Friday night Platteville’s Derek Schambow returned to the lineup and his Hillmen teammates eagerly greeted the senior standout with open arms.
Schambow spent the previous three weeks as a spectator after suffering a severely sprained knee in a season-opening victory over Darlington on Aug. 23.
But Friday night, he was back on the field making life difficult for a number of Richland Center defenders, catching four passes for 113 yards, including three acrobatic touchdown grabs.
Schambow’s immediate impact lifted Platteville to a 56–13 Parents’ Night victory over the outmanned Hornets and breathed hope into Platteville dreams of a possible late-season playoff push.
The Hillmen snapped a three-game conference losing streak and improved to 2–3 overall and 1–3 in the SWC. They would need to win at least three of their final four games to become playoff eligible, and with a rematch with undefeated juggernaut Lancaster looming on Oct. 11, Platteville has little room for error.
The Hillmen travel to winless Prairie du Chien (0–5, 0–4) this Friday before traveling to Dodgeville (3–2, 2–2) on Oct. 4.
“Right now, we need to focus on ourselves and just playing at a consistent level for an entire game,” said Hillmen head coach Scott Statz. “One game at a time is the name of the game. We were very proud of how the kids responded. They have worked very hard and the progress was evident. Our goals are all still very attainable.”
Running backs William Cooley and Jacob Bernhardt combined to rush for 320 yards and three touchdowns, and senior quarterback Logan Butson completed 5 of 10 passes for 175 yards and a career-high four touchdown passes in Friday night’s win.
Butson threw touchdown passes of 8, 44 and 46 yards to Schambow, and also tossed a 62-yard TD pass to sophomore tight end Mitch Knockel late in the first quarter to give Platteville a 21–7 lead.
The Hillmen actually scored on three straight offensive plays during that stretch.
Cooley, who rushed for a game-high 179 yards on 18 carries, scored on an 11-yard run with 4:50 left in the first quarter. Then Knockel hit Butson on a tight end seem route four minutes later on the first play after a 1-yard quarterback sneak by Center’s John Paul Peckham.
One play after a Hornet punt, Bernhardt hit a gap and raced 74 yards for a 28–7 lead just 1:06 into the second quarter. He also scored on a 14-yard run later in the second quarter. Bernhardt finished the game with a career-high 141 yards on 10 carries.
Schambow made a great leaping catcher over a defender preventing a possible interception on a up-for-grabs long ball, then side stepped a tackle and jogged into the end zone for a 44-yard TD and a 42–13 lead with 1:32 left in the half.
He made a similar play early in the third quarter on his 46-yard touchdown catch. Schambow also had a fourth touchdown catch — a 30-yard halfback option pass from Cooley — called back in the second quarter on a holding penalty.
Sophomore Nate Digman closed out the scoring with a 25-yard run on the final offensive play of the third quarter.
On defense, senior John Sku-bal recorded 2½ sacks and led a relentless pursuit of Peckham, the Hornets’ senior quarterback. Platteville sacked Peckham six times, knocked him down well over a dozen times, and forced 20 incompletions, including a Bernhardt second-half interception.
Platteville’s defense also held the Hornets to negative 21 yards rushing on 21 carries, thanks to the five sacks.
Peckham did complete 14 of 34 passes for 139 yards and a 20-yard second quarter TD pass to senior Alex Mortimer.
“More than anything, we needed to play fast and physical for four quarters,” added Statz. “We did that. We tackled, finished, and pursued much, much better all night long.”
Platteville 56, Rich. Center 13
(from Friday, Sept. 20 @ UW–Platteville)
Richland Center 7 6 0 0 — 13
Platteville 21 21 14 0 — 56
P: Derek Schambow 8 pass from Logan Butson (James Bailie kick)
P: William Cooley 11 run (Bailie kick)
RC: Peckham 1 run (Anders kick)
P: Mitch Knockel 62 pass from Butson
P: Jacob Bernhardt 74 run (Bailie kick)
P: Bernhardt 14 run (Bailie kick)
RC: Alex Mortimer 20 pass from Peckham (kick failed)
P: Schambow 44 pass from Butson (Bailie kick)
P: Schambow 46 pass from Butson (Bailie kick)
P: Nate Digman 25 run (Bailie kick)
First downs: RC 10, P 13. Rushing: RC 21-(-21), P 36-368. Passing Yards: RC 139, P 175. Passing: RC 14-35-1, P 5-10-0. Fumbles–lost: RC 1-0, P 1-1. Penalties-yards: RC 5-38, P 9-60.
Rushing: RC: Anders 1-16; P: William Cooley 18-179, Jacob Bernhardt 10-141. Passing: RC: Peckham 14-34-1, 139; P: Logan Butson 5-10-0, 175. Receiving: P: Derek Schambow 4-113; RC: Alex Mortimer 4-57-1.