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Fishnick leads Potosi/Cassville rout of Ithaca
Braden Fishnick
Potosi/Cassville senior Braden Fishnick ran for 116 yards and two touchdowns, and passed for 100 yards and another scored in the Chieftains’ 44–16 blowout win over Ithaca Friday night at PHS. - photo by A.J. Gates

POTOSI —  In the preseason discussions of this year’s Potosi/Cassville football team, a lot has been said about the return of senior running backs Eli Adams and Roman Friederick, and deservedly so.

But there appears to be a third offensive weapon at coach Mark Siegert’s disposal, one who played a major roll in the Chieftains’ 44–16 non-conference victory over visiting Ithaca last Friday night.

Senior Braden Fishnick, who at wide receiver last season had 12 receptions for 209 yards and two touchdowns, was promoted to quarterback this year, a role he has certainly been flourishing in.

“For a person who hasn’t played varsity quarterback, he has really done a great job of running the offense,” coach Siegert said of Fishnick. “With all the things we put on his plate, which is a lot, he’s done a really, really nice job.”

In last Friday night’s 44–16 victory over Ithaca, Fishnick completed 5-of-7 passing attempts for 100 yards and one touchdown, while also rushing for 116 yards and two more TDs on 14 attempts.

He first connected with junior tight end Oliver Post for a nine-yard touchdown pass in the closing seconds of the first quarter, then scored on touchdown runs of six and 11 yards in the fourth.

The emergence of Fishnick makes the Potosi/Cassville offense even more dangerous, with Adams and Friederick offering a dynamic one-two punch to the running game, which also opens things up for the passing game.

“Most of our passes are off play action, so if the run game is working, then the play-action pass is a lot better,” Siegert said.

The run game was obviously working last Friday night for the Chieftains, who got a team-high 146 yards on 13 carries from Adams, and 122 yards on 22 carries from Friederick. Adams also had two receptions for 37 yards, accounting for 183 total yards of Potosi/Cassville’s offensive production.

While Adams did not find the end zone after scoring three times in last week’s season opener, Friederick found the end zone three times this past week on runs of 1, 2 and 3 yards.

“Last week they really, really, really did a nice job of shutting down our inside run game with 10 in the box, but this week it was a little bit more open and we were able to get him going,” Siegert said of his fullback.

Friederick’s first score of three yards gave the Chieftains an early 6–0 lead with 5:39 to play in the opening quarter, while a two-yard dive late in the second gave Potosi/Cassville a 22–0 halftime advantage.

Sandwiched between two Ithaca scores, Friederick scored his third TD in the third quarter, as Potosi/Cassville took a 30–16 lead into the fourth.

There, Fishnick rushed for scores of six and 11 yards to secure another Chieftain victory.

Obviously the Chieftains don’t rush for 391 yards and average just under eight yards per carry without the exceptional job done by the offensive line.

Opening up holes all night long for Adams, Friederick and Fishnick were seniors Ezra Groom (C) and Heath Rauch (RG), along with juniors Aidan Uppena (LT), Ryan Stoney (RT) and Isaiah Groom (LG).

Defensively, coach Siegert’s squad has been extremely stingy this season, shutting out Wauzeka-Steuben/Seneca in week one and allowing just 16 points in week two against an Ithaca squad picked by many to win this year’s Ridge & Valley conference title.

“Defensively I thought we did a nice job of changing the line of scrimmage at the snap and preventing them from any big plays in their run game,” said Siegert. “They were able to hook up on a long pass, where they threaded the needle between a couple of our defenders to get a 73-yard score, but other than that we did O.K.”

Leading the Chieftain defense with 13 tackles was Isaiah Groom, followed by Roman Friederick with 10 and Denny Espiritu with eight.

The Bulldogs concluded the contest with 203 yards passing on 9-of-17 completions, while also rushing for 60 yards on 20 attempts.

Things don’t get any easier for the Chieftains this week, who host a tough Darlington squad coming off a 21–19 loss to Prairie du Chien.

“They’re a really solid team with athletes all over the place. They’re big, and hopefully we match up okay,” Siegert said.

“They can throw the ball well and obviously they can run it. They’re aggressive defensively, so it’s going to be a great challenge,” Siegert added. “It should be an awesome high school football game and I’m looking forward to it.”

Friday night’s game against Darlington is one of two crossover games played against an opponent from the SWAL conference. While it will count toward each team’s playoff eligibility, it will not count toward their conference record or in determining a conference champion.

Potosi/Cassville 44, Ithaca 16
(from Friday, Aug. 26 @ Potosi)
Ithaca......................0 0 16 0  — 16
Potosi/Cassville..14 8  8 14 — 44
First quarter
P/C: Roman Friederick 3 run (run failed), 5:39
P/C: Oliver Post 9 pass to Brayden Fishnick (Nolan Vogelsberg pass from Eli Adams), 0:01
Second quarter
P/C: Friederick 2 run (Adams run), 1:12
Third quarter
I: Channing Brown 73 pass from Wesley Nelson (Matthew Kepler run), 5:44
P/C: Friederick 1 run (Post pass from Fishnick), 0:37
P/C: Brown 5 pass from Nelson (Zander Jones run), 0:37
Fourth quarter
P/C: Fishnick 6 run (Adams run), 9:35
P/C: Fishnick 11 run (pass failed), 5:10
Team statistics
First downs — I 9, P/C 20. Rushing – I 20-60, P/C 50-391. Passing (comp-att-int, yards) — I 9-17-2, 203; P/C 6-9-0, 103. Fumbles–lost I 1-1, P/C 0-0. Penalties-yards I 3-51, P/C 9-85. 
Individual Leaders
Passing — I: Wesley Nelson 9-17-2, 203; P/C: Braden Fishnick 5-7-0, 100.
Rushing — I: Wesley Nelson 7-23, Logan Anderson 3-22; P/C: Eli Adams 13-146, Roman Friederick 22-122, Braden Fishnick 14-116. 
Receiving — I:  Channing Brown 5-151; P/C: Oliver Post 3-53, Adams 2-37.
Tackles — I: Caleb Birkrem 17, Wesley Nelson 14, Zander Jones 10; P/C: Isaiah Groom 13, Roman Friederick 10, Denny Espiritu 8.