Homestead Tops Bay, 29 – 12

Tommy Brunner

Tommy Brunner was frustrated all night, first with a completion called back for unsportsmanlike conduct, and then with a pass interference penalty late in the game.

Photo: Brad Caspari | Full Photo Gallery

The Homestead Highlanders captured their 15th straight North Shore Conference crown with a 29 -12 victory over Whitefish Bay. Homestead’s conference record is now 99-5 over that fifteen year period, demonstrating the dominance that Coach Keel’s team has over the rest of the conference. Last year’s state champions proved that they will be tough to beat again this year, but not before the Blue Dukes gave them a real battle for most of the contest.

Title Fight

The Blue Dukes started the evening with a short three and out. The teams spent the first quarter exchanging long possessions with Homestead driving 13 plays before stalling on the Bay 24-yard line. The Dukes countered with a 14-play drive of their own, before Homestead regained possession of the pigskin at their own 33-yard line. Bay’s defense stiffened and Homestead was forced to punt. The Highlander punter shanked the punt out-of-bounds and the Blue Dukes had a first-and-ten at the Homestead 34-yard line. Now it was the Homestead defense’s turn to deny the Dukes, giving only 4 yards of territory in four plays. The contest was shaping up to be a real title fight, with the game still scoreless midway through the second quarter.

A bad snap pushed the Highlanders back to their 19-yard line, where on a second and 21, the Homestead quarterback took off up the middle for a 20-yard gain in what would turn out to be an oft-repeated play the rest of the evening. Three plays later, Bay would be called for a questionable pass interference call, moving the ball into Blue Dukes territory. Later, Homestead completed their 7-play drive with a 35-yard TD run, and by converting the two point attempt, took an 8-0 lead.

Bay Strikes Back

The Dukes were ineffective on the ensuing series and punted the ball back to Homestead. On the first play of the next possession, Carson Kimple hit the running back, forcing a fumble that was recovered by Case Fleck. Bo Bassindale began the next series with a strong run, but the Dukes got pushed back for taking too much time to send in the next play.  Cade Garcia completed a long pass to a diving Tommy Brunner, but an unsportsmanlike penalty for shoving after the play brought the ball back 15 yards to the 28-yard line. Garcia attempted to connect with Brunner again, and yet another flag was dropped. It looked like another pass interference penalty; the surprise to all was that the call was for offensive interference, taking the Dukes all the way back to the 42-yard line. But from there, Garcia would throw three straight completions to Michael Kirkendoll, the final one for 21 yards and a touchdown with just over a minute in the half. However, instead of riding the hot hand of Garcia to go for the two-point conversion and the tie, the Dukes attempted the traditional extra point kick. The ball was driven straight into the back of the line and the Blue Dukes would go into halftime behind 8-6.

Homestead began the second half with six consecutive runs and on their first pass attempt, David Thompson intercepted the ball returning it 15 yards to the Bay 48-yard line. Alex Anthony who was doubled-covered all night, worked his way open and Garcia found him for a pass to the Highlander 39. Successive runs by Kirkendoll and Bassindale moved the ball to the 25-yard line. Garcia took a couple of shots at Anthony without success.  He then completed a pass over the middle to Bassindale for a first down at the 14. The Dukes would pick up another first down inside the 2-yard line after runs by Kirkendoll and Bassindale. Garcia tried to sneak it in but was stopped, then tried to pass it in, but was a bit long. The offense tried Kirkendoll again around the left side but disappointment awaited as a defender punched the ball loose, and a Highlander recovery crushed Bay’s drive.

Hawig/Riley

Jacob Hawig (85) Jordan Riley (79) battle against Homestead.

Photo: Brad Caspari | Full Photo Gallery


The Momentum Shifts

Homestead quickly capitalized on the opportunity, taking just five plays to cover the 85 yards needed to score again. In the blink of an eye, the Dukes went from a possible 12-8 lead, to trailing 15-6 with just minutes remaining in the third quarter.

The Blue Dukes came roaring back with pass completions to Anthony for 7 yards and Brunner for 21 yards. Bassindale found a gap, picking up 9 yards and the Dukes were on their way. Garcia flipped the ball to Kirkendoll on a reverse, who heaved a beautiful pass to Anthony for what surely would have been a touchdown, but the Homestead defender, realizing he was beat, decided to tackle Anthony and take the pass interference call instead of Coach Keel’s wrath.  So instead of six points, the Dukes had to settle for 15 yards which only moved Bay to the Homestead 22-yard line. Garcia, who was under heavy pressure all night, proceeded to pick the Homestead secondary apart, completing passes to Bassindale and Anthony, however penalties erased both gains. On third down, Garcia hit Anthony on a slant to advance the ball to the 15-yard line. Facing a fourth and three, the Dukes had the choice of going for the first down, or going for the field goal. Their decision proved disastrous when the kick sailed wide to the left, leaving the Dukes behind, 15-6.

Homestead sensed blood in the water and decided to use as much clock as possible, putting together a nine-play drive consisting almost entirely of runs. The Highlanders ran the ball 46 times on the evening for a total of 360 yards, capping the drive when their quarterback split the defense and wove his way 37 yards for the touchdown and a 22-6 lead.

Last Chance

Whitefish Bay came back with an 80-yard drive of their own, starting with a pass to Bassindale who sprinted down the east sideline to the Homestead 42. Garcia then threw to Anthony who moved the ball to the 28. Patrick Nau picked up a few yards on the ground before Anthony hauled in another pass. Nau found a crease and added several more to advance the ball to the 11. From there it was Garcia to Anthony again, this time for the touchdown, making the score 22-12, with about 3 minutes remaining in the game.

Bay tried an unsuccessful on-side kick, and another penalty pushed the ball into the Dukes side of the field. As things tend to happen when the game is held in Mequon, a Highlander-friendly flag always seems to appear whenever the momentum shifts in Bay’s favor. Homestead’s quarterback took the second play of the series 41 yards straight up field for the dagger, giving the dark side a 29-12 victory.

Dukes of the Game

Even in defeat, the Dukes delivered exceptional performances, notably our Dukes of the Game George Beatty on offense and Tommy Brunner on defense.