Whitefish Bay turned a tightly-contested first round playoff match with Bradley Tech into a rout with a dominating, devastating running game, ultimately emerging, 58-24.
Senior running back Dee Brown led the attack, piling up 243 yard and six touchdowns on 18 carries, with Milwaukee Public School Superintendent Gregory Thornton on hand at historic South Stadium.
“Our cross block was effective,” Brown said. “It was working, and they couldn’t stop it.
“It felt good,” he said. “I’ve never scored more than a touchdown or two. I believed I could have a game like this, but I needed a coach who would give it to me and a line that can block like that.”
“He (Brown) came out to play,” said Jim Tietjen, Whitefish Bay’s coach. “But I’ve also seen him play better. I’m never one to say: ‘That was the best’. Still, running that trap, behind that line? It worked well for us.”
Whitefish Bay junior Rashadeem Gray added 64 yards on 7 carries. The silver and blue’s other backs - juniors Jordan Johnson and Julian Posey, plus sophomore Turner DeMuth – combined for an additional 20 carries, 90 yards and a touchdown.
“Give some credit to the blockers.,” Tietjen said. "(Junior tackles) Quentin Dismukes and Will Shanley, guards Jacob Carlson (junior) and Ryan Drews (senior) plus center Graydon Peterson (junior). Both tight ends – (juniors) Jackson Weber and Alec Monaghan. They got it done.”
Despite the dominant run performance, Tech proved resilient and refused to go quietly.
With 5:45 remaining in the first half, the Trojans trailed, 16-6. The team was attempting a two-point conversion that would move it within just one score.
The Trojans had just broken off the game’s most exciting play. Tech faced a 2nd & 25 from its own 4 yard line – courtesy of a wave of penalties -- when senior quarterback Marquan Ellison picked up a key block and turned on the afterburners. When he hit pay dirt 96 yards later, no defender was within 15 yards.
On the ensuing kickoff, Tech junior Justin Davis fell on a loose ball that squibbed off a return man.
But within two minutes and five plays, Whitefish Bay reasserted itself and regained momentum.
First the Blue Dukes defense forced Tech into a 4th-and-7 at midfield, then swarmed Ellison, who scrambled for his life and lost 26 yards.
Gray promptly ripped off a 24-yard run. Brown followed with a powerful plow through the line for his third touchdown of the half.
After a long Tech return and short gain on first down, junior Jackson Weber intercepted an Ellison pass and weaved his way for a pick-six. Suddenly, Whitefish Bay led, 30-6.
The third quarter featured an even wilder back-and-forth flurry.
On the second half’s first play from scrimmage, Brown took a handoff up the middle, cut twice and raced 56 yards for a touchdown.
Tech triple-lateraled the kickoff return. The ball ended up in the hands of Ellison, who took it 70 yards for the score.
Whitefish Bay needed only five rushing plays to answer back. The last carry was a 4-yard burst up the middle by Brown.
Then it was Tech’s turn. Ellison followed a short quarterback keeper with a screen to Marcus Horne, who went 60 yards for his first touchdown. He finished the game with a hard-earned 90 yards on 20 carries.
Tech then forced a fumble and added its final score with another Ellison keeper, making it 44-24. But the combination of Whitefish Bay’s powerful run game and stout defense ultimately proved too much.
Brown boosted the Dukes' lead with 4:00 remaining in the third quarter on a 1-yard plunge, his third touchdown in the first 8:00 of the second half.
Whitefish Bay’s defense then forced a Tech punt and turnover on downs.
Its final drive was a 45-yard, 16-play glacier-crawl down the field that consumed more than nine minutes. The drive featured a new quarterback, four different running backs, tottered on four 4th and 1 attempts and resulted in a touchdown by Johnson.
“Our offense came out and moved the ball,” Tietjen said. “We made some mistakes, but they’re things we can correct. Right now, we’re savoring the win and looking forward to the next game.”
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