MCDONALD'S SWNEWS4U.COM GAME OF THE WEEK (April 7–14)
PREP FOOTBALL: #9 Black Hawk/Warren 38, Belleville 29
WARREN, ILL. – Black Hawk/Warren created quite a logjam atop the Covid Spring Small Conference by knocking off previously unbeaten Belleville in a high-scoring affair held at Warren’s Meridian Park on Friday, April 9.
Sophomore running back Lucas Milz rushed for 140 yards and four touchdowns while junior quarterback Brayden Bohnsack threw for 115 yards and two touchdowns to lead the #9-ranked Warriors to a 38-29 victory over the visiting Wildcats, who had allowed just 19 total points in their first two games this season.
The Warriors (2-1 overall) and Wildcats (2-1) finished the night tied atop the league standings along with Cuba City (2-1), who held off #7 Benton/Scales Mound/Shullsburg (1-2), 27-20, and #8 Fennimore (2-1), who routed Southwestern (0-3), 32-12, on Friday night.
“I was really happy with the win. There were a lot of positive aspects to the game, but we also need to keep working on a number of things. The keys to the victory were winning the battle up front on both sides of the ball, and also being able to convert on critical downs,” said Warriors' head coach Desie Breadon. “Belleville’s a good team and well coached. They have good size and are fast, so to come out with a win against them says a lot for this young team.”
Junior Trevor Syse tossed the first of his four touchdowns passes on the night when he connected with fellow junior Anthony Nolden on an 84-yard scoring strike with just over two minutes remaining in the first quarter. Syse tacked on the extra point to put the Wildcats up 7-0.
The Warriors answered with an 18-yard TD dash on the first play of the second quarter to cut the deficit to 7-6. The try for two failed, leaving the hosts down by a point.
Belleville struck right back just over two minutes later when Syse hooked up with junior Patrick Samon from three yards out to extend the lead to 14-6 with 9:45 remaining in the half.
Undaunted, the Warriors went to the air themselves to erase the Wildcats’ advantage. Bohnsack teamed with senior tight end Ryan Molitor on a 23-yard TD pass and ran in the conversion to tie the score at 14 all 6:04 to go, then connected with Molitor again on a 53-yard screen pass around four minutes later to thrust the Warriors into the lead to stay at 20-14.
“The older players have been in the program awhile and have been in some big games. They do a great job of keeping the younger players calm. They just keep working on our stuff during the game and don’t get rattled or worked up,” Breadon explained. “Brayden did a great job with his audibles to take advantage of openings they gave us. We’ve been working on our passing game, particularly our screens. They were huge for us because we were able to convert them for long gains on critical third downs, which made a difference in the momentum of the game. We knew we had to be able to complete some passes to win, and those were another way to get the ball to Ryan.”
Milz extended the lead to 26-14 with a 1-yard TD blast late in the third quarter, and hit pay dirt once again from two yards out midway through the fourth quarter to put the Warriors ahead by three scores at 32-14.
However, the Wildcats were not about to go down easily. Syse linked up with Nolden on a 50-yard bomb with just over four minutes remaining to pulled the Wildcats back within 11 at 32-21.
The Warriors recovered the Wildcats’ onside kick attempt, and then found the end zone a short time later on another 2-yard run by Milz with 2:44 play to seal the deal.
Syse teamed with Nolden for a score for a third time- this time from 10 yards out- to close the scoring on the night with 1:29 remaining.
The Warriors racked up 413 total yards in the game after rushing 51 times for 298 yards and passing for another 115 yards on three completions.
“I’m really impressed with our O-line. They are quick off the ball, they move well, and they are smart. They are also doing better at blocking at the second and third levels and our wide receivers are doing a great job of blocking down field,” Breadon said. “It was a nice feeling during the game to watch Belleville put six or seven guys on the line and then start to have all 11 in the box and we were still able to move the ball on them.”
Manning the O-line for the Warriors on Friday were center Jexen Stietz, tackles Thatcher Schliem and Christian Eaton, and guards Owen Huschitt and Dayton Burmeister along Molitor and fellow tight ends Lane Raab and Cole Harris.
Bohnsack went 3-for-7 through the air for 115 yards with two TDs and an interception and he ran nine times for 27 yards. Milz ran 19 times for 140 yards and four TDs and had one catch for 39 yards, while sophomore Landen Mahoney joined him over the century mark with 133 yards on 23 carries.
Molitor made two catches for 76 yards and two scores.
The Wildcats went off for 257 yards through the air, but were limited to just 60 rushing yards by the Warriors’ D.
Syse completed 14-of-32 passes for 257 yards with four TDs and one interception, and he also led the Wildcats’ ground game as well with 12 carries for 35 yards. Nolden was his favorite target hauling in three receptions for 144 yards and three scores.
Defensively, Molitor, Milz and Mahoney recorded seven tackles apiece. Bohnsack had an interception, and T. Schliem registered a sack for the Warriors.
“Overall, I’m happy with our defensive performance. We were able to rotate some more guys into the game and they continued to improve. One of our best attributes on defense is the way we pursue and rally to the ball,” commented Breadon.
The Warriors will resume their bi-state rivalry with Benton/Scales Mound/Shullsburg on Friday, April 16, when they travel to Benton’s Swift Park to face the Knights.
“BSMS is a good, well-coached team. They have some really big boys up front and they have some good skill positions. I think it’s going to be a tough, physical game. We’re going to have to play well defensively, and we’re going to have to continue to develop on offense, particularly our passing game,” noted Breadon.
Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.
Belleville… 7 7 0 15 – 29
BH/War….. 0 20 6 12 – 38
BEL – Nolden, 84 pass from T. Syse (T. Syse kick)
BHW – Lucas Milz, 18 run (run failed)
BEL – Samon, 3 pass from T. Syse (T. Syse kick)
BHW – Ryan Molitor, 23 pass from Brayden Bohnsack (Bohnsack run)
BHW – Molitor, 53 pass from Bohnsack (run failed)
BHW – Milz, 1 run (run failed)
BHW – Milz, 2 run (run failed)
BEL – Nolden, 50 pass from T. Syse (T. Syse kick)
BHW – Milz, 2 run (run failed)
BEL – Nolden, 10 pass from T. Syse (Ace pass from T. Syse)
Team Stats: First Downs– BEL 10, BHW 16. Rushing– BEL 21-60; BHW 51-293. Passing– BEL 14-32-1, 257; BHW 3-7-1, 115. Fumbles-Lost– BEL 0-0; BHW 0-0.Penalties- BEL 7-45; BHW 5-55.
BEL Individual Leaders: Rushing (Att-Yds-Td)– T. Syse, 12-35-0. Passing (Comp-Att-Int-Td-Yds)– T. Syse, 14-32-1-4, 257. Receiving (Cat-Yds-Td)– Nolden, 3-144-3; C. Syse, 8-99-0.
BHW Individual Leaders: Rushing (Att-Yds-Td)– Lucas Milz, 19-140-4; Landen Mahoney, 23-133-0. Passing (Comp-Att-Int-Td-Yds)– Brayden Bohnsack, 3-7-1-2, 115. Receiving (Cat-Yds-Td)– Ryan Molitor, 2-76-2.