For the first time in nearly two decades, the Whitefish Bay Blue Dukes can call themselves North Shore Conference champs.
With a 44-0 victory over Nicolet High School Friday night, the Blue Dukes were named conference co-champions – tying with Homestead, which the Blue Dukes beat last week.
Now, the Blue Dukes advance to the playoffs. Although Whitefish Bay and Homestead are technically tied as far as the North Shore Conference is concerned, the Blue Dukes' win over the Highlanders will be factored into the playoff bracket, which has not yet been drafted.
Whitefish Bay's quarterback, senior Grant Menard, said most of the players on the team have been playing together since 5th grade, and the conference championship embodies all of the hard work they have put in over the years.
"It's a dream come true," he said.
Bay coach Jim Tietjen said the conference championship is just the beginning of what he hopes will be a long playoff road that ends in the championship game in Madison.
"Every game we've got to be ready to go," Tietjen said. "We're a good team. We've got a lot of tools, a lot of weapons."
Rashadeem Gray, who scored three touchdowns in Friday night's game, said he also sees Bay going far in the playoffs.
"We hope to go deep into the playoffs, and hopefully we see Waunakee in the state finals and pull off the upset," he said.
Although Bay's offense has an abundance of talent in Gray, Menard and Jackson Weber, the Blue Dukes also have a rock-solid defense, as was seen in the shut-out against Nicolet Friday night.
"Our success this year has come from the heart of the defense," said Menard. "The offense has had its special moments, but the amount of success this defense has had is really what fuels this team."