PLATTEVILLE - As three-time defending champs of the Six Rivers conference, the Potosi Chieftains kicked off the 2011 football season in impressive fashion Saturday afternoon, by posting a convincing 40-0 victory over Cassville on the turf at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville.
Under head coach Mark Siegert, the Chieftains have put together a three-year conference record of 23-1 coming into this season. On the flip side, Cassville enters this year with a combined league mark of 4-20 from 2008 to 2010.
Saturday’s opener at the Sixth Annual Six Rivers Football Jamboree, was all Potosi, who managed 410 yards of total offense to Cassville’s 110.
For a program that averaged 289 yards rushing per game last season, it may come as a surprise to know that most of Potosi’s damage on Saturday came through the air.
Junior quarterback Tim Fritz finished his season debut with 323 yards and three touchdowns, while completing 14-of-16 passing attempts.
“He’s able to throw on the run from either direction, and he’s really worked hard at being able to mechanically be sound in whatever he does, whether its drop back or sprint outs,” said Potosi coach Mark Siegert of Fritz. “He does a good job of just managing the game and getting his body in the correct position to throw all the time. He’s going to be a good one.”
The Chieftains also ran the ball 27 times for 187 yards, and scored three more touchdowns, but coach Mark Siegert looks for his team to utilize a more balanced attack during the 2011 season.
“I hope we’re able to throw the ball,” said Siegert when asked what to expect this season. “It’s important to us to be able to run the football too. I think if you’re going to win consistently, you need to run the football really well.”
“We have some really talented kids, and we just need to get the ball in their hands, let the linemen do their thing and the backs do their thing and we should be fine,” Siegert added.
Leading the Potosi ground attack was Tom Keene, who carried the ball three times for 73 yards and one TD.
Fritz connected with fellow junior Mitchell Langkamp for the team’s first two scores, but it was sophomore Chase Kruser who led the team with eight catches for 170 yards.
Langkamp hauled in a 29-yard TD pass on Potosi’s first possession, capping off an eight-play drive that began back at the 42-yard line.
Fritz and Langkamp then connected on a seven-yard TD pass midway through the second quarter, which was set up by two big completions to Kruser.
The Chieftains nearly scored on their second possession of the game, but a fourth-and-goal from the one-yard line was stuffed by the Comet defense.
After senior linebacker Tom Keene recovered a Cassville fumble at the 49-yard line, the Chieftains used just two plays to extend their lead to 21-0, as junior running back Alex Wright found the end zone from 27 yards out.
The second half began with an eight-play Cassville drive that stalled at midfield.
Following a punt, Potosi took over at their own 16-yard line, but needed just one play, a wide receiver screen to junior Jase Udelhofen, to bust out an 84 yard TD.
Following the extra-point kick by Fritz, and the ensuing kick off, a pass attempt by Garrett Schauff was picked off by Keene at the 32-yard line.
The Chieftains gave the ball right back to Keene on the very next play, and the senior speedster raced 68 yards to pay dirt for a 34-0 lead.
Potosi’s final TD came on the first play of the fourth quarter when Jase Udelhofen scored on a 23-yard run to make it 40-0.
It’s fair to say that none of Potosi’s offensive production would have been possible if not for the job of the offensive line.
“There again, kids have really stepped up, and we’ve had to replace everybody but one person from last year’s team,” said Siegert. “But there are kids that have worked tremendously hard and waited their turn, and during that time they’ve just done everything they’ve been asked to as far as preparation, strength development and all that stuff. Now that they are afforded an opportunity, they’re going to take it.”
Starting on the offensive line during Saturday’s opener were: senior Brett McMahon (6’0”, 210) at center, seniors Kyle Scholl (6’0”. 165) and Alex Reinecke (5’11”, 190) at guards, and senior Eric Hinderman (6’3”, 190) and junior Tyler Udelhoven (6’0”, 250) at the two tackle positions.
After the Comets were forced to punt on their next possession, the game turned into a J.V. contest with nearly nine minutes to play.
Coach Doug Fure’s Comets finished the game with 91 yards rushing on 37 attempts, while senior quarterback Garrett Schauff completed 3-of-7 passing attempts for 19 yards and one interception.
Throughout the entire contest, Cassville never managed to cross Potosi’s 40-yard line, as the Cassville offense never mounted any real scoring threat.
Senior Dakota Bernhardt led the Comets with 50 yards rushing on 14 carries, while Dallas Bernhardt added 33 yards on 11 carries.
Defensively, Cassville was led by Schauff and Dallas Bernhardt, each of whom had nine total tackles, while Dakota had eight.
With their season opening loss to the Chieftains, you can rest assured second-year coach Doug Fure will be making some adjustments for their next opponent.
“We need to work on our pass coverage,” said Cassville coach Fure. Tim Fritz is a very good quarterback, and the couple of times we did actually get pressure on him, he still completed it.”
“One positive, is that it seemed like the mistakes we made are all fixable,” Fure added. “It’s all stuff that we can go over in practice, it’s all stuff that we can fix.”
This Friday night, Potosi travels to South Wayne to take on the 1-0 Black Hawk Warriors, while Cassville hosts Pecatonica/Argyle, who lost a non-conference game to New Glarus-Monticello last week.
On the injury front, missing out on Saturday’s game for Potosi were starting outside linebacker Spencer Hawes and two-way starter Hunter Leibfried.
Cassville was without the services of two-way starter Chance Clauer, who had other obligations last week, but should be in action the rest of the season.
Potosi 40, Cassville 0
(from Saturday, Aug. 20, at UW-Platteville)
Cassville 0 0 0 0 - 0
Potosi 7 14 13 6 - 40
P - Mitchell Langkamp, 29-yard pass from Tim Fritz (Fritz kick)
P - Langkamp, 7-yard pass from Fritz (Fritz kick)
P - Alex Wright, 27-yard run (Fritz kick)
P - Jase Udelhofen, 84-yard pass from Fritz (Fritz kick)
P - Tom Keene, 68-yard run (kick failed)
P - J. Udelhofen, 23-yard run (kick failed)
First downs - C 6, P 17. Rushing - C 37-91, P 27-187. Passing yards - C 19, P 323. Passes - C 3-8-1, P 14-16-0. Fumbles lost - C 3, P 0. Penalties-yards - C 5-23, P 5-30.
Rushing - C: Dakota Bernhardt 14-50, Dallas Bernhardt 11-33; P: Keene 3-73. Passing - C: Garrett Schauff 3-7-1, 19; P: Fritz 14-16-0, 323. Receiving - C: Heisz 1-17; P: Chase Kruser 8-170.