BRODHEAD — Football fans know — and football coaches will tell those who don’t — that football games have three phases: Offense, defense and special teams.
All three phases contributed to Platteville’s 31–21 Division 4 Level 2 win over second-seed Brodhead/Juda Friday night:
Offense: Quarterback Logan Butson threw a 43-yard touchdown pass to Derek Schambow and a 57-yard touchdown pass to Chance Kupersmith.
Defense: Kupersmith opened the second quarter with a 76-yard interception return touchdown. Schambow ended the Cardinals’ last drive with an interception with 1:57 remaining. Schambow’s interception was preceded by a fumble recovery as the Cardinals were trying to tie the game after Kupersmith’s touchdown.
Special teams: William Cooley opened the second half with a 93-yard kickoff return. James Bailie’s 19-yard field goal with 2:46 remaining put the Cardinals down two scores and into hurry-up offense mode.
The win put Platteville (7–4) into Level 3 for the first time since 2006. The Hillmen will travel to Walworth to play number-one-ranked Big Foot Friday at 7 p.m.
“Brodhead–Juda is a very physical team; we knew it would be a brawl,” said Hillmen coach Scott Statz. “Our kids enjoy that type of game and they stayed in the fight all night. You could sense a real purpose to their preparation all week long.”
For the second consecutive week, an interception by one of the Hillmen erased a Hillmen interception. Kupersmith’s pick-six and Bailie’s extra point not only stopped what appeared to be a Cardinal scoring drive, but gave the Hillmen a 7–0 lead 16 seconds into the second quarter.
“Anytime your defense can generate a score it is big,” said Statz. “We have been close many times to taking the ball away, so to get one in a big spot was great to see.”
Platteville extended its lead to 13–0 on a six-play 73-yard drive that included a Butson-to-Schambow pass for a first down, and ended with the 43-yard Butson-to-Schambow touchdown pass.
Derek Turner gave Brodhead/Juda its first score on a 17-yard run with 5:05 left in the first half, but was held relatively quiet the rest of the night.
Cooley ordinarily plays as an upback on kickoff returns, but moved to the back to start the second half. Ninety yards later, he had his first kickoff return touchdown of the season, extending the lead to 20–7 16 seconds into the second half. Cooley had more yards from the kickoff return than as a running back — 89 yards on 19 carries.
“In playoff games there will always be momentum swings and this one was no different,” said Statz. “To take the second-half kickoff back really made a statement that we were going to be swinging hard the entire game.”
Consecutive six-play Brodhead/Juda scoring drives — one 82 yards ending in a 1-yard Tyler Updike touchdown run, the other 68 yards ending in a 46-yard Jordan Douglas run — that gave the Cardinals a 21–20 lead with 2:25 left in the third. Douglas led the Cardinals with 67 yards on nine carries.
A three-and-out set the stage for Kupersmith’s second touchdown of the night and a 28–21 lead after a two-point conversion pass from Schambow on an end-around to Mitch Knockel with 9:40 left in the game.
Butson was 8 of 14 for 171 yards, with two touchdowns and one interception. Schambow had 95 yards on six catches.
Cooley’s fumble recovery three plays later started an 11-play 48-yard drive that ate up 5½ minutes and ended with Bailie’s field goal.
Platteville will play its first Level 3 game since 2006, when the Hillmen defeated Big Foot 21–19 before losing to Evansville 24–6 in Level 3.
“One of the biggest factors to how well we are playing is that the players are really holding each other accountable in a good way,” said Statz. “Our leadership has been outstanding by the upperclassmen.”
Big Foot won the Rock Valley South by one game over Brodhead/Juda. The Chiefs (10–0, 5–0 Rock Valley South) are making their 13th consecutive playoff appearance, and will play in their sixth Level 3 game in the past seven seasons. Big Foot lost the 2008 Division 4 title game to Wautoma — whose quarterback was current Wisconsin wide receiver Jared Abbrederis — then won the 2009 Division 4 title over Kewaunee and lost the 2012 title to Somerset 35–33 in overtime.
“Big Foot is another very big, physical team,” said Statz. “Our league and our schedule has prepared us for games like this. I would never count our kids out in any game as hard as they are playing right now. We will have to take care of the football and try to match their physicality. It will be a challenge, but that is what makes it fun.”
Platteville 31, Brodhead/Juda 21
(from Friday, Nov. 2 @ Brodhead)
Platteville 0 13 7 11 — 31
Brodhead 0 7 14 0 — 21
P: Chance Kupersmith 76 interception return (James Bailie kick)
P: Derek Schambow 44 pass from Logan Butson (kick failed)
B/J: Turner 16 run (Beuschel kick)
P: Cooley 92 kickoff return (Bailie kick)
B/J: Updike 3 run (Beuschel kick)
B/J: Douglas 47 run (Beuschel kick)
P: Kupersmith 57 pass from Butson (Mitch Knockel form Schambow)
P: FG Bailie 19
First downs — P 12, BJ 11. Rushing — P 32-152, BJ 36-174. Passing Yards — P 171, BJ 131. Passing — P 8-14-1, BJ 6-14-2. Fumbles–lost — P 0-0, BJ 1-1. Penalties-yards — P 8-49, BJ 6-31.
Rushing — P: William Cooley 19-90; BJ: Douglas 9-67. Passing — P: Logan Butson 8-14-1, 171; BJ: Bescup 6-14-2, 131. Receiving — P: Derek Schambow 6-95-1; BJ: Slocum 2-64.