SHULLSBURG - Shullsburg and River Ridge combined for 822 yards rushing, scored 12 touchdowns combined, all on the ground, and the game was decided by a three-yard run that wasn’t a two-point conversion try, as the Miners (2-5, 2-4) held on for a 43-41 win over River Ridge (0-7, 0-6) on the Miner’s field Friday night.
The Wolves had scored on a 59-yard run by junior Joel Mezera to claw their way back to a 43-41 deficit.
They had to go for the two-point PAT run, they did, and it came up short.
End of game, well not quite, as the home 11 messes up a pitch on an end run, the ball bounced free and Zach Raisbeck recovered for coach Wade Winkers charges on the Shullsburg 41.
After giving up huge chunks of yardage all night, the winners gave up just eight yards in four running plays and now the game was really over.
The clock showed 53 seconds left.
Joel Mezera, who scored all six of the Timberwolves’ touchdowns and ran for 346 yards, scored on a one-yard plunge and Zach Raisbeck added the point for a 7-0 early lead.
Jacob Scott ran 10 yards for six and Harvey Trejo kicked the point for a seven all tie at the quarter.
The second session belonged to the Miners, as they scored on a 64-yard Jacob Scott run and a 10-yard Nate Carrier dash. They fumbled a two-point run into the end zone, but Bret Knautz recovered for the two and Harvey Trejo kicked a point for a 22-15 lead.
Joel Mezera ran for six and Zach Ertz added a two-point run for River Ridge’s second quarter points.
The home team led 22-15 at the intermission.
The Miners never trailed in the last 24 minutes, but a 30-yard scoring run by Mezera and a Raisbeck kick knotted it 22 all early in the third session.
Both teams scored again in the quarter, Shullsburg on an 81-yard Carrier run and River Ridge a Joel Mezera 30-yard run.
Each team scored 13 points in the last 12 minutes, as Mezera added two scores on runs of three and 58 yards, and Carrier ran 53 and 47 yards for the last of his four scores.
The wild finish sealed the win for the home standing Miners.
The winners were led in rushing by Nate Carrier with 209 yards in 21 carries, and Jacob Scott, 165 yards in 16 tries. Carrier had four TDs and Scott two.
Carrier ran for 388 yards in an earlier game against Pecatonica-Argyle.
Joel Mezera did it all for the Ridge with 346 yards and six scores.
He set new River Ridge single games football marks with his 346 rushing yards in 41 carries and his six touchdowns.
The old record was 313 yards set by Mezera in 2010, and the old touchdown mark of five in one game was held by Fred Mumm, set in the 1998 season.
Offensive linemen Andrew Redman, Jake Devlin and freshman Desmond Crapp, did the heavy work in opening the holes for the runners.
River Ridge will have their work cut out for themselves this week, as they entertain unbeaten Potosi in their annual Homecoming game, which will kick off at 7 p.m. at Bloomington.
River Ridge 41
(from Friday, Sept. 30)
River Ridge 7 8 13 13 - 41
Shullsburg 7 15 8 13 - 43
RR - Joel Mezera, 1-yard run (Zach Raisbeck kick)
S - Scott, 26-yard run (Trejo kick)
S - Scott, 64-yard run (Kanautz run)
RR - Mezera, 9-yard run (Zach Ertz run)
S - Carrier, 10-yard run (Trejo kick)
RR - Mezera, 30-yard run (Raisbeck kick)
S - Carrier, 81-yard run (Matye pass from Carrier)
RR - Mezera, 55-yard run (run failed)
S - Carrier, 15-yard run (Trejo kick)
RR - Mezera 3-yard run (Raisbeck kick)
S - Carrier, 47-yard run (kick failed)
RR - Mezera, 59-yard run (run failed)
First downs - RR 17, S 10. Rushing - RR 64-434, S 40-388. Passing yards - RR 6, S 7. Passes - RR 2-5-0, S 2-2-0. Fumbles lost - RR 1, S 2. Penalties-yards - RR 1-5, S 3-14.
Rushing - RR: Joel Mezera 41-339; S: Nate Carrier 21-209, Scott 16-165. Passing - RR: Trevor Langmeier 2-5-0, 6; S: Matye 2-2-0, 7. Receiving - RR: Phil Breuer 1-5; S: Lyne 1-5.