LIVINGSTON — Mineral Point quarterback Scott Pittz finally found a rhythm in the second half of Friday’s SWAL football game at Iowa–Grant.
After being held without a completion and to just 20 yards rushing in the opening half, the senior standout solved the Panthers’ defense in the final 24 minutes.
Pittz completed six passes for 94 yards, including a 30-yard TD pass to Dane Pfaff, after halftime and rushed for three second-half scores as he led the visitors to 36 unanswered points as the Pointers overcame a 22-point halftime deficit to stun host Iowa–Grant, 50–36.
“Pittz can hurt you in several ways,” said Iowa–Grant head coach Gary Allen. “Mineral Point did everything better in the second half. That made Pittz even more dangerous because we had to defend the pass, Sanchez, and Pittz. They got going and we couldn’t stop them.”
Pittz finished the night 6 of 16 passing for 94 yards with one touchdown and one interception. He also rushed for 96 yards and three TDs on 24 carries.
Junior Lucas Sanchez added 177 yards rushing and three touchdowns for the Pointers (5–1, 3–1 SWAL).
Iowa–Grant (4–2, 3–1) dominated the first half behind a five-touchdown performance from senior Brayden Johnson before it all fell apart.
Johnson scored twice in the opening quarter on a 16-yard run and a 1-yard run with 5:21 left in the period to give the Panthers an early 12–0 lead.
Junior Caleb Hill tossed a four-yard touchdown pass to senior Acea Upmann with 15 seconds left in the quarter to extend the lead to 18–0. The rout was on, or so it appeared.
Sanchez got the Pointers on the board with a 41-yard TD run 1:17 into the second quarter.
But Johnson and I–G answered right back. Johnson’s third touchdown run of the night from three yards out made it 24–7 with 8:06 left in the half.
On Mineral Point’s very next play from scrimmage Sanchez scored from 54 yards out to make it 24–14.
Just 17 seconds later Johnson was taking it the other way, from 51 yards out, to make it 30–14. Johnson added a fifth touchdown on a 17-yard pass from Hill with 3:13 left in the half to make it 36–14. Johnson has now rushed for 1,194 yards and 19 TDs on 208 carries through six games, all are conference highs.
“Brayden seems to be getting stronger and better as the season goes on,” said Allen. “He runs very aggressively and takes good care of the ball.”
Pittz began Mineral Point’s comeback effort with a six-yard touchdown run three minutes into the second half.
A Sanchez 30-yard run pulled the Pointer within eight points at 36–30.
Mineral Point intercepted a Hill pass on the ensuing drive and a few plays later Pittz tossed a 30-yard touchdown pass to Pfaff then added the two-point conversion run to tie the game at 36–36 with 41 seconds left in the third quarter.
Point took the lead for good at the 4:55 mark of the fourth quarter when Pittz scored from a yard out.
The senior quarterback completed Point’s shocking 36-point half two-yard touchdown run with five seconds left in the game.
“Our kids started the game with a lot of intensity,” said Allen. “They were focused on their jobs and played well together. In the second half we had a mental let down and Mineral Point took it up a notch. We didn’t match their intensity.”
Iowa–Grant will look to rebound Friday at Fennimore (3–3, 2–2).
“Fennimore has gotten healthy the last couple weeks,” added Allen. “They have some size and speed. We will need to play well.”
Mineral Point 50, Iowa–Grant 36
(from Friday, Sept. 25 @ Livingston)
Mineral Point 0 14 22 14 — 50
Iowa–Grant 18 18 0 0 — 36
IG: Brayden Johnson 16 run (conversion failed)
IG: Johnson 1 run (conversion failed)
IG: Acea Upmann 4 pass from Caleb Hill (conversion failed)
MP: Lucas Sanchez 41 run (kick good)
IG: Johnson 3 run (conversion failed)
MP: Sanchez 54 run (kick good)
IG: Johnson 51 run (conversion failed)
IG: Johnson 17 pass from Hill (conversion failed)
MP: Scott Pittz 6 run (kick good)
MP: Sanchez 30 run (kick good)
MP: Dane Pfaff 30 pass from Pittz (Pittz run)
MP: Pittz 1 run (kick good)
MP: Pittz 2 run (kick good)
First downs — MP 12, IG 16. Rushing — MP 45-328, IG 53-341. Passing — MP 6-16-1, 94; IG 7-14-2, 88. Fumbles–lost — MP 0-0, IG 0-0. Penalties-yards — MP n/a-80, IG n/a-40.
Rushing — MP: Sanchez 11-177, Pittz 24-96; IG: Brayden Johnson 42-286. Passing — MP: Pittz 6-16-1, 94; IG: Caleb Hill 7-14-2, 88. Receiving — MP: Pfaff 3-66; IG: Charles Christiansen 2-29, Zach Campbell 2-21.