PLATTEVILLE – What a difference a year made for the Shullsburg Miners football team.
The Miners opened the season a year ago at the Six Rivers Conference Jamboree with a hard-to-swallow 70-22 loss to Cassville that saw the Comets scored 50 points in the second quarter alone on their way to a 64-6 halftime lead.
Fast forward one year and it was the Miners turn to start off like gangbusters, scoring 36 unanswered first-quarter points en route to a 56-0 non-conference victory over the Hillsboro Tigers at the 10th annual Six Rivers Jamboree held at UW-Platteville's Ralph E. Davis Pioneer Stadium on Saturday, Aug. 20.
“Last year was a total debacle and it set the tone for the season. Hopefully, this will do it again. But we can’t rest on this game. It’s just a non-conference win,” said Shullsburg head coach Scott Matye.
The Miners (2-0 overall, 1-0 SRC) already entered the game a winner after receiving a conference forfeit when Cassville pulled the plug on their varsity season. Hillsboro, who lost two season opener opponents before scheduling with the Miners, stepped in to fill the hole on Shullsburg’s scheduling thus giving the Miners a 2-0 record just one week into the season.
“We get a conference win for the Cassville game and we get a win on the field, so I guess we’re 2-0,” laughed Matye.
Senior running back Lance Lierman got the offense rolling with a 10-yard touchdown run on just their third play from scrimmage to put the Miners up 6-0 less than three and a half minutes into the game, and then the floodgates opened up.
An Oren Charles fumble recovery on the first play of the Tigers’ next drive led to a 5-yard TD pass from senior quarterback Noah Wand to senior receiver Hunter Matye. Wand ran in the conversion to make it 14-0.
Wand hooked up with Matye again on a 68-yard scoring strike on the Miners’ third possession of the quarter to make it 22-0, and a fumble recovery in the end zone by senior lineman Chris Trejo on a mishandled punt snap extended the lead to 30-0.
Lierman recovered another Tiger fumble at the Hillsoboro 26-yard line, and one play later Wand found senior tight end Joey Meyer wide open in the flat for his third TD pass of the opening quarter to make it 36-0.
“We know we are a fast team, and we have everyone healthy. We were joking that maybe we could play on the turf every week,” Coach Matye commented.
Lierman added a 9-yard TD run early in the second quarter to push the Miners' lead to 42-0. It remained there until the halftime intermission.
With a running clock to start the second half, the Shullsburg starters got one more chance on offense and they hit pay dirt once again with senior Ben Sigwarth running in from five yards out with 8:31 to go in the third quarter to make it 48-0.
The Miner reserves got into the scoring act with 1:25 to play when sophomore running back Oscar Ortiz cut loose on a 19-yard TD run and he would add the two-point conversion to close the scoring at 56-0.
“I was really happy with a lot of things we did. These kids looked like seniors who have played on varsity for three years because most of them have. They are ready to shine. I was happy with the varsity’s level of play the whole game. We didn’t get silly, and we didn’t get sloppy. We kept a really good level of intensity the whole game,” noted Matye. “I was also very pleased with the back-ups. One of my biggest pet peeves is when we start subbing out and it looks like a circus. I thought our kid kids did some really good things and looked sharp at times.”
The Miners finished with 360 yards of total offense on the day after rushing 46 times for 261 yards with four TDs and completing all three of their passes for 99 and three more scores. Sigwarth led the way with 91 yards and a TD on 11 carries, while Lierman ran 12 times for 84 yards and two TDs and Ortiz carried it nine times for 45 yards and a TD.
Wand went 3-for-3 through the air for 99 yards and all three went for touchdowns. Matye hauled in two catches for 73 yards and two scores.
Defensively, Trejo recorded a team-high eight tackles and had one of the Miners’ four fumble recoveries. Lierman and Charles each had four tackles and a fumble recovery. Meyer jumped on another fumble and seniors William Martin and Alan Montayne each forced a fumble.
Things pick up immensely for the Miners in week two as they host Black Hawk (1-0) in their Six Rivers and home opener at Badger Park at 7 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 26. The Warriors defeated Belmont, 52-0, in their opener at UWP last Saturday.
Hillsboro...... 0 0 0 0 – 0
Shullsburg... 36 6 6 8 – 56
S – Lance Lierman, 10 run (kick failed)
S – Hunter Matye, 5 pass from Noah Wand (Wand run)
S – Matye, 68 pass from Wand (Wand run)
S – Chris Trejo, fumble recovery in end zone (Nate Wedige run)
S – Joey Meyer, 26 pass from Wand (kick failed)
S – Lierman, 9 run (kick failed)
S – Ben Sigwarth, 5 run (kick failed)
S – Oscar Ortiz, 19 run (Ortiz run)
Team Stats: First Downs– H 3; S 21. Rushing– H 0-0; S 46-261. Passing– H 0-0-0, 179; S 3-3-0, 99. Fumbles-Lost– H 4-4; S 0-0. Penalties– H 6-30; S 3-21.
Shullsburg Leaders: Rushing (Att-Yds-Td)– Ben Sigwarth, 11-91-1; Lance Lierman, 12-84-2; Oscar Ortiz, 9-45-1. Passing (Comp-Att-Int-Td-Yds)– Noah Wand, 3-3-0-3, 99. Receiving (Cat-Yds-Td)– Hunter Matye, 2-73-2; Joey Meyer, 1-26-1.