SHULLSBURG - By putting together long time-consuming drives last Saturday afternoon at Shullsburg, the Cassville varsity football team not only put itself in position to put points on the board, but it also kept one of the league’s best running backs off the field for extended periods of time.
The visiting Comets controlled the clock, and essentially the pace of the game, as they defeated the host Miners, 20-6 in a Six Rivers conference contest.
With the win, coach Doug Fure’s squad improved to 2-3 in league play and 2-3 overall, and also kept their playoff hopes alive with just four regular-season games remaining.
This Friday night the Comets host River Ridge (0-5, 0-4) in a homecoming game, and still have conference games against Black Hawk and Highland, followed by a non-conference game with Seneca.
Against host Shullsburg last Saturday, Cassville ran for 262 yards on 56 running plays.
Dallas Bernhardt led the charge with 165 yards and two fourth-quarter TDs on 27 carries. His brother Dakota, carried the ball 16 times, scoring one second-quarter TD and finishing with 58 yards.
Quarterback Garrett Schauff completed 1-of-4 passing attempts, connecting with Nolan Ackerman on a 12-yard gain.
Cassville’s first score, a four-yard run from Dakota, capped off an 11-play drive that covered 64 yards, giving the Comets a 6-0 lead with 3:16 to play in the first half.
On the scoring drive, Dallas had six carries for 28 yards, while Dakota gained 18 yards on four carries.
Shullsburg’s next possession ended with a fumble by Shullsburg running back Nate Carrier, which was recovered by Dakota at the Comet’s 32-yard line.
Cassville turned the ball back over to the Miners on the very next play, as quarterback Garrett Schauff coughed the ball up with 1:16 to play in the half.
The Miners took full advantage of Cassville generosity, and used just 37 seconds to tie the game at 6-6 with a five-yard TD pass from Brett Matye to Matt Cook. Shullsburg, which never kicks, tried to kick the PAT, which was blocked by Dallas Bernhardt.
On their second possession of the second half, Cassville marched 60 yards in 13 plays and used more than six and a half minutes to score the go-ahead touchdown.
The drive was capped off with a six-yard run by Dallas, and Schauff’s extra-point kick gave the Comets a 13-6 lead with 10:35 to play in the game.
On the drive, Dallas ran for 50 yards on nine carries.
The Comets forced Shullsburg to punt on their next possession, taking over at the Miners’ 34 following an 11-yard punt.
Dallas Bernhardt gave the Comets some insurance with a three-yard TD run midway through the fourth quarter.
The Comets controlled both lines of scrimmage, making it especially hard for the Shullsburg defense to get off the field.
And as long as the Shullsburg defense is on the field, that means running back Nate Carrier isn’t getting the ball.
After running for 263 yards and two TDs on 42 carries last week against Kickapoo-La Farge, Shullsburg running back Nate Carrier met his match against the Cassville defense. Against the Comets, Carrier managed just 88 yards and no touchdowns on 20 carries.
Carrier did surpass the 1,000-yard mark on Saturday, and now has 1,010 rushing yards to his credit so far this season.
“He’s the key,” said coach Doug Fure of Nate Carrier. “Whenever you play Shullsburg, he’s the guy you’ve got to stop.”
“We were also able to control the ball, and anytime you can keep the ball out of his hands, that’s a good thing.”
Coach Fure also credited his cornerbacks for coming up to take on blocks, making it harder for Carrier to get outside where he can be very dangerous.
Leading the Comets defense with 14 tackles was Dallas Bernhardt, while Nate Baliff was in on 11 stops.
Garrett Schauff had nine tackles and one interception in the game, while Dakota Bernhardt had eight stops and recovered two fumbles.
Cassville 20, Shullsburg 6
(from Saturday, Sept. 17)
Cassville 0 6 0 14 - 20
Shullsburg 0 6 0 0 - 6
C - Dakota Bernhardt, 4-yard run (kick failed)
S - Cook, 4-yard pass from Matye (kick blocked)
C - Dallas Bernhardt, 6-yard run (Schauff kick)
C - Dallas Bernhardt, 3-yard run (Schauff kick)
First downs - C 17, S 11. Rushing - C 56-262, S 33-110. Passing yards - C 12, S 48. Passes - C 1-3-0, S 6-11-1. Fumbles lost - C 2, S 1. Penalties-yards - C 6-75, S 5-35.
Rushing - C: Dallas Bernhardt 28-173; S: Carrier 20-88. Passing - C: Garrett Schauff 1-3-0, 12; S: Matye 6-9-1, 48. Receiving - C: Nolan Ackerman 1-12; S: Carrier 4-28.