Pirate legends return to guide future stars

Jake Lippe, Tyler Beach are among Port Washington alumni to help at inaugural camp
By 
MITCH MAERSCH
Ozaukee Press staff

Young Port Washington football players received some sage guidance from a couple of the Pirates’ all-time greats on Saturday.

The University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Tyler Beach and North Dakota State University’s Jake Lippe were back in town for the inaugural one-day All Hands on Deck Football Camp.

Their sizes are different — Lippe is a chiseled wide receiver and Beach is a stereotypical Badger offensive lineman behemoth — but their sentiments were the same.

“It was awesome. I literally drove in on Friday, so it was 8.5 hours,” Lippe said of his trip from Fargo, N.D.

“It’s just awesome to give back to the community just knowing that I was once one of these little kids.”

Beach echoed those thoughts.

“I just love giving back to this place because I know coach (John) Bunyan and even this high school gave a lot to me on my road to play college football,” he said.

Beach was able to bring some of his Badger buddies, mostly fellow linemen about as big as he is, which was made easier by the NCAA’s new name, image and likeness (NIL) policy that allows players to get paid for endorsements, appearances and other things.

“With the NIL stuff, it’s a lot easier to work camps now,” he said. “It makes it a lot more attractive. Guys were a lot more excited. We got some food and came down here without a worry of any NCAA thing.”

And Beach got to show off his alma mater.

“Being able to bring guys I’m friends with and show them where I’m from, especially just giving back to everybody, is just awesome. It’s a wonderful feeling,” he said.

Their old coach was thrilled.

“Oh, it’s awesome. It’s fun seeing Tyler again, from when he was in high school to now. He’s matured,” Bunyan said.

“Just to see these guys love football, give back, care about kids, care about football here at Port. It’s exciting.”

Bunyan titled the camp All Hands on Deck to invite as many alumni as want to come, “and if we can bring some of their teammates with like Tyler did — it makes for a great experience. It’s fun to see those first-graders who were out there with them.”

Only a select few, however, ever reach the stature of a Lippe or Beach.

“I know guys want to get to a certain level or whatever, but what matters is that you’re playing the game,” Bunyan said.

“If you enjoy the game, you keep playing and whatever level you land, you land. Because there’s great football at all different levels.”

The camp featured players from nationally ranked schools. North Dakota State won the national title in the NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision. Lippe’s younger brother Patrick will play at UW-Whitewater, which won the Division III championship last season, and the Badgers are perennial Big Ten title contenders. Beach started in a few bowl games, including the 2020 Rose Bowl.

Pair made their marks as Pirates

In high school, Lippe was a dominant force in all three facets of the game. As a senior in 2018, he was named North Shore Conference Offensive End of the Year, Defensive Back of the Year and Offensive Player of the Year. In the NSC, he caught 34 passes for 535 yards and seven touchdowns. He ran 62 times for 447 yards and four scores.

At safety and cornerback, he made 71 tackles and recovered a fumble.

He was also deadly on kick and punt returns, forcing opponents to angle kicks out of bounds. He returned 14 kicks for 571 yards (37.2 average) and three punts for 91 yards and a score.

Beach was a first-team all-state offensive lineman for the Pirates and didn’t allow a sack in three seasons as a starter.

Despite not playing a skilled position, he was named North Shore Conference Offensive Player of the Year in 2016. Pancakes were common finishes to Beach’s blocks, regardless of the opponent or if the play was a run or a pass.

He originally committed to Notre Dame before switching to Wisconsin.

Lippe has a tie to the green and gold

At North Dakota State, Lippe has made friends with some well-known names in the NFL. Quarterback Trey Lance was drafted third overall by the San Francisco 49ers last year, and this season fans of a more local pro football team will be interested in Lippe’s connection to one rookie.

The Green Bay Packers selected Lippe’s teammate, wide receiver Christian Watson, in the second round with the 34th overall pick in this year’s draft.

“He’s a dude. Super athletic, super fast, knows the game really well. He’s going to make a big impact for them,” Lippe said.

The Bison had a big draft watch party and celebrated when Watson was chosen.

“We’re super happy for him. At least the times I’ve talked to him, because he is one of my good friends, it seems like he is doing really well,” Lippe said.

Both had injury-plagued seasons

While Lippe was on a title-winning team last year, his role was cut short due to injury. He had a herniated disc in his back and missed most of the season.

This year, he hopes for an expanded role in the offense and wants to fight for a starting spot.

Beach was also injured last season. He had a bad ankle injury that required surgery before the season started and said he only practiced about a week and a half before the first game.

“The first couple of games were really rough,” he said.

It wasn’t until later in the season that Beach felt more comfortable. He came on strong and was chosen to the All-Big Ten third team.

Both said they’re looking forward to healthy productive seasons come fall.

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Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

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