PLATTEVILLE – Black Hawk’s young football team picked up plenty of confidence and experience at the expense of Belmont’s young squad during their season opener at the 10th annual Six Rivers Conference Jamboree at UW-Platteville on Saturday, Aug. 20.
The Warriors (1-0 overall, 1-0 SRC) scored in nearly every conceivable way en route to a 52-0 rout over the Braves (0-1, 0-1). Black Hawk’s offense scored three times on the ground and twice through the air, while the defense returned an interception for a score and recorded a safety and the Warriors’ special teams returned a kickoff for another score.
“It was a good performance. A lot of nice things happened. It was a good way for our kids to get their feet wet,” said Black Hawk head coach Cory Milz. “It was a good first win and a confidence builder. (The coaches) are excited to see how this team in going to progress throughout the season, although we still have a lot of work to do.”
Momentum shifted to the Warriors’ sideline early in the game and remained there the rest of the day. After earning a quick first down, the Braves were forced to punt away the game’s opening possession, but the kick didn’t go far after being blocked by junior Jett Rufenacht.
Five plays and 30 yards later, junior fullback Brody Milz bulled in on a 1-yard blast to put Black Hawk ahead to stay. Sophomore Colby Argall ran in one of his two two-point conversions to make it 8-0 at the 7:20 mark of the first quarter.
On the Warriors’ second possession, junior quarterback Michael Flanagan teamed with sophomore receiver Kyle Lovelace on the first of two touchdowns passes– this one from 14 yards out– and hooked up with Rufenacht on the conversion to extend the lead to 16-0.
Milz added a 17-yard scoring jaunt with 38 seconds remaining in the opening quarter, and Flanagan connected with Lovelace on a 13-yard scoring strike 7:13 remaining in second quarter to push the advantage to 32-0. Argall and sophomore Rece Shelton added conversion runs for the Warriors.
Just a minute later, the Warriors were back in the end zone when Rufenacht returned an interception 45 yards for a defensive score, and the Black Hawk D would add two more points on a safety before the intermission when Belmont’s Connor Wiegel got tackled in the end zone by a horde of Warriors. Black Hawk took a 40-0 lead into the break.
The Warriors didn’t wait long to reach pay dirt in the second half as freshman Avery Baumgartner returned to opening kickoff 79 yards for a score to make it 46-0.
Milz completed his hat trick midway through in the third quarter when he rumbled in from 14 yards out to cap the scoring at 52-0. He finished with 96 rushing yards and three TDs on just nine carries.
Argall added a game-high 119 yards on 12 carries for the Warriors, who ran for 275 yards on 33 carries. Flanagan completed 4-of-6 passes for 54 yards with two TDs. Lovelace and Rufenacht each had two catches for 27 yards.
Rufenacht also picked off two passes, while freshman Jaylen Rufenacht intercepted one pass.
“Brody is a pretty hard inside runner and we have some shifty guys like Colby in the backfield. Michael throws a nice ball and he has some targets to throw to. It's a nice group and we're having a lot of fun. They are a great group to coach,” stated Coach Milz.
After graduating nine key players from last year’s team, first-year co-head coaches Brandon Wiese and Matt McKinley knew they would have some growing pains with this year’s team. They just hope their young Braves pull together as a team sooner rather than later.
“We had some inexperienced players in a lot of areas even though we had some underclassmen out there. Some of the guys on the line haven’t played that position before,” said Wiese. “They were trying to find their way to click with each other. Hopefully, as the season goes along, we'll find a way from them to gel with each other.”
C. Wiegel, a junior, led the Braves’ ground attack with 40 yards on 10 carries. Sophomore quarterback Colin Austin was 6-of-15 for 60 yards with Jacob Wedig making three catches for 42 yards to guide the air attack.
On defense, Wedig registered 10 tackles with a sack and a forced fumble. Senior Raymond Althaus had nine tackles and senior Simon Rossard added five tackles and a fumble recovery, while Jacob Amenda recovered a fumble and Isaac Wiegel forced a fumble for the Braves.
McKinley would like see a more consistent team effort going forward.
“We saw some good individual efforts out there today. We just need more of a team effort from all 11 guys out there on every play,” he added. “There were a couple of guys here and a couple of guys there going hard. We have to figure out how to gel as a team and have everybody play hard together.”
Black Hawk heads to Shullsburg (1-0) for a SRC game on Friday, Aug. 26, starting at 7 p.m. The Miners opened with a 56-0 non-conference victory over Hillsboro at Saturday’s Jamboree.
Belmont travels to Highland (1-0) on Friday also at 7 p.m. The Cardinals rolled over River Ridge, 44-20, in their opener at UWP on Saturday.
Belmont......... 0 0 0 0 – 0
Black Hawk... 24 26 12 0 – 52
BH – Brody Milz, 1 run (Colby Argall run)
BH – Kyle Lovelace, 14 pass from Michael Flanagan (Jett Rufenacht pass from Flanagan)
BH – B. Milz, 17 run (Argall run)
BH – Lovelace, 13 pass from Flanagan (Rece Shelton run)
BH – Rufenacht, 45 interception return (kick failed)
BH – Safety, Belmont runner tackled in end zone
BH – Avery Baumgartner, 79 kickoff return (kick failed)
BH – B. Milz, 14 run (kick failed)
Team Stats: First Downs– BEL 5, BH 13. Rushing– BEL 21-54; BH 33-275. Passing– BEL 6-15-60; BH 4-6-54. Fumbles-Lost– BEL 0-0; BH 4-2. Penalties- BEL 5-38; BH 9-70.
Leaders: Belmont– Rushing (Att-Yds-Td)– Connor Wiegel, 10-40-0. Passing (Comp-Att-Int-Td-Yds)– Colin Austin, 6-15-3-0, 60. Receiving (Cat-Yds-Td)– Jacob Wedig, 3-42-0. Black Hawk– Rushing (Att-Yds-Td)– Colby Argall, 12-119-0; Brody Milz, 9-96-3. Passing (Comp-Att-Int-Td-Yds)– Michael Flanagan, 4-6-0-2, 54. Receiving (Cat-Yds-Td)– Kyle Lovelace, 2-27-2; Jett Rufenacht, 2-27-0.