Platteville football fans might have wondered how the Hillmen would respond after their first loss of the season.
They got their answer one half into Friday’s game against undefeated Dodgeville at Ralph E. Davis Pioneer Stadium.
The Hillmen defense harassed Dodgeville quarterback Austin Larson all night in the Hillmen’s 44–7 win over the previously undefeated Dodgers. It was also Platteville’s 10th straight victory over the Dodgers dating back to a 2003 loss.
“We needed to get the taste of last week’s game out of our mouths,” said Platteville head coach Scott Statz. “We knew we were a better team than we showed the week before. The kids’ focus and determination all week in practice was impressive.”
Larson was 22 of 36 for 283 yards and one touchdown through the air. On the ground, however, Larson lost 80 yards through a combination of quarterback sacks and negative-yardage runs. Dodgeville’s offense lost 77 yards on the ground.
Logan Butson, Nate Fiedler and Mitch Fure each had a pair of sacks in the win.
Meanwhile, junior B.J. Cooley rushed for 144 yards and a touchdown. Sophomore Jacob Bernhardt rushed for 83 yards and two touchdowns and returned a kickoff 80 yards for a touchdown. Senior quarterback Josh Bernhardt threw two touchdown passes to junior Derek Schambow.
Big plays set up most of Platteville’s scores. A 40-yard pass from Josh Bernhardt to Fure set up Cooley’s touchdown to start the second quarter, ending a five-play 67-yard drive. Jacob Bernhardt’s 20-yard run paid off with his own 6-yard touchdown run to end a seven-play 48-yard drive. A 42-yard pass to Ryan Weber set up a 25-yard James Bailie field goal, after a Cooley touchdown was wiped out on a holding penalty. Cooley’s 38-yard run set up the second of Schambow’s two touchdown catches, a 28-yard catch with 3:54 left in the third.
The Hillmen put the Dodgers away on defense and special teams before and after halftime. After Bailie’s field goal, the Dodgers drove from their own 30 to the Platteville 20-yard line. But a fourth-and-5 became a fourth-and-15 after consecutive false starts, and Larson’s throw to Dodgeville’s Jason Gullickson sailed out of bounds just before the half.
Jacob Bernhardt’s kickoff return to start the second half completed the 14-point swing.
“That was big,” said Statz of the kick return. “We blocked it well and stayed on the blocks and Jake Bernhardt had a couple great cuts in the open field.”
After completing a five-yard pass to Fiedler on fourth-and-2, Josh Bernhardt threw a 19-yard touchdown pass to Schambow to conclude a six-play 37-yard scoring drive.
Josh Bernhardt was 7 of 13 for 146 yards and two touchdowns.
Platteville will play its third consecutive undefeated team at River Valley Friday. The experience against the pass-happy Dodgers will be handy given that Blackhawk quarterback Carter Hoffman threw for three scores in their 44–8 win over Richland Center.
“It will be a battle,” said Statz. “River Valley is very good and a really physical team. We need to trust the process, have a great week in practice, and play Hillmen Football Friday night. We need to believe in ourselves and each other and stay in the fight.
The Hillmen need to win two of their remaining three games — at River Valley Friday, Richland Center Oct. 5, and at Prairie du Chien Oct. 12 — to qualify for the WIAA playoffs.
Platteville 44, Dodgeville 7
(from Friday, Sept. 21 @ Dodgeville)
Dodgeville 0 0 0 7 — 7
Platteville 0 17 27 0 — 44
P: B.J. Cooley 2 run (James Bailie kick)
P: Jacob Bernhardt 1 run (Bailie kick)
P: FG Bailie 25
P: Jacob Bernhardt 80 kick return (Bailie kick)
P: Derek Schambow 19 pass from Josh Bernhardt (Bailie kick)
P: Schambow 28 pass from Josh Bernhardt (Bailie kick)
P: Jacob Bernhardt 41 run (Bailie kick)
D: Yeager 3 pass from Larson (Hanson kick)
First downs: D 11, P 11. Rushing: D 16- (-77), P 33-232. Passing Yards: D 283, P 146. Passing: D 22-37-1, P 7-13-0. Fumbles–lost: D 2-0, D 0-0. Penalties-yards: D 5-35, P 8-95.
Rushing: D: Yeager 7-3; P: B.J. Cooley 18–144. Passing: D: Larson 22-36-1, 283; P: Josh Bernhardt 7-14-0, 146. Receiving: D: Crowley 5-105; P: Derek Schambow 2-47.