Pulaski football team goes down to Bay Port

Bay Port’s run game too much for Red Raiders
Luke Reimer

The Pulaski Red Raiders football team traveled to Bay Port, where the team fell 23-7 in a Fox River Classic Conference matchup on Sept. 9 in Suamico.

Coming into the game, Pulaski was ranked No. 3 in Division 2, while Bay Port was ranked No. 4 in Division 1. The game initially lived up to the hype, as the first score of the game came with 7:44 left in the second quarter.

Bay Port controlled the majority of the game, using its run game to combine for 209 yards, with senior quarterback Cole Benson leading the way for the Pirates with 93 yards and two touchdowns.

On Pulaski’s side of the ball, head coach Jerad Marsh said that 95% of the time, the Red Raiders want to run the ball. In this game, the Red Raiders combined for 127 yards, with senior running back Maverick Cole leading the way with 61 yards.

Pulaski’s lone score came late in the fourth quarter, when junior quarterback Logan Shultz connected with senior tight end Zach Przybylski on a 50-yard tight end throwback pass.

“None of us ever gave up in the game,” said Cole. “We just didn’t make it happen tonight. Our defense played well, but our offense is still working.”

Four of Bay Port’s first seven plays came from Benson’s legs. On a third-and-8, Pulaski stuffed running back Blake Buchinger to set up a fourth-and-long. From there, Benson’s pass landed incomplete and Pulaski took over on its own 18-yard line.

The drive started hot for the Red Raiders, as Shultz, Cole and senior split end Jacob Doxtator combined for 12 rushing yards on the first three plays. A face mask added another 15 yards to Doxtator’s run.

The drive eventually stalled at the Bay Port 12-yard line on an incomplete pass on fourth down. Starting from that spot, Bay Port marched down the field on the backs of Benson and Buchinger accounting for 63 yards. The drive ended with Benson converting a 1-yard touchdown rush.

On Pulaski’s subsequent drive, the Red Raiders’ started at their own 20-yard line. A quick three-and-out led Pulaski to punt. On the punt, a Bay Port defender tipped the ball and the punt netted one yard.

With Bay Port taking over at Pulaski’s 21-yard line, a quick five-play drive led to Benson’s second rushing touchdown of the game. This time, it was a 5-yard rushing touchdown to the right pylon with 2:37 left in the second half.

Scoring stalled for 12 in-game minutes, before Benson connected with senior wide receiver Brett Shipley on a wheel route for a 24-yard touchdown to go up 21-0.

Pulaski’s next possession ended with a snap that went over The Red Raiders punter’s head, resulting in a safety.

Pulaski responded by stopping the Pirates on fourth down on the subsequent drive. Przybylski’s touchdown shortly followed and a back and forth of running the football ended the game at 23-7.

“With a win or loss, you have to keep getting better,” said Cole, on how Pulaski uses this game to get better. “This is just motivation for us.”

With a majority of the game being kept on the ground with runs, Marsh said that this game was similar to games that the he has coached in in the past.

“These have been very fun, physical games over the last handful of years that I have been a part of it,” said Marsh. “We try our darnedest to try and scrap with them, and we do.”

Speaking about the game, Marsh said that a game like this, win or loss, always improves the team.

“We will never take a loss as a negative,” said Marsh. “There is so much to learn from a game like this. Are we going to see a team like this in the playoffs? A team like this prepares us pretty good.”

He added that against a team like Bay Port, Pulaski needs to play perfect in all three aspects of the game.

“We are built on ball control, defense and special teams, now today, we didn’t win the special teams battle,” said Marsh. “That hurts us, we need to be perfect to beat a team like Bay Port.”

Pulaski 0 0 0 7 — 7

Bay Port 0 14 9 0 — 23

Second quarter

B: Cole Benson 1-yard run (Owen Bellisle kick), 7:44

B: Benson 6-yard run (Bellisle kick), 2:37

Third quarter

B: Brett Shipley 24-yard pass from Benson (Bellisle kick), 2:16

B: Safety, snap out of end zone, 1:38

Fourth quarter

P: Zach Przybylski 50-yard pass from Logan Shultz (Sam Murphy kick), 6:11