MCDONALD'S SWNEWS4U.COM GAME OF THE WEEK (Aug. 18-25)
PREP FOOTBALL: Black Hawk/Warren 20, Westby 13
By Tom Gunnell, The Republican Journal
SOUTH WAYNE – Black Hawk/Warren took the lead for good on a 55-yard touchdown run by junior Lucas Milz with under five minutes remaining, and then the defense turned in a late goal-line stand to preserve the lead as the host Warriors held off the Westby Norsemen, 20-13, in their 2021 prep football season opener at Murphy Field on Friday, Aug. 20.
“Westby was a good team and gave us a lot of challenges on both sides of the ball. They were big, fast, and physical,” said Warriors’ head coach Desie Breadon. “ We were happy with the results, but not satisfied with where we are as a team. We are continuing to make improvements, but have a long way to go to be where we want to be.”
The lead changed hands with every score in a hard-hitting, seesaw non-conference battle to kickoff the season.
Junior Landen Mahoney, who rushed for a game-high 115 yards and two touchdowns on 16 carries, opened the scoring with a 9-yard touchdown jaunt just moments into the second half. The Warriors’ two-point try failed, leaving the hosts up 6-0.
The Norsemen (0-1 overall) took the momentum right back with Prince Preston returning the ensuing kickoff 95 yards for a score, and then their successful extra point kick put them ahead 7-6 with 11:05 remaining in the first half.
“(Westby) took advantage of things on special teams with a kickoff return for a touchdown and recovering a kickoff. Those two plays really changed the game. They had a couple of other good returns that changed up field position,” Breadon noted.
Mahoney thrusts the Warriors (1-0) back in front a short time later when he scampered 50 yards to pay dirt to make the score 12-7.
Westby regained the lead at 13-12 midway through the third quarter when quarterback Dillon Ellefson connected with Grant McCauley on a 7-yard touchdown pass.
The score remained there until midway through the fourth quarter when Milz ripped off a 55-yard TD run to put the Warriors ahead for the third– and final– time. Quarterback Brayden Bohnsack punched in the conversion to make it 20-13 with 4:46 to play.
The Norsemen had a late chance to tie the game or take the lead after recovering a fumble deep in Warriors’ territory, but they were turned away in the closing seconds as the Warriors held strong.
“We continued to make improvements on defense (throughout the game) and had a number of guys step up and make plays when we needed to,” said Breadon.
The Warriors finished the game with 196 rushing yards on 36 carries (5.4 ypc.) and added another 39 passing yards for 235 total yards. Milz ran 12 times for 86 yards and a score and also had a catch for 30 yards.
“We just couldn’t get in a rhythm on offense, but we did take advantage of opportunities when we had them. We were hoping to get our passing game going, but it didn’t perform up to our potential in that aspect. One of the other biggest problems was our center-to-QB exchanges, which definitely hurt us on offense,” Breadon explained.
Defensively, the Warriors limited Westby to just 69 yards rushing and 69 more passing on the night, while recovering two fumbles (Mahoney and Milz) and also intercepting a pass (Bohnsack).
Lane Raab led the Warriors with 11 tackles and Milz added nine stops. Mahoney and Antron Evans each registered one and a half sacks.
Black Hawk/Warren will head south of the state border to host Marshall in a non-conference game at Warren’s Merridan Park on Friday, Aug. 27, starting at 7 p.m.
The Cardinals (1-0) are coming off of a 42-15 win over Fall River/Rio.
Westby…. 0 7 6 0 – 13
BH/War….0 12 0 8 – 20
BHW – Landen Mahoney, 9 run (2-pt try failed)
W – Preston, 94 kickoff return (kick good)
BHW – Mahoney, 50 run (2-pt try failed)
W – McCauley, 7 pass from Ellefson (kick blocked)
BHW – Lucas Milz, 55 run (Brayden Bohnsack run)
Team Stats: First Downs– W 10, BHW 9. Rushing– W 32-69; BHW 36-196. Passing– W 8-23-1, 69; BHW 2-8-2, 39. Fumbles-Lost– W 2-2; BHW 1-1. Penalties- W 5-NA; BHW 5-NA.
BHW Individual Leaders: Rushing (Att-Yds-Td)– Landen Mahoney, 16-115-2; Lucas Milz, 12-86-1. Passing (Comp-Att-Int-Td-Yds)– Brayden Bohnsack, 2-8-2-0, 39. Receiving (Cat-Yds-Td)– Milz, 1-30-0.