SHULLSBURG – Benton/Scales Mound/Shullsburg Knights opened Six Rivers Conference play with an impressive 32-8 victory over the Pecatonica/Argyle Vikings at Shullsburg’s Badger Park on Friday, Sept. 6.
The Knights (3-0 overall, 1-0 SRC) rolled up more than 400 yards of total offense en route to their third straight victory over a 2018 WIAA playoff qualifier, while the defense– despite allowing their first points of the season– contained the Vikings (1-2, 0-1) for the most part the entire night.
“It was very big. The first two wins were non-conference and when you get to our conference games against the big teams, it’s going to be physical and tonight it was,” said Knights’ head coach Todd Bastian. “(Pec/Argyle) had three or four decent yardage plays (on offense), but other than that we pretty much shut them down. We settled down early and showed that we were as physical as they were.”
Senior Will Lawrence rushed for a game-high 123 yards for the tri-op, and his backfield mates Kaelan Shetler and Brandon Hoppman each scored a pair of rushing touchdowns in the win.
The Knights, who opened last weekend being ranked #9 in the Wissports.net Division 6 Coaches Poll, built up a 16-0 first quarter lead. A 5-yard TD plunge by Shetler with 6:23 remaining in the opening stanza put BSMS ahead to stay, and then Hoppman ran for a 6-yard TD run less than minutes later to add to the lead. Junior quarterback Chandler Kelly ran in one conversion and hooked up with senior tight end Caleb O’Neill for another.
A 30-yard field goal by senior Holden Murphy put the hosts up 19-0 midway through the second quarter.
The Vikings snapped the Knights seven-quarter scoreless streak a short time later when, on third-and-14 from their own 6, Gavin Johnson outjumped a BSMS defender for a pass from quarterback Hunter Enloe near midfield and outraced everyone to the end zone for a 94-yard TD reception. Zander Brunker’s conversion run cut the Knights’ lead to 19-8 with 4:31 remaining in the half.
The hosts answered back with a long scoring drive of their own before the break with Hoppman plunging across the goal line from three yards out with just 30 seconds to go in the quarter to give the Knights a 25-8 advantage.
“It was big to respond like that,” Bastian replied.
The Knights tacked on the lone points of the second half on a long, time-consuming drive that started at the end of the third quarter and ended with a 1-yard TD run by Shetler with 7:50 left to play to seal the victory. Murphy tacked on the extra point to close the scoring at 32-8.
Lawrence racked up 143 total yards on the night with 123 rushing yards on 19 carries and one catch for 20 yards. Shetler tallied 131 total yards with 93 coming on the ground on 12 carries and 38 coming through the air on two catches.
Hoppman ran eight times for 30 yards and O’Neill caught four passes for 77 yards. Kelly completed 7-of-10 passes for 132 yards and ran six times for 16 yards as the Knights amassed 406 total yards in the game. Manning the offensive line throughout the night were Cameron Ziarko, Brad Goffinet, Zander Jones, Zach Woodworth, Ben Werner and Randy Ruelas.
“Our kids were up to the challenge on both sides of the ball and we got it done. I’m very proud of the kids. It’s all about them doing what they are supposed to do,” noted Bastian.
Shullsburg’s last previous victory over Pec/Argyle came during the 2014 season, while Benton/Scales Mound had not beaten the Vikings since 2009.
The Knights have another tough Six Rivers Conference clash in store for them on Friday. Sept. 13, when they head to Potosi High School to face Potosi/Cassville (2-1, 0-1). The Chieftains, who were ranked #4 in Division 7 last week, dropped a hard-fought 24-12 decision to Black Hawk/Warren, who is ranked #3 in D7, last Friday.
“We know they are going to be good. They are going to be physical as well and they’ll be well coached. We have to be ready to play,” said Bastian.
Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.
Pec-Argyle… 0 8 0 0 – 8
BSMS………. 16 9 0 7 – 32
BSMS – Kaelan Shetler, 5 run (Chandler Kelly)
BSMS – Brandon Hoppman, 6 run (Caleb O’Neill pass from Chandler Kelly)
BSMS – FG, Holden Murphy 30
PA– Johnson, 94 pass from Enloe (Brunker run)
BSMS – Hoppman, 3 run (pass failed)
BSMS – Shetler, 1 run (Murphy kick)
Team Stats: First Downs– PA 5, BSMS 17. Rushing– PA 22-43; BSMS 49-274. Passing– PA 3-8-0, 108; BSMS 7-10-0, 132. Fumbles-Lost– PA na-na; BSMS na-na. Penalties- PA na-42; BSMS 1-10.
BSMS Individual Leaders: Rushing (Att-Yds-Td)– Will Lawrence, 19-123-0; Kaelan Shetler, 12-93-2. Passing (Comp-Att-Int-Td-Yds)– Chandler Kelly, 7-10-0-0, 132. Receiving (Cat-Yds-Td)– Caleb O’Neill, 4-77-0.