POTOSI — Pride, Persistence and Power.
Those are the three P’s coach Mark Siegert has instilled into every member of this year’s Potosi/Cassville football team, and it’s those three P’s that have made the first-year co-op a force to be reckoned with.
After knocking off River Ridge 55–10 in the first round of the WIAA division 7 playoffs a week earlier, coach Siegert’s squad routed visiting Wauzeka/Seneca 56–18 in WIAA Level 2 playoff action Friday night.
The challenge undoubtedly gets a lot tougher at Level 3, where Potosi/Cassville (9–2) will meet up with Six Rivers Conference champion and top-seeded Black Hawk (11–0) for another shot at the Warriors Friday at 7 p.m..
These two teams first met in the second week of the regular season, where Black Hawk posted a 30–12 victory over Siegert’s squad. The Chieftains committed six turnovers in that first meeting.
Potosi/Cassville had little trouble with their opponents from the Ridge & Valley Conference last week, as they scored at will on offense, and dominated the BlueGolds on defense.
Potosi/Cassville scored touchdowns on all seven first-half possessions and recovered a fumble for another score, accounting for 56 points in the just the first 24 minutes of play.
“It was great to be able to get off to a fast start, because I think anytime you’re playing in conditions that are not great, I’ve always thought that if you can get up a couple scores, that it really, really compounds that lead or that deficit, wherever you are on that spectrum,” said Siegert.
“I remember playing in games where if the weather is brutal and you get down by a couple scores, it’s hard to dig out of. I think that had a lot to do with the momentum that we gained by getting off to an early start in those conditions.”
Defensively, Potosi/Cassville never allowed Wauzeka/Seneca to cross midfield in the first half, and often times put the visitors in third-and-long situations with tackles for loss.
The Potosi/Cassville defense also caused five fumbles in the first half, recovering four, including one in the end zone by senior Austin Schmitz that made it 14–0 early on.
The only score in the first half for Wauzeka/Seneca came on special teams, when Nate Benish took a kickoff 82 yards down the visitors’ sideline for the touchdown, trimming the home team’s lead to 36–6 with 9:26 to play in the second quarter.
Coach Siegert’s squad used a balanced offensive attack that kept Wauzeka/Seneca guessing all night long, striking on the ground and through the air.
Despite the starters playing only in the first half, Potosi/Cassville concluded the contest with 274 yards rushing and seven touchdowns on 42 attempts. The Chieftains also managed 196 yards through the air on nine completions.
“To beat teams going forward, I think we’re going to have to be balanced,” said Siegert. “There’s going to be times when a team shuts you down, and you’re going to have to have an answer for it. It’s important that we were able to be efficient throwing the football so that we can move forward.”
Through the air, junior quarterback Will Bierman completed 9 of 15 passing attempts for 196 yards. Junior halfback Brady Curtis caught two passes for 82 yards, while senior split end Alex Udelhofen hauled in four passes for 61 yards.
On the ground, the home team was led by junior Ty Bausch, who ran for 137 yards and four touchdowns on 14 attempts. He now has 1,042 yards and 17 TDs on the season after playing in just eight games.
Senior running back Dylan Pluemer added 87 yards and three TDs on 11 carries, and now has 1,077 yards and 21 TDs on the year, giving Potosi/Cassville two 1,000-yard rushers.
Of course nothing happens without the big boys up front, and Potosi/Cassville has a group of offensive linemen that are more than capable of doing the heavy lifting.
On the O-line, coach Siegert has juniors Kaleb Hauk (C), Cyrus Siegert (RG) and Mason Infield (TE), along with seniors Brandon Kinyon (LG), Max Udelhoven (LT), Ben Wheeler (RT) and Nic Spriggs (TE).
“They were focused, and they were definitely dialed in on Friday night,” said Siegert of his entire team. “They knew what their jobs were and they followed through with them with a lot of energy.”
Defensively for Potosi/Cassville, Cyrus Siegert had a team-high eight tackles and one sack, while Pluemer had six tackles, and Kurt Cardey and Brandon Klein each had five.
Coming up with fumble recoveries were Ethan Groom, Udelhofen, Cardey, Wheeler and Nate Wieseler, as well as Schmitz.
The Potosi/Cassville defense also had five sacks on the night, one each coming from Groom, Udelhofen and Siegert, while Bausch, Logan Schmitz, Brock Rojemann and Brandon Klein each had half a sack.
Coach Siegert’s squad now gears up for a rematch with league-leading and top-seeded Black Hawk, who is coming off dominating victories over North Crawford (68–0) and Iowa-Grant (68–15).
For coach Siegert, it’s no mystery what his team must do in order to be more competitive than the first time they played the Warriors.
“We have to limit turnovers, because last time we saw them, we had six turnovers,” Siegert said. “That’s a big reason why we didn’t perform really well. Also, controlling the line of scrimmage was something that we were struggling with in that week-two game.
“If you look back, that was 10 weeks ago now. That’s a long time ago. There was a lot of potential for growth, and we’re not the same team we were in week two. I’m looking forward to seeing how much we’ve actually grown from there.”
On the year, Black Hawk averages 53 points per game, while giving up an average of just 8.4 points per contest.
The Warriors average 354.5 yards rushing per contest and 80.4 yards passing, while allowing an average of 84.4 yards rushing and 25.6 yards passing per contest.
Potosi/Cassville comes into Friday night’s contest averaging 47.7 points per game, while allowing 15.7 points per contest.
On the ground they average 305.8 yards rushing per game and give up an average of 111.5 to their opponents. Through the air they average 115.7 yards, while giving up just 51.3 yards per contest to their opponents.
WIAA Division 7 Level II playoff
(from Friday, Oct. 27 @ Potosi)
Wauzeka/Seneca 0 6 6 6 — 18
Potosi/Cassville 29 27 0 0 — 56
P/C: Ty Bausch 5-yard run (Cyrus Siegert kick)
P/C: Austisn Schmitz fumble recovery in the end zone (Siegert kick)
P/C: Bausch 3-yard run (Siegert kick)
P/C: Bausch 8-yard run (Will Bierman pass to Dylan Pluemer)
P/C: Pluemer 3-yard run (Siegert kick)
W/S: Nate Benish 82-yard kick return (pass failed)
P/C: Puemer 3-yard run (Siegert kick)
P/C: Bausch 15-yard run (kick failed)
P/C: Pluemer 2-yard run (Siegert kick)
W/S: Austin Hagensick 9-yard run (run failed)
W/S: Benish 27-yard run (run failed)
First downs — W/S 7, P/C 17. Rushing – W/S 32-115, P/C 42-274. Passing (comp-att-int, yards) — W/S 2-6-0, 12. P/C 9-15-0, 196. Fumbles-lost – W/S 5-4, P/C 1-0. Penalties-yards — W/S 3-40, P/C 3-20.
Rushing — W/S: Noah Allen 7-45. P/C: Ty Bausch 14-137, Dylan Pluemer 11-87. Passing — W/S: Jared Payne 2-6-0, 12. P/C: Will Bierman 9-15-0, 196. Receiving — W/S: Isaac Byrne 1-10. P/C: Brady Curtis 2-82, Alex Udelhofen 4-61. Tackles — P/C: Cyrus Siegert 8, Dylan Pluemer 6, Kurt Cardy 5, Brandon Klein 5. W/S: Garrett Groom 8, Jared Payne 7, Jacob Bird 7.