BLANCHARDVILLE – Black Hawk’s senior football players have big plans for the season, so they didn’t want to place too much emphasis on Friday’s showdown with unbeaten Pecatonica/Argyle. All week prior to the game, they told their teammates it was not the biggest game of their season.
It’s true that it probably won’t be their biggest game this season, but it may turn out to be their most thrilling game as the Warriors stopped a two-point conversion run by the Vikings with :04 remaining to secure a hard-fought 22-20 victory and take over sole possession of first-place in the Six Rivers Conference in a game played at Blanchardville’s McKellar Park on Friday, Sept. 8.
Both teams came into the night unbeaten and ranked in the Wissports.net state’s coaches poll with Black Hawk sitting third in Division 7 rankings and the Vikings at sixth in Division 6, so it was no surprise it came down to the final play.
The two teams combined to score three times in the final minute, 45 seconds of regulation to put all the fans in attendance on the edge of their seats, but it came down to the one yard the Warriors refused to yield to Vikings’ quarterback Colton Schraeper that kept the Warriors alone atop the conference standings at the end of week four.
“The victory is in the books at least. It was a good win from the standpoint that it was a high pressure contest for these young men against a very good opponent, and they were able to do enough to win the contest,” said Black Hawk head coach Cory Milz. “I thought that we were able to overcome some key mistakes that put is in bad positions, responding with big plays of our own.”
The Warriors (4-0 overall, 2-0 SRC) used an 11-play, 92-yard opening drive to take an early lead on the Vikings (3-1, 2-1). Senior fullback Brody Milz blasted in from a yard out to cap the drive and senior quarterback Michael Flanagan ran in the two-point conversion to extend the lead to 8-0.
The lead remained cemented there the rest of the first half as the two defenses took over the game.
The Vikings got board early in the third quarter on an 80-yard TD sprint by Schraepfer that cut the Black Hawk lead to 8-6.
Then, things started to get really interesting.
Milz lost a fumble at the goal line late in the third quarter, but quickly made amends by intercepting a Schraepfer pass and returning it to the Viking 1. On the first play of the fourth quarter, Milz bulled his way to pay dirt to extend the Warriors’ lead to 14-6.
With time running down, Schraepfer got the Vikings back into the end zone with a 3-yard TD run. However, after getting his helmet ripped off on the play, the junior signal caller was forced to the sideline. The Vikings wanted to “buy” his return with a timeout, but after a 10-minute discussion and a check of the rulebook, he was unable to return for the conversion play.
Undaunted, the Vikings punched it in anyway with Brent Ritschard doing the honors to deadlock the score at 14 all with 1:43 to play in regulation.
The Warriors answered back on their next play from scrimmage with Flanagan teaming with senior tight end Jason Treuthardt on a 73-yard scoring strike to regain the lead. Milz added the conversion on a pass from Flanagan to put the Warriors up 22-14 with 1:23 remaining.
Schraepfer drove the Vikings right down the field and gave his team the shot at the tie when he hit Cory Swenson with a 3-yard TD pass with four seconds to play to cut the deficit to 22-20.
Then, Schraepfer attempted to even the score on the conversion, but he was stopped by a horde of Warriors tacklers inside the 1-yard line.
“Well, in order to win championships, you have to be good and you have to be lucky. I thought their offensive line showed that they are a veteran and athletic group. We had a hard time getting off blocks on the first level, and (Schraepfer) is very quick and was able to make some big cutback runs. I thought we did a pretty good job against their base attack, but (he) was really good at ad libbing and extending plays with his speed and quickness,” noted Milz.
The game was so close the two teams finished the night just nine yards apart in total offense. Black Hawk amassed 353 yards with 155 rushing yards and 198 passing yards to P/A’s 344 yards (228 rushing and 116 passing).
“Balance is important in that good teams will take away what you do best. For us, teams know we want to run the football and will scheme and blitz to do so. It leaves a lot of one-on-one coverage, and you need to take advantage of that when you must,” Milz explained. “Our QBs have shown pretty good accuracy and our WRs are building on their consistency in making the catches.”
Flanagan completed 7-of-14 passes for 153 yards with a TD and an interception to guide the Warriors’ balanced attack. Treuthardt had two catches for 95 yards and a TD, and senior Jett Rufenacht hauled in three catches for 76 yards.
Milz ran 16 times for 82 yards and two scores, caught one pass for 11 yards and completed one pass for 45 yards on offense, while leading a stout defensive attack by racking up 29 total tackles with 12 solo stops and 17 assists and adding an interception.
Junior Colby Argall added 57 rushing yards on 10 carries for the Warriors.
Defensively, Mitchell Quinn registered 17 tackles with a sack and a half and three tackles for loss, while Treuthardt tallied 13 tackles with one TFL and half a sack.
Schraepfer accounted for 289 total yards for the Vikings, rushing 27 times for 175 yards and two TDs and completing 6-of-12 passes for 114 yards with a TD and an interception.
Black Hawk heads to Belmont on Friday, Sept. 15, to take on the Braves (1-3, 0-3) in their annual Fair Game. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.
“Our seniors have done a great job, thus far, of being good leaders and keeping us on point. I expect our seniors to continue to do so,” said Milz.
Black Hawk… 8 0 0 14 – 22
Pec/Argyle….. 0 0 6 14 – 20
BH – Brody Milz, 1 run (Michael Flanagan run)
PA – Schraepfer, 80 run (try failed)
BH – Milz, 1 run (try failed)
PA – Schraepfer, 1 run (B. Ritschard run)
BH – Jason Treuthardt, 73 pass from Flanagan (Milz pass from Flanagan)
PA – Swenson, 3 pass from Schraepfer (run failed)
Team Stats: First Downs– BH 10, PA 13. Rushing– BH 31-155; PA 46-228. Passing– BH 8-15-1, 198; PA 7-14-1, 114. Fumbles-Lost– BH 1-1; PA 0-0. Penalties- BH 10-100; PA 4-40.
BH Individual Leaders: Rushing (Att-Yds-Td)– Brody Milz, 16-82-2; Colby Argall, 10-57-0. Passing (Comp-Att-Int-Td-Yds)– Michael Flanagan, 7-14-1-1, 153. Receiving (Cat-Yds-Td)– Jason Treuthardt, 2-95-1; Jett Rufenacht, 3-76-0.