BELMONT — It took Shullsburg a full 48 minutes to notch their first victory of the season.
Belmont senior Raine Voigts scored on a two-yard run on the final play of regulation to put the host Braves into position to send the game into overtime, but the Miners stuffed their two-point conversion attempt to hang on for a thrilling 14–12 Six Rivers Conference win in the rain at BHS on Friday, Sept. 18.
“It was really nice to get a win. Our kids have been working hard and we have not caught a break,” admitted Shullsburg head coach Scott Matye.
The Braves (2–3 overall, 2–3 Six Rivers) trailed 14–0 going into the fourth quarter following a pair of touchdown hook-ups between Shullsburg quarterback Noah Wand and wide receiver Hunter Matye.
A pair of TD runs by the hosts in the fourth quarter set up a wild finish to their annual Fair Game.
Wand’s 43-yard TD connection with Matye put the Miners (1–4, 1–4) ahead 6–0 just over two minutes into the game, and the junior duo teamed up again on a 72-yard scoring strike with just 13 seconds remaining in the third quarter.
Junior running back Lance Lierman punched in what would turn out to be the winning two-point conversion run following the Miners’ second score to extend the lead to 14–0.
Belmont answered with a scoring drive of its own to fight its way back into the game. QB Quinn Cushman capped the drive with a 9-yard TD run to make it 14–6, but his extra-point kick was off the mark to leave the deficit at eight.
The Braves got the ball back with around two minutes to play and Cushman drove them right down the field for another score.
“Our guys played hard all night and never gave up,” said Belmont head coach Jason Weittenhiller. “Quinn ran a great two-minute offense to get us into the end zone. He threw some great balls and our receivers were able to make some guys miss in the open field.”
Voigts bulled in from the 2 as time expired to give the hosts a last ray of hope, but the Miners teamed up to stop senior Nate Knebel shy of the end zone on the potential game-tying conversion attempt to hang on for the victory.
“They ran an option and we read our keys very well,” recalled Matye. “Chris Trejo got to (Cushman) early and made him pitch it and Griffin Wiegel got off his block and turned (Knebel) in. Then, Lance got the initial hit on him with help coming from Hunter and Joey Meyer. I couldn’t have drawn it up better. It was one of our emphases this week, and they took it from the practice field to the game field.”
The Braves outgained the Miners on the night, 309–260, with slight edges on both the ground, 174–133, and through the air, 135–127; but they came up just a little short where it mattered most — on the scoreboard.
“We made some costly mistakes inside the red zone (earlier in the game) that cost us points. We need to clean those things up,” said Weittenhiller.
Wand completed three passes — all to Matye — for 127 yards and two touchdowns to lead the Shullsburg offense, while Lierman ran 18 times for 76 yards to guide the ground attack.
“The obvious key was a couple of big plays on offense from Wand to Matye, but I also thought we ran the ball well enough to change field position a couple of times,” said Shullsburg head coach Scott Matye.
Cushman spearheaded the Braves’ attack, rushing 25 times for 140 yards with a score and completing 11 of 23 passes for 135 yards. Knebel added 48 yards on 15 carries and three catches for another 34 yards, while senior Lane Kamps had four receptions for 59 yards.
Chris Trejo led the Miners’ D with 14 tackles, while freshman Oren Charles tallied 11 stops and Lierman chipped in with 10.
Josh Logsdon recorded six tackles, including two for a loss, for the Braves, while Cole Johnson and Cushman each had five tackles.
Despite the constant rain throughout the game, neither team committed a turnover.
Shullsburg will try to keep its momentum going when it returns home to host River Ridge (0–5, 0–5) in the Miners’ Homecoming Game at Badger Park on Saturday. Kickoff is set for 2 p.m.
Belmont heads to New Lisbon (4–1) for a non-conference game on Friday at 7 p.m.
“New Lisbon looks like a very solid football team,” added Weittenhiller. “We will need to play a mistake free game and slow down their running game.”
Shullsburg 14, Belmont 12
(from Friday, Sept. 18 @ Belmont)
Shullsburg 6 0 8 0 — 14
Belmont 0 0 0 12 — 12
S: Hunter Matye 43 pass from Noah Wand (kick failed)
S: Matye 72 pass from Wand (Lance Lierman run)
B: Quinn Cushman 9 run (kick failed)
B: Raine Voigts 2 run (run failed)
First downs — S 10, B 15. Rushing — S 30-133, B 44-174. Passing Yards — S 127, B 135. Passing — S 3-7-0, B 11-24-0. Fumbles–lost — S 0-0, B 2-0. Penalties-yards — S 3-15, B 3-15.
Rushing — S: Lance Lierman 18-76; B: Quinn Cushman 25-140. Passing — S: Noah Wand 3-7-0, 127; B: Quinn Cushman 11-23-0, 135. Receiving — S: Hunter Matye 3-127; B: Logan Kamps 4-59.