SHULLSBURG – Shullsburg running back Nate Carrier set a school record with 388 rushing yards against Pecatonica/Argyle on Friday night, and every single one of those yards was important as Carrier helped carry the Miners over the Vikings, 54-41, in a wild Six Rivers Conference shootout at Badger Park on Sept. 2.
Carrier, who already owns the school’s career rushing title, added the single-game rushing record to his resume while scoring five touchdowns– one short of the school record he set a year ago– to lead the Miners (1-2 in league and overall) to a come-from-behind victory.
Neither team could do much to stop the other in the first half as they combined for 62 points and 500 yards of offense through the first 24 minutes of play.
The Vikings (1-1, 1-2), who scored just 25 points in their first two games, exploded for 34 points in the first half alone behind the arm of quarterback Jon Hendrickson and the legs of Jared Johnson and Alex Treuthardt.
Shullsburg, which was limited to just 22 combined points in a pair of losses to open the season, finished the first half with 28 points behind a hat-trick by Carrier.
Hendrickson completed 13-of-18 passes for 176 yards and three scores (20, 28 and 34 yards) in the first half, while Johnson caught a 28-yard TD pass and added a 67-yard TD run for the Vikings. Treuthardt’s 45-yard TD run with 52 seconds remaining in the first half gave P/A a 34-22 lead.
Carrier, who had scoring runs of 11 and 41 yards earlier in the opening half, gave the Miners some momentum back heading into the intermission by ripping off a 66-yard TD jaunt with just 26 seconds remaining in the half to close the gap to 34-28.
“What a wild game. I really thought when it was all said and done that our kids played with a lot of heart. That’s what we felt was lacking in the first two games,” said Shullsburg head coach Scott Matye.
The Miners made some key adjustments on defense during the break and those adjustments helped them limit the Vikings to just 45 yards over the final two quarters of play. P/A’s only score of the second half came on an 83-yard kickoff return by Johnson after the Miners grabbed a 48-34 lead early in the fourth quarter.
“We made some good defensive plays in the second half and we made some changes on defense at halftime that made a difference,” Matye noted. “Coach (Mark) Lierman got the guys where they needed to be.”
Carrier capped off the Miners’ first drive of the second half with a 25-yard TD run to tie the score at 34 all; then, after the Vikings drove down to the Shullsburg 5-yard line the speedy senior swiped a Hendrickson pass at the 2 and returned the interception 76 yards to the Vikings’ 22.
Seven plays later, quarterback Jacob Scott sneaked in from a yard out to put the Miners on top to stay. It was the sixth time the lead changed during the game.
Carrier added a conversion run to make it 42-34.
The Miners got the ball right back and quickly added to their lead as Carrier busted loose for a 74-yard scoring jaunt on the first play of the fourth quarter to up the lead to 48-34.
Johnson pulled the Vikings back within a score by returning the ensuing kickoff to paydirt, but the Miners answered back with an 11-play, 83-yard scoring drive to seal the victory. Scott closed the trek with an 8-yard TD run with 5:31 to play.
Scott intercepted a Hendrickson aerial on the first play of the Vikings’ next drive, and the Miners ran off the final 5:09 of the game clock to notch their first victory of the season.
“From the last play of the first half through the entire second half, we were invested in the game. Every player on the field was tired at the end of the game, but our kids performed a little better when they were tired,” said Matye.
Carrier rolled up 176 yards in the first half and 212 yards in the second half to finish with a record-setting 388 rushing yards, which is good enough for 14th on the state’s all-time single-game rushing list. He also added 96 yards on kickoff returns, had that long interception return and recorded six tackles on defense.
“You say he can’t amaze you any more than he already has, then he does something like this,” commented Matye. “I’ve seen him have some great games, but they were nothing like this.”
Scott ran 11 times for 58 yards and scored twice, while Brett Knautz added 29 yards on 12 carries as the Miners ran for 475 yards on 55 carries.
Opening up the holes at the line were tackles Reid Schwartz and Jeremy Ubersox, guards Connor Crotty and Hervey Trejo and center Andrew Uehling along with tight end Matt Cook.
“They just did some ridiculous things with their blocks tonight. We got back to playing Miner football,” Matye stated.
Defensively, Cook returned an interception 50 yards for a touchdown in the first quarter and had five tackles to lead the Shullsburg effort. Crotty recorded eight stops, Schwartz finished with six tackles and Uehling registered a sack for the hosts.
Hendrickson closed the night completing 16-of-25 passes for 203 yards with three TDs and three interceptions. Johnson ran eight times for 82 yards and a score and caught three passes for 71 yards and another score.
Shullsburg heads to Viola to face Kickapoo/La Farge (0-3) in a non-conference game on Friday, Sept. 9, at 7 p.m.
Pec-Argyle… 13 21 0 7 - 41
Shullsburg.... 14 14 14 12 - 54
PA – Zwicker, 20 pass from Hendrickson (Severson kick)
S – Nate Carrier, 11 run (Matt Cook pass from Jacob Scott)
S – Cook, 50 interception return (run failed)
PA – Johnson, 67 run (pass failed)
PA – Johnson, 28 pass from Hendrickson (pass good)
S – Carrier, 41 run (Scott run)
PA – Cromwell, 34 pass from Hendrickson (pass failed)
PA – Treuthardt, 45 run (Severson kick)
S – Carrier, 66 run (pass failed)
S – Carrier, 25 run (run failed)
S – Scott, 1 run (Carrier run)
S – Carrier, 74 run (run failed)
PA – Johnson, 83 kickoff return (Severson kick)
S – Scott, 8 run (run failed)
Team Stats: First Downs- PA 10; S 10. Rushing- PA 16-165; S 55-475. Passing- PA 16-25-3, 203; S 2-5-0, 8. Fumbles-Lost- PA 1, S 1. Penalties- PA 9-70, S 7-45.
Individual Leaders: Rushing (Att-Yds-Td)- Nate Carrier 32-388-5. Passing (Comp-Att-Int-Td-Yds)- Jacob Scott, 2-4-0-0, 8. Receiving (Cat-Yds-Td)- Matt Cook 1-17-0.