PLATTEVILLE — It was never even close. Platteville scored seven first-half touchdowns to race past an overwhelmed Richland Center team 62–8 in the Southwest Wisconsin Conference opener for both teams Friday night at UW–Platteville’s Ralph E. Davis Pioneer Stadium.
Senior halfback Luke Fugate rushed for three touchdowns and returned a kickoff for a fourth score despite touching the ball a grand total of five times in the game.
Junior quarterback Ethan Bernhardt completed 5 of 6 pass attempts for 92 yards and three touchdowns — two of those to senior wide receiver Alex Traxler — and ran for another TD.
Platteville led wire-to-wire and only surrendered a late score with the backup defense on the field late in the fourth quarter.
The Hillmen defense snuffed out a fake punt near midfield on Richland Center’s opening drive of the game. One play later Fugate took a handoff and raced 45 yards to the end zone and the route was on. Junior Zach White kicked the first of his eight extra points on the night and the Hillmen led 7–0 less than three minutes into the game.
On Platteville’s next drive, Bernhardt connected with Traxler on 3rd and 11 for a 47-yard scoring strike.
A shanked punt gave the Hillmen the ball deep in Hornet territory to start their third drive. Three plays later Fugate scored from five yards out to make it 21–0.
Less than a minute into the second quarter Fugate found pay dirt again, this time from 41 yards out.
Junior linebacker Coleman Brecke ended Center’s next drive with an interception at the Hornets’ 35 and returned it to to the 4-yard line. Two plays later Bernhardt tossed a 4-yard touchdown pass to White.
Bernhardt hooked up with Traxler again from 16 yards out midway through the second quarter, then scored on a 12 yard run with 48 seconds left in the half to make it 48–0.
The Platteville offense had the ball seven times in the first half and scored seven touchdowns.
Then, Fugate received the opening kickoff of the second half and weave through the middle of oncoming Richland Center tacklers before veering off and racing down the far sideline untouched for a 70-yard touchdown.
Sophomore halfback AJ Barner completed the Platteville scoring with a 27-yard touchdown run with six minutes left in the third quarter. Barner finished with 70 yard on 16 carries.
Fugate led the Hillmen with 92 yards rushing on four attempts. Traxler hauled in three passes for 64 yards.
The Platteville defense held the Hornets to just 119 yards of total offense — 41 of those coming on Sam Hart’s touchdown run with 9:01 left in the game.
The Hillmen improved to 4–1 on the season and 1–0 in the SWC heading into Friday’s road game at Prairie du Chien (2–3, 0–1). The Blackhawks opened conference play with a 34–26 loss to Dodgeville last week.
Platteville 62, Richland Center 8
(from Friday, Sept. 16 @ Platteville)
Richland Center 0 0 0 8 — 8
Platteville 21 27 14 0 — 62
P: Luke Fugate 45 run (Zach White kick)
P: Alex Traxler 47 pass from Ethan Bernhardt (White kick)
P: Fugate 5 run (White kick)
P: Fugate 41 run (White kick)
P: Zach White 4 pass from Bernhardt (White kick)
P: Traxler 16 pass from Bernhardt (kick failed)
P: Bernhardt 12 run (White kick)
P: Fugate 70 kickoff return (White kick)
P: AJ Barner 27 run (White kick)
RC: Sam Hart 41 run (conversion good)
First downs — RC 3, P 5. Rushing — RC 34-108, P 27-201. Passing Yards — RC 11, P 92. Passing — RC 2-9-1, P 5-7-0. Fumbles–lost — RC 1-0, P 0-0. Penalties-yards — RC 3-30, P 6-62.
Rushing — RC: Sam Hert 6-68; P: Luke Fugate 4-93, AJ Barner 16-70. Passing — RC: Noah Johnson P: Ethan Bernhardt 5-6-0, 92. Receiving — P: Alex Traxler 3-64; RC: Quin Tydrich 1-6.