SOUTH WAYNE – It may be just the second game of the season and their conference opener, but Black Hawk took an early leg up in the race for the Six Rivers Conference title on Friday night.
Senior fullback Brody Milz rumbled 30 times for 210 yards and two touchdowns and junior halfback Colby Argall ran 21 times for 132 yards and two more scores to carry the Warriors past Potosi/Cassville, 30-12, in a Six Rivers Conference slugfest at Murphy Field on Aug. 25.
“It was a huge win against a really good program,” said Black Hawk head coach Cory Milz, who earned his 100th career victory with the Warriors’ win over Owen-Withee to open their 2017 season. “Just a great team win. I liked the way the kids held it together and I’m proud of the way they finished the game.”
Potosi/Cassville (1-1 overall, 1-1 SRC) was the talk of the town after rushing for over 500 yards en route to a 56-0 victory over Benton/Scales Mound in their inaugural game as a co-op team, but the Warriors’ plan was to limit the Chieftains’ scoring opportunities by keeping their offense off the field.
“Against a team like that, we don’t want to give them the football. We’re hoping we could grind it out and keep their offense off the field. I thought our offensive line did an exceptional job against a much bigger opponent. Our combos were good and our backs ran hard,” Milz explained.
Black Hawk (2-0, 1-0) pinned the Chieftains at their own 4-yard line after punting to open the game, and then the Warriors caught an early break when the guests fumbled the ball away on their first play from scrimmage. Two plays later, B. Milz bulled in from the 2 to put the Warriors on top 6-0.
The score remained stuck there the rest of the half as neither team gave up much ground on defense.
The Warriors hit the ground running in the second half, finding pay dirt on their first two possessions of the third quarter to extend their lead to 22-0. Argall capped an eight-play, 65-yard scoring drive with a 9-yard TD run to put the hosts ahead 16-0 with 8:19 remaining in the quarter; and, three plays after senior Jett Rufenacht forced a Chieftain fumble with a quarterback sack, Argall scored again from 29 yards outs.
Milz punched in both 2-point conversion runs to add to the Warriors’ lead.
Things got really interesting for the Warriors the rest of the third quarter as a blocked punt and lost fumbles on three consecutive possessions gave Potosi/Cassville the opportunity to get back into the game.
Logan Schmitz returned the blocked punt 50 yards for a score put the Chieftains on the scoreboard with 3:10 to play in the third quarter.
Argall returned the ensuing kickoff for an apparent touchdown, but a penalty erased the return and the Warriors fumbled the ball away two plays later at their own 41. The Chieftains drove it down to the 1 before fumbling the ball back to the Warriors, who returned the favor on the very next play to set the Chieftains up at the BH 21.
A 16-yard TD pass from Will Bierman to Ethan Groom with five seconds remaining in the third cut the Warriors deficit to 22-12.
The Warriors fumbled it away again early in the fourth quarter, but an interception by senior Michael Flanagan got the ball back to the Warriors and quieted the Chieftains’ rally.
A 43-yard TD jaunt by Milz with 4:35 to play pushed Black Hawk’s lead to 30-12, and Flanagan sealed the outcome moments later when he hauled in another interception.
“We have a seasoned group so they shouldn’t panic, but I think we started to panic a bit there in the third quarter. We reminded them that they’ve played a lot of football games and told them to relax because they’ve been there before. They were able to right the ship. I was very proud of that resiliency,” stated Milz.
The Warriors finished the night rushing for 359 yards on 58 carries, while holding the Chieftains to just 65 rushing yards on 23 totes. The Chieftains outgained the Warriors through the air, 131-13.
The Warriors were able to overcome their three second-half turnovers and getting flagged 18 times for 143 yards during the game.
“I’m really proud of our offensive line. We were undersized and they did a great job sticking on those big defensive tackles,” said Milz. “I’ve heard people say it a lot and its absolutely true– intelligent football players win football games. It’s all about being in the right place at the right time, knowing your assignment and what you’re supposed to do. Our guys are pretty good at that. I thought we played a smart defensive game tonight.”
Black Hawk travels to New Lisbon on Friday, Sept. 1, for a non-conference contest, starting at 7 p.m. The Rockets (2-0) have outscored their first two opponents, 100-34.
Potosi/Cass… 0 0 12 0 – 12
Black Hawk… 6 0 16 8 – 30
BH – Brody Milz, 2 run (try failed)
BH – Colby Argall, 9 run (Milz run)
BH – Argall, 29 run (Milz run)
PC – Logan Schmitz, 50 blocked punt return (kick failed)
PC – Ethan Groom, 16 pass from Will Bierman (run failed)
BH – Milz, 43 run (Rece Shelton pass from Michael Flanagan)
Team Stats: First Downs– PC 15, BH 16. Rushing– PC 23-65; BH 58-359. Passing– PC 11-25-2, 131; BH 1-4-0, 13. Fumbles-Lost– PC 4-4; BH 7-3. Penalties- PC 5-60; BH 18-143.
Pot/Cas Individual Leaders: Rushing (Att-Yds-Td)– Dylan Pluemer, 6-53-0. Passing (Comp-Att-Int-Td-Yds)– Will Bierman, 11-25-2-1, 131. Receiving (Cat-Yds-Td)– Alex Udelhofen, 6-78-0; Ethan Groom, 1-16-1.
BH Individual Leaders: Rushing (Att-Yds-Td)– Brody Milz, 30-210-2; Colby Argall, 21-132-2. Passing (Comp-Att-Int-Td-Yds)– Michael Flanagan, 1-4-0-0, 13. Receiving (Cat-Yds-Td)– Jett Rufenacht, 1-13-0.