Scott Venci, USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin
GREEN BAY – Nothing was going particularly right for the Bay Port football team Friday.
The Pirates entered a pivotal Fox River Classic Conference game at Green Bay Notre Dame without one of their best offensive players, and then found themselves down 14 points by the second quarter.
But that’s when quarterback Isaac Krause and the defense stepped up, and it’s when Bay Port proved it also could deal with some adversity after such a dominant start to the season.
The Pirates ended up winning 35-21, scoring 28 unanswered points to improve to 6-0 and extend their FRCC winning streak to 15 games. It’s just two shy of tying the record of 17 set by Ashwaubenon from 2012 to 2014.
REPLAY: Bay Port rallies past Notre Dame
Notre Dame dropped its first game of the season and lost for the sixth straight time in this series.
“We found a way to win when we weren’t very good and Notre Dame had our number early,” Bay Port coach Gary Westerman said. “We just found a way to get it done.”
Bay Port learned earlier in the day that it would not have big-play wide receiver Cordell Tinch, who caught 24 passes for 378 yards and five touchdowns in the first five games but was not at the field for this one. The administration does not comment on why student-athletes are not available for athletic contests.
Still, the game plan had to change on the fly. The Pirates’ formations and personnel groups were completely different, although Notre Dame did not change the way it was going to play Bay Port based on the absence.
“That’s life, man. That’s adversity,” Westerman said. “That’s just dealing with it. Our kids found a way. We had different kids in different spots they didn’t practice. They went and played football.”
It was the Tritons who played football early on.
They went up 7-0 with 6 minutes, 16 seconds left in the first quarter on a 32-yard screen pass from quarterback Wes Glime to running back Michael Gregoire, and after Bay Port tied the game on a 2-yard TD run from Krause, they came back to score two straight TDs.
Gregoire gave Notre Dame the lead again with a 1-yard TD run with 7:55 left in the half and extended it to 14 points on a 16-yard TD reception from Tommy Martzahl with 4:07 remaining.
That’s when Krause took over and helped shift the momentum to Bay Port.
On the first play of the ensuing drive, he had a spectacular 80-yard TD run to get the Pirates back to within a score entering halftime and start what turned out to be an impressive comeback.
Krause connected with Jacob Calawerts for a 30-yard TD that tied the score at 21 with 8:06 left in the third, then gave Bay Port its first lead of the game four minutes later on a 15-yard TD run.
Sophomore running back Isaiah Gash capped the scoring with a 5-yard run with just over 5 minutes left.
Bay Port’s defense did not let Notre Dame get much of anything going in the second half and limited the Tritons to 233 combined yards in the game while forcing three turnovers.
“Our defense stepped up,” said Krause, who rushed for 213 yards and passed for 115. “They played really well in the second half. We were down early. We were tied or down at half, and it showed how tough our team is and how much they really believe in us as a team and that we can come together and can win games even when we are down early.”
Notre Dame coach Michael Rader doesn’t believe in moral victories. But it was hard not to be impressed by a group that gave arguably the best team in the area all it could handle before tiring at the end.
“We thought we could play with them, and in the first half showed that we could,” Rader said. “We were hoping they’d have to play with us and I think we were able to do that for awhile.
“Toward the end of the game we had a couple kids dragging and stuff like that. Maybe from a numbers game we have to fight that battle. … that third quarter was a killer for us. We don’t get a first down and we can’t stop them. We were able to contain them for the most part.”
Bay Port 7 7 14 7 – 35
G.B. Notre Dame 7 14 0 0 – 21
ND – Michael Gregoire 32 pass from Wes Glime (Andrew Gruesen kick).
BP – Isaac Krause 2 run (Owen Miller kick).
ND – Gregoire 1 run (Gruesen kick).
ND – Tommy Martzahl 16 pass from Glime (Gruesen kick).
BP – Krause 80 run (Miller kick).
BP – Krause 15 run (Austin Heim kick).
BP – Isaiah Gash 5 run (Heim kick)
Rushing: ND: Gregoire 18-76-1; BP: Krause 27-213-3, Isaiah Gash 11-94-1.
Passing: ND: Glime 10-27-1-150; BP: Krause 8-16-2-115.
Receiving: ND: Gregoire 5-87; Jack Allen 3-43; BP: Jacob Calawerts 2-62; Jordan Bindas 3-40.
This report originally appeared on the Green Bay Press-Gazette website.