Blue Dukes Outlast Blackhawks, 42 – 40

Brady Weas

Brady Weas pressured Grafton’s QB all night and contributed at least 10 tackles and two big sacks late in the game.

Photo: Brad Caspari | Full Photo Gallery

The Blue Dukes outlasted a determined Grafton squad 42-40 to tally their sixth win of the regular season. It was senior night at Lubar Field and the class of 2017 was recognized along with their parents during a halftime ceremony.

Shaky Start

In the first five plays of the game the defense forced a quick three and out, followed by Bo Bassindale running the first offensive play 22 yards through a gap in the Grafton defense. Unfortunately, the Blackhawks intercepted the ensuing pass taking control at their own 9-yard line, proceeding to crank out a 12 play 91-yard touchdown drive for the early 6-0 lead. Both teams would exchange a couple of short possessions for the balance of the first quarter.

Big Second Quarter

The Dukes found their groove in the second quarter scoring on four straight possessions. The first one started with a 14-yard completion to Alex Anthony, followed by two runs by sophomore fullback Patrick Nau for another 14 yards. Anthony grabbed another catch for 10 yards before Bassindale ran 15 yards to the 2-yard line where Nau would take his turn carrying the ball into the end zone for the score. Cade Garcia added the extra point to take the lead 7-6 about 1 minute into the second quarter. Grafton stormed right back into the lead when they returned the following kickoff for a 92-yard touchdown, 13-7. Bay answered with a 4 play 75-yard drive that started with Garcia finding Chris Caspari behind the secondary and connecting for a 35-yard completion. Bassindale and Nau rattled off two good runs before Bassindale followed Carson Kimple around the right end and raced the final 18 yards for the touchdown. Zach Lichosik’s extra point made the score 14-13. After forcing it’s fourth three and out of the game, the Blue Dukes began a 14 play 57-yard drive highlighted by a couple of completions to Anthony, a 17 yard reception by Michael Kirkendoll, and a pass to Bassindale. Nau capped the drive with a 1-yard dive, his second touchdown of the quarter. Nau had 21 carries for 54 yards on the night adding the fullback dimension that has long been a big part of the Whitefish Bay football program. The Dukes completed their second quarter outburst with a 7 play drive to end the half. Garcia threw to Anthony who ran 36 yards to the 9-yard line. With just three seconds left in the half, Garcia connected with Bassindale who was wide open and easily walked into the end zone. Lichosik’s kick sent Bay into the locker room with a 28-13 lead.

Blackhawks Dig In

Whitefish Bay started the third quarter with Michael Kirkendoll taking the kickoff behind some big blocks, gliding and spinning 40 yards up the sideline into Blackhawk territory. Bassindale showed some fancy footwork of his own, weaving his way 26 yards to the Grafton 16 yard line. From there, it was Nau and Kirkendoll sharing the ball-carrying duties to reach the 1-yard line, but the Blackhawks defense held tough and forced a turnover on downs. Grafton put together a 14-play drive, helped by several Blue Duke penalties which extended the drive deep into the red zone. The Dukes defense took advantage of a botched hand-off and defensive end Brady Weas came out of the pile with the pigskin giving the Dukes the ball back on their 8-yard line. Garcia attempted to hit Bassindale over the middle but a referee stepped in the way allowing a Blackhawk defender an easy pick six, turning the tables and closing the gap to 28-20 with just over three minutes in the third quarter.

2016 Grafton Win

The Blue Dukes victory over Grafton earned them a home field appearance against South Milwaukee for the playoffs.

Photo: Brad Caspari | Full Photo Gallery
 

Contest Turns into a Track Meet

The Dukes came storming back as Garcia connected with Kirkendoll for 30, and Anthony for 13 more. Garcia would go to Kirkendoll again and again, with the second pass completing the drive for a 10-yard touchdown. Kirkendoll had 5 receptions for 89 yards on the evening. Anthony added 6 catches for 81 yards. Lichosik was good on the extra point and Bay’s lead grew to 35-20. Grafton proved they were not going to give up and took just five plays to drive 69 yards for their own score, using a 44-yard touchdown run right up the gut to close the gap to 35-27. Things looked even worse when the Blackhawks intercepted a pass early in the fourth quarter and returned it to the Bay 34-yard line. Stunned by the quick turn of events, the defense allowed a repeat performance by the Grafton running back who on the first play of this possession, ran straight up field for a 34-yard touchdown. Grafton tried going for a two-point conversion and a possible tie, but Kimple and company stopped them in their tracks. Bay maintained a slim lead of 35-33.

Bay was looking for some fourth quarter magic, having turned over the ball on three of the last four possessions. The Blue Dukes found it when on the second play from scrimmage, Bassindale took the ball up the middle and then broke for the sideline, blowing by several Blackhawks along the way, sprinting 69 yards for his third touchdown of the night and a 42-33 Bay lead. Grafton responded with a 70-yard pass completion, and three plays later scored on a half-back pass to make things tight once again at 42-40.

Game Over

The Dukes tried to burn the clock with a 10 play, mostly running drive but were stopped short. Kirkendoll then intercepted a long pass attempt to give Bay yet another chance at extending its lead, but this time the Dukes would go three and out. Grafton attempted to make their comeback complete but were stopped by a Weas quarterback sack and a beautifully defended ball by Kimple. Each team would get one more possession but both defenses held their ground, giving the Dukes the win.

The Blue Dukes begin their 2016 playoff run as a second seed in the Division 2 “D” grouping, starting with a home game on Oct. 21 at 7:00 p.m. against the South Milwaukee Rockets of the Woodlands Conference.

Dukes of the Game

Our Dukes of the Game are Bo Bassindale on offense for carrying the ball 17 times for 171 yards, and on defense Brady Weas for pressuring Grafton’s QB for the entire game and coming up with key sacks.

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