PLATTEVILLE — Platteville’s new-look spread offense threw it all over the ball field Friday night, piling up 282 yards passing and 468 yards of total offense in a dominating 34–7 season-opening non-conference victory over visiting Cuba City at UW–Platteville’s Ralph E. Davis Pioneer Stadium.
The Hillmen defense was even more impressive, holding Cuba City senior standout Kordell Stillmunkes to just 66 yards rushing on 16 carries, while harassing junior Andy Clendenen into a 2-for-16 passing night, that included a pair of interceptions — one that was returned 14 yards by senior corner back Brock Schambow for the game’s opening score.
In all it added up to an impressive victorious debut for new Platteville head coach Ryley Bailey.
“For us the key all week was to contain Kordell Stillmunkes,” said Bailey. “He is a very dynamic player in the return game and can score on any given play offensively. We knew that if we limited him we would have a shot at winning the game.
“I tip my hat to Scott Statz and our defensive coaches. I was worried all week if we were going to be able to contain an explosive Cuba City offense. They put in the work all week and got our kids ready to go. That was a great defensive performance and our kids played fast due to their preparation.”
The Hillmen (1–0) held the Cubans (0–1) to just 43 yards of total offense in the first half, while building a 20–0 lead.
Platteville took the opening kickoff and drove to the Cuba City 9-yard-line, but turned the ball over on downs.
But two plays later, Schambow jumped an out rout intended for tight end Logan Murphy and galloped 14 yards to the end zone to give the Hillmen an early 7–0 lead with 5:40 left in the opening quarter.
“Schambow’s interception was the play of the game in my book,” added Baliey. “We came out and both teams were kind of feeling each other out. I was nervous up until that play, and I was able to settle in as a play caller after Brock’s huge pick six.”
Stillmunkes turned in his biggest play of the night, returning the ensuing kickoff 90 yards for a score, but the touchdown was wiped out by a holding penalty much to the dismay of the Cuba City coaching staff.
Platteville forced a punt and the Hillmen defense again drove deep into Cuban territory, but a fumbled snap at the 21 gave the ball back to Cuba City.
Platteville forced another punt and the offense took over at its own 23.
Senior Ethan Bernhardt completed four straight passes as the Hillmen drove 77 yards in less than a minute.
Senior Donvan Blevins made a spectacular leaping catch over Cuba City’s Ryan Hoppenjan in the right corner of the end zone, capping the 51-second drive with a 19-yard TD catch with 6:39 left in the first half.
Coach Bailey reached into his back of tricks later in the half when he dialed up a double-pass with a minute remaining in the second quarter.
Bernhardt threw a behind-the-scrimmage swing pass to senior Zach White, who in turn pulled up and fired a strike of his own to a streaking Blevins for 66–yard touchdown and a 20–0 halftime lead.
Blevins added a third TD catch midway through the third quarter on a wide receiver screen to make it 26–0. He finished with four catches for 90 yards and three touchdowns.
Cuba City finally got on the scoreboard late in the third quarter on a 5-yard off-tackle run by Stillmunkes.
Bernhardt capped the scoring with a 24-yard run with 5:01 remaining in the game.
Bernhardt completed 23 of 32 passes for 282 yards and two TDs, and added a team-high 63 yards rushing and a third TD on nine carries.
“Ethan Bernhardt is a class act, young man,” said Bailey. “He is one of the brightest and most competitive kids I have had the pleasure of coaching. His play Friday was good, but if you ask Ethan Bernhardt if he could have played better, he would tell you of course. That’s what I love about the kid. His decision-making and football savviness make him one of the elite quarterbacks in the state, and he is only going to get better with time in the offense.”
White also had a superb all-around game, leading the Hillmen with 12 catches for 107 yards, four rushed for 40 yards and a 66-yard TD pass.
“Zach and Donovan are both very dynamic athletes,” said Bailey. “It is very hard to take them off the field. With Donovan’s size and speed, and Zach White’s toughness they could be the best 1–2 punch receiving core Platteville has seen in a long time. They are match-up nightmares for a defense and they showed that on Friday night.”
White also led the team with five tackles, while juniors Trevor Heim and Gabe Tashner were each in on four stops.
Bailey is thrilled to open the season with a win, but knows there’s plenty more work to do.
“It’s better than starting 0–1,” added Bailey. “But we play a great opponent in Columbus Friday. We have to have a short memory. We will enjoy the victory for 24 hours and get ready to get back to work.”
The Cardinals (1–0) are coming off a 28–17 loss season-opening non-conference loss at Ripon. Columbus dominated Platteville 44–6 a year ago in the second week of the season.
Platteville 34, Cuba City 7
(from Friday, Aug. 18 @ UW–Platteville)
Cuba City 0 0 7 0 — 7
Platteville 7 13 6 8 — 34
P: Brock Schambow 14 interception return (Zach White kick) Brock Schambow 14 interception return (Zach White kick)
P: Donovan Blevins 19 pass from Ethan Bernhardt (kick failed)
P: Blevins 66 pass from White (kick good)
P: Blevins 5 pass from Bernhardt (kick failed)
CC: Kordell Stillmunkes 5 run (Jacob Wunderlin kick)
P: Bernhardt 24 run (Wein pass from Bernhardt)
First downs — CC 7, Pla 23. Rushing — CC 23-112, P: 32-186. Passing (comp-att-int, yds) — CC 2-16-2, 7, P 23-32-0, 282. Fumbles–lost — CC 0-0, P 4-2. Penalties-yards — CC 8-45, P 10-80.
Rushing — CC: Kordell Stillmunkes 16-66. P: Ethan Bernhardt 9-63, Brad Budden 11-47, Zach White 4-40. Passing — CC: Andy Clendenen 2-16-2, 7. P: Bernhardt 20-29-0, 207, White 2-2-0, 66. Receiving — CC: Benjamin Marti 1-5. P: Zach White 12-107, Blevins 4-90, Austin Wein 3-16.