Clutch offense, defense in 4th quarter lift Pirates past Lutheran in football thriller
Call it a flip-flop, turnaround or reversal of fortune.
The Port Washington Pirates are simply calling it a football victory, one of those heart-stopping varieties that takes players, coaches and spectators on enough roller-coaster twists to last a season.
In the end, host Port escaped with a 28-27 win over Milwaukee Lutheran in a North Shore Conference game that wasn’t decided until the final minutes.
Overcoming a nightmarish second quarter in which they surrendered 27 points, the Pirates prevailed in their league opener with a combination of clutch offensive and defensive plays, including the winning drive in the final three minutes.
Lutheran had a 27-20 lead and the ball at its 9-yard line after recovering a Port fumble with just over four minutes left. But three plays later, the Red Knights returned the favor when running back Tyrese Luckett fumbled, and Port’s Justin Wicke fell on the ball at the Lutheran 29 with 3:18 to go.
The Pirates wasted little time cashing in. On second-and-11, quarterback Tanner Orten fired a pass to Jacob Lippe, who outleaped a defender for a catch that gave Port a first-and-goal at the 3.
After averting disaster by recovering a fumbled exchange, the Pirates reached the end zone on Orten’s 3-yard keeper and pulled within 27-26 with 1:38 left.
A timeout ensued, during which Port coach John Bunyan opted for a do-or-die, two-point try. Fullback Matt Ruppel came through, slicing his way into the right side of the end zone for the winning conversion.
“We had problems all week with our kicking game and knew we would go for two,” Bunyan said. “It was just a matter of what play to call.”