A New Chapter Begins For WDP Football


Following back-to-back state championships, 3 straight D-3 title game appearances and a 28-0 record the last two years, a new chapter begins for the Phantoms football team.  And it begins with a new QB at the helm.

Matt DeBaker has enough pressure on him as a first-year starting quarterback for a two-time defending state champion.

That the West De Pere senior also has to replace the state’s best football player from last season makes this story a lot more interesting.

The Phantoms went 28-0 the last two seasons and won two WIAA Division 3 state championships. They had star quarterback Jay Tollefson on their side, which wasn’t always fair to the opponent lining up against them.

So now all eyes are squarely on the person expected to replace Tollefson, if that’s even possible. The thought of that was nerve-wracking at first, DeBaker will tell you. But as he has gotten more reps and practice time with his team, things feel more comfortable.

And includes some returning standouts to go with developing new talent:

It helps that he has some talented teammates coming along for the ride, including first-team all-conference offensive lineman Matt Bjork. The Phantoms also have some defensive standouts in senior linemen Brad Ambrosius and Tyler Pasterski.

There are more standout names that must be replaced than proven players to do it as this point, but the program has a way of developing new talent all the time.

The end result?  The Phantoms are once again considered the favorites in the Bay Conference.

Which is why it must be considered the favorite in what has become a very competitive Bay Conference. West De Pere hasn’t lost a league game since Week 1 in 2009, but teams such as Seymour, Marinette and Luxemburg-Casco are ready to give it a test.

“I think our expectations are higher because of the last few years,” Turnquist said. “I’m not sure if that’s unrealistic or not. We hope to do well, and we always talk about the other things that can come up, like the injuries.

“We are a target every week. The competition within the conference has improved. The competition to stay at the top is always tough. It’s tough to stay there.”

Best of luck to Phantoms this football season.


Blazers’ King living football dream

DaVonte King woke up with his left leg amputated.

It was October 2007, and everything about the day he lost his leg remains foggy for the Northeastern Wisconsin Lutheran junior.

A few weeks before finding himself at Children’s Hospital in Milwaukee, King was a normal teenager doing normal things.

He was an eighth-grader at Edison Middle School, playing football for the Allouez Buccaneers and beginning preparations for another soccer season with the Green Bay Lightning.

That’s when the pain in his calf started. It was an intense feeling he never felt before, one that wouldn’t go away, and it eventually landed him in a hospital room a few hours from home.

Once there, he underwent several surgeries to stop blood clotting in his leg after getting a staph infection known as MRSA, a bacterial infection highly resistant to some antibiotics.

He also had compartment syndrome, a condition in which increased pressure within a muscle compartment causes a decrease in blood supply to muscles.

King was 13 and too young to comprehend what was happening. He didn’t know anything about compartment syndrome and still doesn’t.

The only thing that mattered was the infection had cost him a leg and changed his life forever, although even that took time to realize.

“I don’t remember looking at my leg and going, ‘It’s gone,'” King said. “I don’t remember anything.”

Well, he does remember some things.

“Every day in the hospital, I would say, ‘Why? Why did this have to happen to me?'” King said. “And then I would pray. Another day I would just be like, ‘God, why did you do this to me? Why? Why me?

“But I realized that it’s whatever. I have to live with it for my life. I can do most of the things other kids can do my age.”

That includes playing football. (Source: Green Bay Press Gazette)

Go to the source to read the rest of this inspirational story.  Anything can happen when you place your trust in God.

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Making preparations for the Packers

Green Bay Packers logo
Image via Wikipedia

Training camp starts in less than ten days.

Dorm rooms at St. Norbert College in De Pere will be getting a makeover on Thursday with the arrival of 100 custom-made beds for the Green Bay Packers when they move in next week.

St. Norbert has hosted the Packers for 53 years, and school officials say it’s the longest relationship between a pro football team and a college in the NFL.

The college doesn’t host any on-field activities, but players receive all room and board, including meals and transportation to the team facility a little over three miles away.

The Packers start moving in July 30 and leave in the middle of August. (Source: Fox 11)

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Win it for Coach T

That’s the rallying cry for West DePere today in it’s Division 3 semifinal game.

Bill Turnquist, 63, has put in some long hours as West De Pere‘s coach the past 35 years, and it would be fitting for his Phantoms to be able to give him something back now.

Those who know him best would love to see Turnquist have an opportunity to coach at Camp Randall Stadium in Madison next week with a chance to win the program’s first state championship.

“More so for Coach Turnquist than for anything or anybody else, it would mean the world to him,” West De Pere defensive coordinator Jack Batten said. “He doesn’t need it to validate his career. I think what he has done for kids and the community stands by itself regardless of whether he wins a state championship or not. But I think for his own peace of mind, getting the final crown and winning the state championship would mean the world to him.”

Even if it happened, chances are Turnquist would downplay his role in the achievement, instead saying it’s the players and assistant coaches who make the Phantoms successful.

It would be Turnquist being Turnquist.

He’s humble, quiet, caring and hard-working. He’s passionate and intense about football. Perhaps most of all, he deeply cares about West De Pere High School.

“He is all of those things,” said Jodi Gibbons, the West De Pere activities secretary who has worked at the school for 32 years. “And very private. He is just a very private, humble man.”

So private that when some of his close friends are asked for the best Turnquist stories, most say there are none.  ( Source: West De Pere wants D3 state berth for Turnquist – GBPG)

Great article about a great coach and great person. Go read the whole thing.

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