EDITOR'S NOTE: The Swnews4u.com Athlete of the Week is a web-only feature that will publish each Thursday throughout the calendar year.
By Tom Gunnell, Tri-County Press / Republican Journal and Jason Nihles, The Platteville Journal / Fennimore Times / Boscobel Dial
Nate Lawrence, Sr., RB/LB, Benton/Scales Mound/Shullsburg football
SHULLSBURG — Nate Lawrence gave BSMS’ 10 seniors plenty to celebrate on their Senior Night, scoring six touchdowns to lead the Knights to a 48–20 victory over Cuba City in a Six Rivers-SWAL conference crossover game held at Shullsburg’s Badger Park on Friday, Sept. 2.
Lawrence rushed 16 times for 167 yards and five TDs (56, 6, 3, 3, and 33), caught seven passes for 94 yards and one TD (42) and tacked on two-point conversion run in the game for the Knights (2–1).
“We’ve got a good senior group. I’m very happy for them,” said Knights’ head coach Todd Bastian, who noted that this was the seniors first-ever win over the Cubans. “(Nate) had a very good night.”
The Benton senior broke free for a 56-yard scoring jaunt on the third play of the game to put the hosts ahead for good. He added the conversion to up the lead to 8–0 with 10:22 remaining in the first quarter.
The Cubans (0–3) answered back near the end of the quarter with junior Cael Donar capping an 11-play, 57-yard drive with a 6-yard TD run. Nate Timmerman’s extra point cut the deficit to 8–7.
Lawrence struck pay dirt on the ground three times in the second quarter on runs of 6, 3, and 3 yards to extend the lead to 28–7 at halftime. Senior quarterback Jacob Duerr teamed with Lawrence on a 42-yard scoring strike early in the third quarter to put the Knights up 34–7, and then senior running back Nevada Sandlin punched in a 2-yard TD run midway through the period for a 40–7 advantage. Lawrence closed his big night midway through the fourth quarter when he busted loose from 33 yards to give the Knights a running clock.
“Once the kids got rolling, they did a really nice job,” stated Bastian. “They were a little flat-footed on defense at first, but then they started stepping up and the linebackers filled the gaps to shut down their running game. We forced them to throw the ball and we made some nice plays.”
HONORABLE MENTION (in alphabetical order)
Kolby Lancaster, Sr., QB/DB, Belmont football
Belmont's senior quarterback Kolby Lancaster rushed for three touchdowns and threw for another to guide host Belmont over Wild Rose, 38–12, in a non-conference 8-player prep football game held at BHS on Friday, Sept. 2. He completed 12-of-18 passes for 104 yards with a TD (8 yards) and an interception, and he also led Belmont on the ground toting the ball 24 times for 95 yards with three more scores (10, 1, 12).
Caden Pennekamp, Sr., Mason Aide, Sr., and Bret Connolly, So., Iowa–Grant boys cross country team
Iowa–Grant seniors Caden Pennekamp (4th, 18:10.7) and Mason Aide (6th, 18:15.6), and sophomore Bret Connolly (7th, 18:24.4) all ran to top-10 finishes in the field of 161 runners to lead the Panthers, who dominated the field with 54 team points, to the team title at last Saturday's Darlington Invitational.
Ellie Robinson, So., and Annie Robinson, So., Dodgeville/Mineral Point girls cross country
Dodgeville/Mineral Point sisters Ellie Robinson (19:14.5) and Annie Robinson (20:02.1) finished first and second to lead the defending Division 2 state champion Dodgers to the girls’ team title with 41 points at last Saturday's Darlington Invitational. Mount Horeb was a distant runner-up with 75 points, followed by Lancaster with 86 and Darlington with 91.
Cyle Steffl, Jr., QB/DB, Iowa–Grant football
Steffl rushed for three touchdowns and threw another to lead the host Iowa–Grant Panthers to a dominating 34–6 victory over Boscobel in the Ridge and Valley Conference opener for both teams. Steffl took an option keeper off right guard and zipped nine yards up the middle for an early 6–0 lead less than six minutes into the game. Late in the second quarter, he connected on a perfect touch pass to classmate Ashton Schmitz for a 52-yard touchdown pass and a 12–6 lead with 2:26 left in the first half. Steffl added an 18-yard TD run — this time on an option keeper to the left — and the two-point conversion run with 1:29 left in the third quarter, and later scored on a 1-yard run on the final play of the third quarter to complete the scoring.
Ella Woodworth, Sr., Shullsburg/Belmont girls cross country
Woodworth finished first in the girls’ 5,000-meter race in 23:08 to lead the Shullsburg/Belmont co-op at last Tuesday's Wauzeka–Steuben Invitational. She then placed 21st out of 81 runners with a time of 22:31 at last Saturday's 24-team Darlington Invitational.
Tate Zuehlke, Sr., F, Platteville/Lancaster boys soccer
The Hillmen rallied from an early 2–0 deficit to force a draw with visiting Dodgeville/Mineral Point last Thursday on a late penalty kick goal by senior Tate Zuehlke and the two teams are even after the first of eight SWC matches to played this year. The home team finally broke up the Dodge/Point shutout when Zuehlke wet up sophomore Michael Murphy at the 48:29 mark. Zuehlke later tied the game when he buried a penalty kick early in the 69th minute (68:08). Zuehlke also scored the game-winner on a dramatic penalty kick in the 76th minute to lift the Hillmen (1–2–1) to 3–2 victory over Wisconsin Heights last Tuesday afternoon.