SHULLSBURG – Shullsburg head coach Scott Matye had a lot to be proud of after watching his Miners pull out a hard-fought non-conference victory over Kickapoo/LaFarge. Proud as a coach, and proud as a father.
The coach in him was proud of the way his offense came up with two fourth quarter touchdowns in a span of a minute, 34 second to snap a 6-6 tie and proud of the way his defense pitched a shutout over the final 34 minutes of play to give his offense the chance to win it.
The father in him was proud of the performance of his son, Brett, a sophomore quarterback/defensive back, who ran for two touchdowns, added a key two-point conversion and came up with a clutch interception late in the game to seal the Miners’ 20-6 victory over the Predators at Badger Park on Friday. Aug. 31.
“We played with a lot of intensity. I was really proud of them,” said Matye. “They were huge and that’s the kind of offense that can grind you down, but we just kept grinding right with them.”
The score remained stuck at 6-6 from early in the second until midway through the fourth quarter when junior running back Nathan Houtakker capped an eight-play, 57-yard scoring drive with a 7-yard scamper into the end zone. B. Matye added the conversion on a nice option-read to give the Miners a 14-6 advantage with 5:16 remaining.
The Miners (1-1 overall) didn’t have to wait long to get back into the end zone after the Predators (0-2) fumbled away the ensuing kickoff. Junior lineman Nathan Hendrickson pounced on the loose ball at the KLF 35-yard line and four plays later B. Matye took the option-keeper 22 yards to paydirt to extend the lead to 20-6 with 3:32 to play.
The Predators quickly drove inside the Miners’ 30 looking for a comeback score, but B. Matye picked off a pass with under two minutes to play to seal the victory and avenge last year’s 28-22 loss to K/FL.
The Miners opened the scoring on their third possession of the game, marching 71 yards on eight plays with B. Mayte plunging across the goal line from a yard out for the score. The extra point was blocked, keeping the score at 6-0 with 3:23 left in the first quarter.
The Predators answered right back with a score of their own to tie the score at 6-6. K/LF’s Aaron Townsend punched it in from a yard out to close the 55-yard, 12-play trek, but the Miners stopped the two-point conversion try to keep the score deadlocked at six all with 10:50 remaining in the first half.
And, that’s where the score stayed for the next 29 and a half minutes of the game. After scoring in the first quarter, the Miners managed just 53 total yards over their next five drives on offense to remain stuck at six points.
However, the Miners’ defense rose to the occasion after allowing the Predators to score, stopping drives deep inside Shullsburg territory late in each half and three second-half turnovers to lock down the win.
“It was key not to let them score right before the half. It was a pride check to not let them score at the end,” Matye noted. “I thought the defense did a lot of good things. Connor Crotty was a beast tonight. He really was all over the place.”
Crotty was in on 26 tackles (four solo, 22 assists) and he recovered one of three fumbles the Miners forced in the game. Hervey Trejo recorded 20 tackles (three solo, 17 ast.) and Jeremy Ubersox added 14 assists as the Miners’ D swarmed to the ball carrier all night long.
Hendrickson and Brett Knautz each recovered a fumble for the hosts.
Houtakker rushed for 149 yards on 22 carries with a TD to pace the Miners’ offensive attack. Matye added 16 yards on nine carries with two scores, and he completed 3-of-7 passes for 16 yards.
“(Brett) made a really nice read on the long option run and he made a really nice read on the extra point. He’s on learning curve and he’s learning and getting better every week. That’s all we ask of him,” said Coach Matye of his son and young quarterback.
“He made many good reads tonight. It looked like we were dive, dive, dive, but a lot of those were option calls and when you give it for six, seven and eight yard gains, that’s the right read.”
Shullsburg returns to Six Rivers play on Friday, Sept. 7, when they head to Cassville to face the winless Comets (0-2), who missed a late field goal attempt last Friday to fall to Benton/Scales Mound, 21-19. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.
Kick/LaFarge… 0 6 0 0 - 6
Shullsburg....... 6 0 0 14 - 20
S – Brett Matye, 1 run (kick failed)
KLF – Townsend, 1 run (run failed)
S – Nathan Houtakker, 7 run (Matye run)
S – Matye, 22 run (kick failed)
Team Stats: First Downs- KLF 15; S 9. Rushing- KLF 44-203; S 44-202. Passing- KLF 3-17-1, 28; S 3-7-0, 16. Fumbles-Lost- KLF 4-3, S 1-1. Penalties- KLF 5-45, S 2-15.
Individual Leaders: Rushing (Att-Yds-Td)- Nathan Houtakker 22-149-1. Passing (Comp-Att-Int-Td-Yds)- Brett Matye, 3-8-0-0, 16. Receiving (Cat-Yds-Td)- Hervey Trejo 2-15-0.