By Robert Whitmire
The SPASH Panther Football caravan soon hits the road for a 7 PM showdown with Bay Port on Friday — a battle of the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds in Level 3 sectional play.
Bay Port Pirates, champions of the Fox River Classic conference, enter the contest with an 11-0 record including a 62-12 thumping of D.C. Everest last week in Level 2 play. SPASH brings a 10-1 record to the game fresh off a 41-27 win over Hudson.
The Pirates have outscored their opponents 459 to 168 on the season and are led by 6’ 1” 190-pound senior quarterback Quinn Pierner. Pierner has completed 125 of 160 passes on the season for a 78.1 completion average and rolled up 1928 total yards through the air with 22 touchdowns.
The multi-talented QB leads the team in rushing yards with 895 on 149 carries, 12 touchdowns, and a 6.0 yard per carry average.
Pierner’s favorite target through the air is Jordan Nolle, senior Wide Receiver, who has gathered in 40 receptions for 617 yards and nine touchdowns. C.J. Maternoski is also on Pierner’s radar hauling in 30 passes for 391 yards and a touchdown.
On the defensive side of the ball, senior Linebacker Matt Lorbeck has recorded 30 tackles, 82 assisted tackles and 7 quarterback sacks. Fellow defensive back Jacob Stelzer sits at 29 tackles and 70 assisted tackles.
Jake Weber is the Pirates’ top return man on punts and kickoffs. Weber has returned three punts for 83 yards and a touchdown. He has eight kickoff returns with an average of 32.5 yards per return.
Beau Rosenthal continues to lead the Panther attack under center, rolling up 1191 total yards, hitting 95 of 133 passes and throwing for 17 touchdowns.
Junior wide receiver Joey Hauser, standing at 6’6”, is the top target for Rosenthal with 24 receptions for 365 yards and seven touchdowns. Senior running back Gus Turner-Zick has been on the business end of four touchdown passes.
Turner-Zick has rolled up 1,422 total rushing yards on the season, including 304 yards vs. Hudson last week. He averages 7.1 yards per carry and has crossed the goal line 17 times. Junior running back Colton Kizewski has six touchdown carries for the Panthers. Defensively, senior Defensive Back Joey Roth, leads the charge with 68 total tackles.
The winner of the SPASH/Bay Port game will advance to play the winner of the Kimberly-Fond du Lac game to be played Friday night in Kimberly.
The Papermakers are the No. 1 seed in that bracket, with the Cardinals coming in as the No. 2 seed. Kimberly is coming off a 42-7 win over the No. 4 Appleton West, while Fond du Lac took care of Milwaukee King 38-6.
The winners of the Level 3 games will play each other for the right to advance to the WIAA state football championship at Camp Randall Stadium on Nov. 18 at 4 PM.