BELMONT – After missing the first two weeks of the season due to injuries he suffered over the summer, Shullsburg’s junior quarterback Jacob Berendes made up for lost time by tossing two touchdown passes and adding two conversions to lift the visiting Miners to a 22-10 victory over the Belmont Braves in a Six Rivers Conference prep football game held at BHS on Friday, Sept. 1.
The win was the first for Shullsburg’s first-year head coach Andy Paulson as the Miners moved to 1-2 on the season and in SRC play. Belmont slipped to 1-2 overall and 0-2 in league play with the loss.
“It’s pretty awesome. After the success we had last year, I kind of expected this moment to come earlier, but I’ll take later over never anytime,” said Paulson. “The coach in me also immediately started thinking of the things that we did wrong during the game and what we need to do to correct them. We had some missed blocks and dropped balls on offense, we need to break down and wrap up better when tackling, and I need to control my emotions better on the sideline.”
Neither team could generate any scoring opportunities in the first half as the two rivals battled to a 0-0 stalemate over the first 24 minutes of play.
The Miners came out strong in the second half and got on the scoreboard right away with Berendes hooking up with Griffin Weigel on a 21-yard touchdown pass. The duo also hooked up for the two-point conversion to put the Miners up 8-0 at the 9:57 mark of the third quarter.
Belmont answered right back with a scoring drive of their own to even the game at eight all. Junior fullback Ethan James capped the drive with a 1-yard TD run, and Jacob Amenda teamed with Isaac Wiegel on the conversion to tie the game with 7:29 remaining in the third quarter.
Shullsburg regained the lead on a 10-yard TD jaunt by junior running back Oscar Ortiz with 2:09 to play in the third, and the Miners were back into the end zone less than a minute into the fourth quarter when Berendes connected with Wand once again on an 18-yard TD pass. Berendes ran in the conversion to extend the lead to 22-8 with 11:03 to play.
The score remained there until late in the game when the Miners took a safety to make the final score 22-10.
Shullsburg nearly doubled up Belmont on offense, finishing with 293 total yards to the Braves’ 151 yards, including a 164-49 edge in passing and a 129-102 edge in rushing for the game.
“I think our ability to run the ball was a major factor in our victory. As a spread team, I guess we are expected to throw the ball every play, but when a team becomes one-dimensional it makes them less effective,” commented Paulson. “I also think our defensive line really came to play this week. They did an excellent job keeping their QB contained and allowing our linebackers to flow freely to the ball.”
Berendes finished 9-of-23 through the air for 164 yards with two touchdowns and an interception. Wand, who started at quarterback for the Miners in their first two games and threw for 427 yards and two TDs, caught two passes for 25 yards and a touchdown.
Ortiz ran 19 times for 133 yards and a TD. Troy Turpin had three catches for 78 yards and Griffin Wiegel added four catches for 62 yards and a TD for the Miners.
Amenda went 8-for-17 passing for 49 yards with two picks, and he rushed for 48 yards on 20 carries to lead the Braves. Connor Wiegel ran 12 times for 49 yards, and I. Wiegel caught three passes for 20 yards on the night.
Isaac Hoppman led the Shullsburg defense with 10 tackles, including two for loss; while Oren Charles recorded eight tackles with two TFLs and an interception. Kyle Klotz added two TFLs, Wand had an interception and Logan Glasgow registered a sack for the Miners.
Riley Christensen led Belmont’s D with 10 tackles, four TFLs, a half-sack and a safety. Mitchell Douglas added 10 tackles with a sack, and Michael Douglas tallied eight tackles with three-and-a-half TFLs and a sack and a half. Brady Wedig and Cody Lindholm had sacks for the Braves, and C. Wiegel had an interception.
Shullsburg will host Benton/Scales Mound (1-2, 1-2) in their home opener on Friday, Sept. 8, beginning at 7 p.m., while Belmont travels to Bloomington to face River Ridge (1-2, 1-1) in a Six Rivers Conference contest on Friday evening, also starting at 7 p.m.
Shullsburg… 0 0 14 8 – 22
Belmont…….. 0 0 8 2 – 10
S – Griffin Wiegel, 21 pass from Jake Berendes (Wand pass from Berendes)
B – Ethan James, 1 run (Isaac Wiegel pass from Jacob Amenda)
S – Oscar Ortiz, 10 run (2-pt failed)
S – Wand, 18 pass from Berendes (Berendes run)
B – Safety, Riley Christensen tackles Aiden Dole in end zone
Team Stats: First Downs– S 18, B 14. Rushing– S 38-129; B 36-102. Passing– S 9-23-1, 164; B 8-17-2, 49. Fumbles-Lost– S 0-0; B 1-0. Penalties- S 9-95; B 9-85.
Individual Leaders: Shulls– Rushing (Att-Yds-Td)– Oscar Ortiz, 19-133-1. Passing (Comp-Att-Int-Td-Yds)– Jacob Berendes, 9-23-1-2, 164. Receiving (Cat-Yds-Td)– Troy Turpin, 3-78-0; Griffin Wiegel 4-62-1; Alex Wand, 2-25-1. Bel– Rushing (Att-Yds-Td)– Connor Wiegel, 12-49-0; Jacob Amenda, 20-48-0. Passing (Comp-Att-Int-Td-Yds)– Amenda, 8-17-2-0, 49. Receiving (Cat-Yds-Td)– Isaac Wiegel, 3-20-0.