MCDONALD'S SWNEWS4U.COM GAME OF THE WEEK (April 28–May 5)
PREP FOOTBALL: #5 Black Hawk/Warren 30, #8 Cuba City 20
CUBA CITY – After having their 27-game winning streak snapped in the season opener, the Black Hawk/Warren football team could have hung their collective heads and given up hope at winning the conference crown. But, that’s not how these Warriors operate.
Instead, the Warriors closed the alternate-fall spring football season by reeling off five straight victories to earn a share of the Covid Spring Small Conference championship title.
The #5-ranked Warriors (5-1 overall) rallied from a 14-point first-half deficit by scoring 30 unanswered points to take down the #8-ranked Cuba City Cubans, 30-20, in their season finale at CCHS’ OA Barth Field on Friday, April 30.
“It felt great to win the conference title Friday night. That is one of our first goals every year and we were thrilled to achieve that goal. I’m so proud of this team and the coaches. They did a great job this year both in practices and games. I couldn’t have asked for a better team to coach,” said Warriors’ head coach Desie Breadon.
The two teams went into the night tied with Belleville atop the Covid Small standings, so the winner knew they would secure at least a share of the league title. The #7-ranked Wildcats (5-1) captured their share of the crown by defeating Fennimore, 35-7, on Friday night.
The Golden Eagles (2-4) handed the Warriors their lone loss of the spring with a 30-22 triumph in week one.
The sophomore backfield tandem of Lucas Milz and Landen Mahoney rushed for a combined 333 yards and two touchdown apiece to lead the Warriors’ comeback. Milz ran for a game-high 170 yards on 26 carries with TDs of one and 10 yards, while Mahoney followed with 163 yards on 28 totes with scoring jaunts of two and 11 yards.
The Cubans (4-2) opened the scoring with a two-yard TD run midway through the first quarter, and then added to their lead midway through the second quarter on a 65-yard scoring strike from junior quarterback Beau Kopp to junior Mason Reese to go up 14-0 with 6:02 remaining in the half.
Undaunted, the Warriors came right back and put together a confidence building 13-play, 66-yard scoring drive, keeping the ball on the ground the whole way to get on the scoreboard on a 1-yard blast by Milz with 37 seconds left in the half. Milz added the two-point conversion to make the score 14-8 at the intermission.
The Warriors kept the momentum going into the second half with Reed McNutt recovering a fumble at the Cubans’ 35-yard line just five seconds into the third quarter. Six plays later, Mahoney charged into the end zone from two yards out to tied the score, and then senior Ryan Molitor punched in the conversion to put the Warriors ahead to stay at 16-14.
Mahoney added an 11-yard TD run with 5:36 to play in the third quarter to increase the lead to 22-14, and Milz extended the advantage to 16 with 4:35 to play when he hit pay dirt on a 10-yard scamper to make it 30-14.
The Cubans sliced the gap to 10 with 1:45 to go on a 6-yard TD pass from Kopp to senior Logan Rogers, however the Warriors stopped the two-point try to keep it a two score game and then ran out the clock to secure the program’s fourth consecutive conference crown.
“We stuck to the game plan, controlled the line of scrimmage, won the turnover battle, and took advantage of our opportunities. A big part was staying relaxed when we were down by 14 and continuing to play our type of game,” Breadon explained. “We said that someone would need to step up and make a play and a lot of guys did. We also challenged the line to be more physical and dominate the line of scrimmage and they did that too. It was truly a team win and it took every one of our players and coaches doing their job to beat a team as good as Cuba City.”
Kopp finished the night completing 23 of his 40 passing attempts for 260 yards and two scores, but he was sacked three times and intercepted once by the Warriors’ D, which allowed negative rushing yards (minus-6 on 12 carries) for the second straight game.
Elijah Shelton recorded the interception, while Milz and Owen Huschitt recovered fumbles for the Warriors.
Junior Blake Bussan hauled in 10 catches for 101 yards to guide the Cubans’ aerial assault. Senior Riley Richard had seven catches for 74 yards, and Reese added two catches for 68 yards and a score.
Playing in their final prep football game for the Warriors on Friday were seniors Aydan Mahoney, Ryan Molitor, Jexen Stietz, Skylar Neff and Thatcher Schliem.
“I can’t say enough good things about this group of seniors. They are one of the top two seniors classes that I have coached over the last 16 years. There were only five of them, but we wouldn’t have had the season we did if it wasn’t for their work ethic and leadership. They definitely exceeded their potential as a group. I applaud our seniors for a great season and making it a memorable one,” stated Breadon.
The spring season was unique and weird for everyone involved, but for the players and the coaches it was a chance to play football again.
The Covid Small Conference took advantage of the opportunity by playing some very good and entertaining football during the six-week schedule. When it was all said and done, the league got in all of their games with no shutdowns due to Covid-19.
“I thought the season went great. We did have one loss, but when you look at what we came in with regard to experience and numbers I feel the players and coaches did a phenomenal job,” said Breadon. “It was really weird, at times, playing in the spring, but we are so grateful for the opportunity to play six games and get the game and practice experiences. What I’m really happy about having to play in the spring is that we got to play as a co-op like we wanted to and were meant to.”
I think this spring season will help us a lot for the fall season. We will be able to progress faster because things will be fresher in the players’ heads and less time off since working on techniques.”
Black Hawk/Warren 30, Cuba City 20
(From Friday, April 30 @ Cuba City)
BH/War…… 0 8 14 8 – 30
Cuba City… 7 7 0 6 – 20
CC – Chayse Barth, 2 run (Junior Garcia kick)
CC – Mason Reese, 65 pass from Beau Kopp (Garcia kick)
BHW – Lucas Milz, 1 run (Milz run)
BHW – Landen Mahoney, 2 run (Ryan Molitor run)
BHW – L. Mahoney, 11 run (run failed)
BHW – Milz, 10 run (Brayden Bohnsack run)
CC – Logan Rogers, 6 pass from Kopp (run failed)
Team Stats: First Downs– BHW 24, CC 15. Rushing– BHW 60-333; CC 12-(–6). Passing– BHW 2-6-0, 42; CC 23-40-1, 260. Fumbles-Lost–BHW 2-2; CC 3-2. Penalties- BHW 2-25; CC 4-30.
BHW Individual Leaders: Rushing (Att-Yds-Td)– Lucas Milz, 26-170-2; Landen Mahoney, 28-163-2. Passing (Comp-Att-Int-Td-Yds)– Brayden Bohnsack, 2-6-0-0, 42. Receiving (Cat-Yds-Td)– Elijah Shelton, 1-25-0.
CC Individual Leaders: Rushing (Att-Yds-Td)– Chayse Barth, 5-7-1. Passing (Comp-Att-Int-Td-Yds)– Beau Kopp, 23-40-1-2, 260. Receiving (Cat-Yds-Td)– Blake Bussan, 10-101-0; Riley Richard, 7-74-0; Mason Reese, 2-68-1.