PLATTEVILLE — Black Hawk didn’t hold the lead for long in its season opener against Belmont, but the Warriors held it when it mattered the most.
Sophomore quarterback Brody Milz connected with sophomore wide receiver Jett Rufenacht on a 7-yard touchdown pass with 23 seconds remaining to lift the Warriors over the Braves, 32–27, in a thrilling season opener at the 2015 Six Rivers Conference football jamboree hosted by UW–Platteville at Ralph E. Davis Pioneer Stadium Saturday.
The Milz-to-Rufenacht scoring strike capped a fast and furious fourth quarter that saw the two teams combined for 34 points while trading the lead three times in what was easily the game of the day at the five-game event.
Belmont (0–1, 0–1 Six Rivers) grabbed a 19–12 lead on the first play of the fourth quarter when senior QB Jon Bahr hooked up with senior Lane Kamps on a 41-yard TD pass.
Black Hawk (1–0, 1–0) got those points right back on their very next play from scrimmage when junior Jacob Quinn raced 66 yards for his third score of the night to bring the Warriors back with a point at 19–18 with 11:29 to play.
The Braves halted the Warriors’ two-point try to keep the lead intact, but the Braves did the Warriors a favor moments later by fumbling away the ensuing kickoff at the Belmont 18-yard line. Three plays later, junior Chase Stietz scored from seven yards out to give the Warriors their first lead of the game at 24–19 with 9:33 remaining.
Belmont regrouped on its next possession and marched right back down the field to regain the lead. Bahr scrambled in from 10 yards out with 5:59 to play to cap the Braves’ six-play, 61-yard scoring trek. Bahr also punched in the conversion run to put the Braves on top 27–24.
Undaunted, the Warriors went right back to work on offense, driving from their own 34-yard line to the Braves’ 7 with under a minute to play. On 3rd-and-6 from the 7, Milz threaded the needle on a slant pass to Rufenacht just over the goal line to put the Warriors ahead once again.
The sophomore combo also teamed up for the conversion to make it 32–27 with 23 seconds left.
Belmont had a final chance with the ball, but three straight incompletions took the remaining time off the clock.
Bahr opened the scoring with an 18-yard TD run and Jacob Amenda tacked on the extra point to give the Braves a 7–0 lead with 1:21 to go in the first quarter.
Quinn busted loose from 64 yards out on the Warriors’ next play from scrimmage to cut the deficit to 7–6, but the Braves were able to stop Black Hawk’s conversion try to hang onto the lead.
Senior Nate Knebel scored the lone points of the second quarter with an 11-yard TD jaunt that gave the Braves a 13–6 halftime advantage, however Quinn answered back with a 10-yard TD run early in the third quarter to bring the Warriors back within a point at 13–12.
Quinn finished with 222 yards 15 carries with three scores and had two catches for 21 yards to lead the Black Hawk offense, which rolled up 379 total yards in the game.
Milz completed 5-of-8 passes for 75 yards with a TD and an interception in his first varsity start as a signal caller, and he added 43 rushing yards on 18 carries. Stietz ran six times for 39 yards with a TD, while Rufenachy caught three passes for 54 yards and a score for the Warriors.
Bahr led the Braves’ 339-yard attack, passing for 198 yards and a TD on 12-of-21 passing and rushing for a team-high 68 yards on 16 carries with two more scores.
Kamps hauled in five catches for 124 yards and a TD, while Raine Voigts had four catches for 51 yards and Knebel ran nine times for 41 yards and a TD for the Braves.
Milz led the Warriors’ defense with seven tackles. Quinn chipped in with six stops, and Seth Paulson recorded five tackles with two going for a loss.
Josh Logsdon registered 11 tackles and two quarterback sacks to lead the Braves’ D. Quinn Cushman had five tackles and an interception for Belmont, while Voigts and Nick Willborn each made five stops.
Black Hawk returns home to Murphy Field on Friday, Aug. 28, to host Shullsburg (0–1) in a SRC affair, while Belmont heads home to host Highland (1–0) on Friday evening. Both games will kickoff at 7 p.m.
The Miners fell to Cassville, 70–22, in their opener at UWP last Saturday, and Highland blanked River Ridge, 29–0, earlier in the day on Saturday.
Black Hawk 32, Belmont 27
(from Saturday, Aug. 22 @ UW–Platteville)
Black Hawk 6 0 6 20 — 32
Belmont 7 0 6 14 — 27
Bel: Jon Bahr 18 run (Jacob Amenda kick)
BH: Jacob Quinn 64 run (run failed)
Bel: Nate Knebel 11 run (kick failed)
BH: Quinn 5 run (pass failed)
Bel: Lane Kamps 41 pass from Bahr (pass failed)
BH: Quinn 67 run (pass failed)
BH: Chase Stietz 10 run (run failed)
Bel: Bahr 10 run (Bahr run)
Bel: Jeff Rufenacht 7 pass from Brody Milz (Rufenacht pass from Milz)
First downs — BH 16, B 17. Rushing — BH 38-300, B 31-141. Passing Yards — BH 112, RC 15. Passing — BH 5-8-1, B 12-21-0. Fumbles–lost — BH 0-0, B 2-1. Penalties-yards — BH 7-55, B 10-90.
Rushing — BH: Jacob Quinn 15-222; B: Jon Bahr 16-68. Passing — BH: Brody Milz 5-8-1, 75; B: Bahr 12-21-0, 198. Receiving — BH: Jett Rufenacht 3-54; B: Lane Kamps 5-124.