OSHKOSH — Chants of “Du-ffy, Du-ffy” echoed loud enough for even those outside Titan Stadium to hear during the fourth quarter of Saturday’s Wisconsin Football Coaches Association Large School All-Star Game.
The South’s Bryce Duffy had just hauled in a diving, 15-yard catch to convert on third-and-8 from the North’s 38-yard line — the type of drive-saving play the former DeForest High tight end routinely delivered — in the South’s 27-7 victory.
“Those boys did that on the bus after the banquet (Friday night), just out of nowhere,” Duffy said. “We chant ‘South Side’ most of the time. At first (after the catch) I thought they were chanting ‘South Side,’ but I hear ‘Duffy’ instead, and that just gets you fired up on the field.”
Duffy caught four passes for a game-high 101 yards, and they stood out as four of the most important catches of the evening. All four were on touchdown drives, with three coming on either third or fourth down.
A 41-yard reception on the game’s second play from scrimmage set up the first of two touchdowns from Stoughton running back Brady Schipper, a University of Wisconsin walk-on. Schipper, who finished with 126 total yards, also caught a screen pass over the middle for a 29-yard score that gave the South a 13-7 lead.
Late in the first half, Duffy caught a 24-yard pass on third-and-7 — two plays before Whitefish Bay teammates Cade Garcia and Alex Anthony connected for a 19-yard score to extend the lead to 19-7.
With less than 10 minutes remaining, a gutsy decision from the South to go for it on fourth-and-6 from its own 28-yard line paid off when Duffy came through again, this time with a 21-yard reception.
The “Duffy” chants began later that drive, which ended in the South’s final score of the game — a 20-yard pass from Garcia to Kenosha Bradford wide receiver Marquon Williams.
“The situations were obviously big,” Duffy said, “but I’m just trying to make plays no matter what the down is, so my teammates can get into position to score.”
Duffy may have actually become more renowned for his defense at DeForest. He earned first-team All-Badger North honors as a safety and was a second-team selection as a tight end.
The 6-foot-3, 216-pound Duffy combines fluid routes with natural hands, however, leading Bemidji State to recruit him as a tight end/wide receiver. He also played basketball and competed in eight track events over the past two years at DeForest.
Duffy said he’ll report to the Beavers on Aug. 4, and the WFCA All-Star week served as a great way to work himself back into football shape before taking on a new challenge.
“That’s what this week was for. Let’s hope it carries over,” Duffy said. “In a couple weeks it’s going to be the real deal, a whole new environment.”
South Small 22, North Small 21
Lake Mills’ Ben Dunkleberger was the star, but Melrose-Mindoro’s Victor Ponterio was the hero as the South scored 10 unanswered points in the fourth quarter to edge the North.
Ponterio kicked a late 40-yard field goal to lift the South to victory, after Dunkleberger led his team in passing and rushing during the early going.
Dunkleberger, who will compete in track and field at the University of Pennsylvania, completed 7 of 13 passes for 155 yards and three TDs, and rushed 11 times for 51 yards.
Dunkleberger’s Lake Mills teammate, Hayden Iverson, who will play football at NCAA Division II Minnesota-Duluth, caught one TD pass and totaled four catches for 58 yards.
Donovan Blevins of Platteville caught seven passes for 113 yards, and Trevor Neuroth of Fennimore and Zach Krause of Clinton also caught TD passes from Dunkleberger.
Appleton Fox Valley Lutheran’s Zayne Rodencal ran for 93 yards and a TD for the North, and Cumberland’s Kobe Berghammer completed 12 of 26 passes for 111 yards and one TD. Amherst’s Marcus Glodowski also rushed for a score.
North 8-Player 36, South 8-Player 18
Brandon Daleiden, of Minong Northwood, rushed for 195 yards and two touchdowns, caught a 9-yard TD pass and threw for 23 yards and another score as the North opened a 24-11 halftime lead and won.