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Whitefish Bay Blue Dukes vs. Hartford Orioles football preview | By Jason Howarth

October 6, 2021 – Hartford, WI – With WIAA playoff spot locked up for both teams, Hartford (5-2, 4-1) and Whitefish Bay (5-2, 4-1) battle for vital ground to determine the 2021 North Shore Conference football champion.
Hartford football
The Orioles are coming off a 28-24 loss to Homestead at home last week, as the Highlanders rallied late to hand Hartford its sole conference loss.
The Blue Dukes are coming off a 38-12 win at home against Cedarburg. Their sole loss in conference play also came against Homestead while hosting the Highlanders.
The Highlanders are 7-1 overall and the best in conference at press time.
The Orioles and Blue Dukes are 1-1 against each other in their last two regular season meetings, with Hartford winning 14-7 in 2019 and Whitefish Bay winning 7-0 in 2020.
Despite the score of their last two games against each other, both teams have the top two scoring offenses in the North Shore Conference, with the Orioles scoring 211 total points this season (165 against conference opponents), while the Blue Dukes have scored 207 total points this season (144 against conference opponents).
Defensively, it is a matchup that is not even close, as the Blue Dukes have surrendered just 51 total points against conference opponents this season, half of which were given up to Homestead alone.
Whitefish Bay has been effective defensively due to its conference leading 15 sacks, 12 recovered fumbles (8 forced), and 4 interceptions (which is tied for third best in the conference).
The Orioles have been in shootouts on both sides of the ball this season, which is just as evident by their defensive, which has given up 121 total points against conference opponents this season.
Hartford’s defense has generated turnovers to prevent them from losing games this season though, as the Orioles have 6 interceptions, and 4 fumbles to go along with 8 sacks.
Both teams are heavily dependent on the rushing attack and it has been extremely successful for them. The Orioles lead the North Shore Conference with 1,984 total rushing yards and 25 rushing touchdowns, while the Blue Dukes have the second most rushing touchdowns (22) and the third most rushing yards (1,786).
Hartford senior AJ Pepin leads the Orioles’ backfield with 851 rushing yards and 8 rushing touchdowns on 115 rushing attempts. Whitefish Bay’s leading rusher is senior Nigel Cheeks, who has 735 rushing yards and 7 rushing touchdowns on 91 rushing attempts.
Hartford will host Whitefish Bay on Thursday, October 7, 2021, with a 7 p.m. kickoff.

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