What started out as a tight 4-point lead at halftime soon led to a Whitefish Bay offensive onslaught that ended in a 28-3 victory over Brookfield Central in the second round of the WIAA Divsion 2 football playoffs.
Scoring was slow in the first half of the Saturday afternoon game, with a field goal by Brookfield Central on their first possession and a 19-yard touchdown run by Whitefish Bay's Rashadeem Gray in the second quarter.
Then in the third quarter, momentum really swung in the Blue Dukes' favor, when Whitefish Bay quarterback Grant Menard connected with backup receiver Ian Buchanan for a 40-yard pass on third and 8 that brought them within 10 yards of the goal line. Jeremiah Holt ran the ball in on the following play.
"That was a game changer," Menard reflected after the game. "It was 7-3 at the time, and we scored the next play (after the 40-yard pass). It was over after that. I couldn't be more proud of the effort we gave and the heart we had the entire game."
Gray, who ran for a total of 137 yards, brought the score to 21-3 after a 26-yard run that brought the home crowd to its feet early in the fourth quarter. Later on, with just five minutes remaining in the game, Menard connected with Jackson Weber for a short pass in the end zone to bring the final score to 28-3.
Now the Blue Dukes (10-1) advance to the third round of the playoffs for the second straight year.
Whitefish Bay, the second seed in its bracket, will face off against top-seeded Brookfield East at 7 p.m. Friday at Brookfield East.
Whitefish Bay beat Brookfield East last year, and this year Brookfield East is undefeated, with 11 wins. Tietjen said his team has big hopes in this year's playoffs, but his philosophy is to take one game at a time.
"It's going to be a heck of a ball game," he said.