SHULLSBURG – Shullsburg’s double-barreled rushing duo of Nate Carrier and Jacob Scott was a tad bit more lethal than River Ridge six-shooter Joel Mezera on Friday night.
Mezera had an outstanding night for the Timberwolves rushing 41 times for 339 yards and six touchdowns, but he was outdone by Carrier and Scott who combined for 492 of the Miners’ 538 offensive and return yards on the night and matched Mezera with six scores.
However, despite all that offense, it was a couple of stops made by the Shullsburg defense that made all the difference as the Miners held off the visiting Timberwolves, 43-41, in a wild and woolly Six Rivers Conference shoot-out at Badger Park on Friday, Sept. 30.
Mezera got the night rolling with a 1-yard TD run just over five minutes into the game and the rush was on. Zach Raisbeck’s extra point pushed the guests out to a 7-0 lead.
With the ‘Wolves bent on stopping Carrier when the Miners had the ball, Scott stepped up big time for the hosts early ripping off TD runs of 26 and 64 yards to put the Miners on top 15-7.
“It was great that (Jacob) did that. They were really ganging up to stop Nate. Then, as (Jacob) had success, Nate started having success because (River Ridge) had to spread themselves out,” said Shullsburg coach Scott Matye.
Then, Mezera and Carrier started trading scores the rest of the night. The River Ridge junior hit pay dirt on runs of nine, 30, 55, three and 59 yards to help his team keep pace with the Miners, but the speedy Shullsburg senior countered with scores of 10, 81, 15 and 47 yards to thrust the hosts back into the lead.
After busting loose from 81 yards out to break a 22 all tie, Carrier came up with another key play when he completed a pass to freshman quarterback Brett Matye for a two-point conversion to stretch the lead to 30-22.
The ‘Wolves would spend the rest of the night chasing those two points.
Following Mezera’s 55-yard jaunt late in the third quarter, the Miners stopped a two-point conversion attempt to preserve the lead.
The Miners missed a PAT following Carrier’s 47-yard score to keep the ‘Wolves within striking distance at 43-35; however, after Mezera ripped off a 59-yard TD run, the Miners stuffed the junior on the conversion to maintain a 43-41 advantage with 3:32 to play.
The T’Wolves got the ball back in Shullsburg territory with just over two minutes to play thanks to a Miner fumble; but on fourth-and-5 at the 35, Mezera was held to a three-yard gain to seal the victory for the hosts.
“I guess one stop’s better than none. But, that’s about all we had. (Mezera) was tough,” Matye stated.
Carrier finished with 209 rushing yards on 21 carries with four TDs and he added one catch for five yards and one punt return for 16 yards for 230 all-purpose yards.
Scott added 165 rushing yards on 16 carries with two scores, and he tacked on two long kickoff returns for 97 yards to total 262 all-purpose yards on the night.
River Ridge ran 64 times total for 434 yards (6.8 ypc.), while Shullsburg rushed for 388 yards on 40 carries (9.7 ypc.).
Defensively, sophomore Connor Crotty was in on 21 tackles, including 12 solo stops; while Trejo added 11 tackles and three PATs. Bradley Sigwarth and Andrew Uehling each had nine tackles for the Miner.
The Miners head to Belmont (3-4, 2-4) for a key SRC game on Friday, Oct. 7. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.
River Ridge… 7 8 13 13 - 7
Shullsburg…. 7 15 8 13 - 42
RR – Mezera, 1 run (Raisbeck kick)
S – Jacob Scott, 26 run (Hervey Trejo kick)
S – Scott, 64 run (Brett Knautz fumble recovery)
RR – Mezera, 9 run (Ertz run)
S – Nate Carrier, 10 run (Hervey Trejo kick)
RR – Mezera, 30 run (Raisbeck kick)
S – Nate Carrier, 81 run (Brett Matye pass from Carrier)
RR – Mezera, 55 run (run failed)
S – Nate Carrier, 15 run (Trejo kick)
RR – Mezera, 3 run (Raisbeck kick)
S – Nate Carrier, 47 run (kick failed)
RR – Mezera, 59 run (run failed)
Team Stats: First Downs- RR 17; S 10. Rushing- RR 64-434; S 40-388. Passing- RR 2-5-0, 6; S 2-2-0, 7. Fumbles-Lost- RR 1, S 2. Penalties- RR 1-5, S 3-14.
Shullsburg Leaders: Rushing (Att-Yds-Td)- Nate Carrier 21-209-4, Jacob Scott 16-165-2. Passing (Comp-Att-Int-Td-Yds)- Brett Matye, 2-2-0-0, 7. Receiving (Cat-Yds-Td)- Carrier 1-5-0.