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.



Can the Phantoms make it 5 in a row?

The West De Pere football team finally advanced to a WIAA state title game for the first time in program

Image via Wisconsin High School Helmets (www.mghelmets.com)

history last season.

The Phantoms hope it was just the first step. Going back and winning a championship is the next one.

“I think it’s almost like we have to get back now,” senior linebacker Zak Rottier said. “It almost gives us more motivation that we can get there and knowing it’s possible.”

The Phantoms have a few other things to accomplish before they worry about a return to Madison.

They are seeking a fifth consecutive Bay Conference championship after becoming the first team in the league to ever win at least a share of four straight.

Like the past few years, they will enter the season with a target on their back in the nine-team Bay and will need a few new faces to step up if they want the streak to continue.

“We are going to try,” West De Pere coach Bill Turnquist said. “We have had four in a row. It’s tough getting four in a row. To get another one makes it more difficult, I think, to stay there. Everybody is after you. Somewhere along the line, maybe the ball won’t bounce your way. But we are hoping it does.” (Source: Green Bay Press Gazette)

The West De Pere football team has taken the tradition to a new level of success the last few years.  Should be an exciting year for the Phantoms and their fans.

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Phantoms quest for a trip to Madison continues …

with a Division 3 semi-final game against the Waupaca Comets THIS Saturday.


Image via Wisconsin High School Helmets (www.mghelmets.com)

When: 1:00 pm

Where: Kimberly High School

West De Pere has been in this position before, although it hopes the result will be different this time around. The Phantoms reached the semifinal round in 2004, only to lose a heartbreaker to Rice Lake 34-27 in overtime.

It’s a tough matchup this time against the defending state champs in Division 3.

The Phantoms will face a stiff challenge against the defending state champion Comets, who have won two of the last three state titles and have won 25 of their last 26 games.

Waupaca has had little difficulty this postseason, outscoring its three opponents 109-14. It includes a 49-7 win over Hayward/ Lac Courte Oreilles in a quarterfinal Saturday.

The Comets had the best defense in the Eastern Valley Conference, allowing just 8.8 points and 157.3 yards per game. Since a 26-7 loss to Ripon in Week 4, it has allowed 37 points over its last eight games and has allowed no more than nine points in any contest. It also has posted three shutouts during that span.

The Phantoms should have what it takes to counter the Comets so this will be a good game.  The key question is will the Phantoms be at full strength.

West De Pere coach Bill Turnquist said after a second-round win over Green Bay Notre Dame that the health of his team would be a big factor in this playoff run, and the focus shifts to the health of running back Beau Bellmore. The Bay Conference player of the year fought through injuries during the win over Notre Dame to rush for 316 yards on 39 carries, but he was limited to 15 carries in a quarterfinal win over Kewaskum and left in the third quarter. (Source: West De Pere faces defending champs – GBPG)

Should be a packed house for this one – see you there fellow Phantom alumni.



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Phantoms keep steamrolling, rolling, rolling

Last Friday it was another dominating victory in the Bay Conference, moving West DePere one step closer to history.  Star running back Beau Bellmore led the way again.

Image via Wisconsin High School Helmets (www.mghelmets.com)

Image via Wisconsin High School Helmets (www.mghelmets.com)

Beau Bellmore ran for 244 yards and four touchdowns as West De Pere maintained a share of first place in the Bay Conference with a victory over Hortonville.Mike Linssen threw for 131 yards and Travis Mason caught five passes for 86 yards for the Phantoms (7-1, 5-1). (Source: Football roundup, Green Bay Press-Gazette)

Up next: a Thursday night showdown with the Bulldogs of New London for a share of the Bay Conference crown.

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