The tightrope act continued for the Port Washington football team in another close victory on Sept. 2 over Milwaukee Lutheran.
Quarterback Tanner Orten tallied on a 3-yard run and Matt Ruppel ran in for a two-point conversion to give the Pirates a thrilling 28-27 victory in the North Shore Conference opener.
All three of Port's games this season have gone down to the final minutes or extra minutes. The Pirates topped New Berlin West, 28-21, in overtime and then dropped a 21-14 decision to Kewaskum before the nail-biter over Lutheran.
"We're certainly learning how to compete with all these close games," coach John Bunyan said.
Bay is next
The Pirates will need to compete well in their next test, which comes at 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 9, at home against Whitefish Bay (2-1). The Blue Dukes looked sharp in downing Cedarburg, 35-3, last week behind 165 yards passing by quarterback Cade Garcia.
"We need to slow down their passing game," Bunyan said. "We need to control the time of possession, and we can do that with Ruppel."
The senior back continued his fine start to the season with 206 yards on 23 carries and a pair of touchdowns against Lutheran.
"He is hard to bring down, and he breaks a lot of tackles," Bunyan said of his star runner.
Port trailed 27-20 in the fourth quarter when defensive back Justin Wicke recovered a Lutheran fumble at the Red Knights' 27-yard line. The Pirates went downfield, and Orten plowed over from the 3 with about 2 minutes, 50 seconds left in the game.
Port went for two points and the lead, which Ruppel provided with his conversion.
Lutheran drove inside Port territory on its final possession but turned over the ball on downs at the Pirates' 40.
Wild second period
Ruppel got the scoring started with a 3-yard run in the first quarter, and then the two teams combined for 41 points in the second period.
After Lutheran tied it at 6-6, Orten passed 41 yards to Jacob Lippe for a touchdown and then ran for two points and a 14-6 lead.
The Knights tied it again at 14-14 before Ruppel broke loose for a 68-yard touchdown. The two-point conversion failed, leaving Port up 20-14.
Lutheran answered with two touchdowns to go up 27-20 at the half, and no more points were scored until Orten's short run in the final minutes.