for West De Pere didn’t do the trick as the final score saw Bay Port come out on top, 34-27.
The Cole Bensen Show
While Bensen might have only been 6 for 10 in the air with 80 yards and an INT, his running game was more than impressive. Bensen finished with an astonishing 33 carries for 213 yards and 5 touchdowns. To put it into perspective, Bensen only has 58 completed passes on the year. Bensen is 58 for 101 with 1001 yards and a 13 to 5 TD to INT ratio. In one game, Bensen ran for over half of the number completions he’s thrown on the season.
Last season, Bensen finished with 975 yards on the ground with 144 attempts. This season has similar numbers as he finished with 1092 yards on 151 attempts. The big difference is the number of touchdowns and fumbles. On the ground, Bensen hasn’t fumbled all year. Add on the fact that he has 10 more touchdowns this year than he did last, and it doesn’t take long to realize how much of a threat he is.
Blake Buchinger was held to just 3.1 yards per carry against West De Pere. On the season, Buchinger is the clear top back behind Bensen. While he has roughly three hundred less yards and fifteen less touchdowns, don’t let that fool you. Blake Buchinger has rushed for 66+ yards in seven of the nine games this season. On top of that, Buchinger has three games with 130+ yards. It’s hard enough to prepare for Cole Bensen but adding in Blake Buchinger makes things that much harder.
Defensively, Josiah Azure is as good as it gets. He’s six tackles shy of 100 on the season and easily leads the team with eight sacks. Azure is the only Pirate with more than 20 tackles for loss, and he also has two forced fumbles. AJ Courchaine leads the team with three forced fumbles on the season while Mason Clark has two interceptions, the only two on the team.
Rematch vs. De Pere
This Friday, October 21st, De Pere will head to Bay Port High School. Earlier this year, Bay Port soundly defeated De Pere on their home field, 42-14. That game took place just two weeks ago, so these two teams will be playing each other twice in the span of three weeks.
De Pere comes in with a 4-5 overall record. The Redbirds were 4-3 in conference, and they’re coming off of a 35-28 win over Ashwaubenon. De Pere has won two of their last three, which is an impressive mark seeing as they started the season 0-3.
Back on October 7th, Bay Port led 34-7 at the half. The Pirates only scored eight points in the second half but scoring zero would’ve been good enough. It was another five-touchdown night for Cole Bensen, but this time, two of those five came in the air. Bensen was just 6 for 8 with 123 yards and 2 touchdowns. He also led the team with 17 carries for 195 yards and 3 touchdowns. It’s safe to say that if De Pere can’t find any answers to Cole Bensen, it’s going to be another long night.
The Redbirds have their own version of Cole Bensen, and that’s Easton Arendt. Arendt is the team’s quarterback and also leads the way in rushing. He’s thrown the ball about 50 more times than Bensen, but his TD to INT ratio is 9:8. De Pere needs to take care of the ball if they want to upset the Pirates. On the ground, Arendt is six carries shy of 100 and has 463 yards with 10 touchdowns. Again though, Arendt has fumbled the ball three times.
Two other names to look out for share the same last name. Devin and Lucas Koskey have over 50 carries and over 290 yards each. Between the Koskey’s and Arendt, De Pere has themselves a solid run game. Hayden May is the clear favorite target of Arendt in the air as he’s hauled in a team leading 29 receptions (ten more than Grant Hohol), 333 yards, and four touchdowns. Grant Hohol and Noah Gehin are the other receiving threats with over 10 receptions and 100 yards on the season.
Revenge on the Mind
While these two teams are 2-2 in their last four meetings, De Pere wants revenge from the 2018 playoffs. Back on October 19th, 2018, Bay Port shut out De Pere in the first round, 49-0. A huge 28-point second quarter boosted Bay Port to an easy victory, and it’s one that De Pere has in the back of their mind.
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