POTOSI — Two weekends ago, the most disturbing part of Platteville’s loss to Holmen wasn’t the 27 points the Hillmen gave up, it was the zero points they scored.
Similarly, the most impressive thing about Friday’s 32–0 win over Viroqua at Potosi High School, other than Josh Bernhardt’s 227 yards and three touchdowns, wasn’t the 32 points the Hillmen scored, it was the zero points they gave up.
“We were pleased that we could get a win after losing last week,” said Platteville head coach Scott Statz. “However, we have a lot to improve upon as we progress. We were pleased for the most part with the O-line, tight ends, fullbacks, and receivers in their run blocking. Anytime you rush for over 250 yards as a team there are some good things happening up front.”
The Hillmen (2–1) let the Blackhawks (0–3) into the red zone only once, grabbed one fumble on defense and one on special teams, and until the Hillmen went up four scores basically stuffed the Hawks.
“Defensively we were very stout against the run all night; our linebackers all played well and tackled well for the most part,” added Statz.
The offense certainly did better than one game earlier but still seems to be a work in progress, as are the special teams. The fumble recovery of the opening kickoff resulted in no points after a lost fumble.
The Hillmen also committed 15 penalties for 118 yards, though, unlike the first two weeks, only two of the penalties were offensive holding calls. The Hillmen twice gave Viroqua first downs on penalties during punts.
“Penalties have been an issue,” said Statz. “We have been very undisciplined to this point and it isn’t like we haven’t addressed it and stressed it the last two weeks. At this point it is on the kids to respond in the games. It was a major focus in practice last week, but it still occurred. Our lack of discipline has been a disappointment thus far, but can be corrected, and must be for this team to reach it’s goals. We need to focus more sharply.”
After not being able to use the great field position from the opening fumble recovery, the Hillmen got the ball at their 25-yard line and proceeded to march 75 yards in nine plays and 3 minutes 21 seconds. Bernhardt had 62 of the 75 yards on runs of 10, 40 and 12 yards, but Ryan Weber had the first of his two one-yard touchdown runs to start the scoring.
On the first play from scrimmage thereafter, the Hillmen recovered a fumble, setting up themselves at the Viroqua 30. A holding penalty wiped out what would have been a 30-yard touchdown run, but quarterback Blake Wagner’s 29-yard pass to Mitch Knockel got the ball to the Viroqua 8. Bernhardt’s seven-yard run and Weber’s second one-yard touchdown run extended the lead to 13–0 58 seconds into the second quarter.
A 14-play Viroqua drive, which included a personal foul on a punt, backfired on the Blackhawks, who gave the Hillmen 15 yards of their own on a fair catch interference penalty. From the Viroqua 46, the Hillmen needed eight plays, one of them a 19-yard Bernhardt run, and 3:24 for Bernhardt to get the first of his three touchdowns of the night, from four yards out.
Viroqua had more first downs by special teams penalty (two) than on offense (one) in the first half. The Blackhawks had just 27 yards of offense in the first half, and crossed midfield only once, because of a running-into-the-kicker penalty on fourth and three.
Platteville opened the second half with a three-play 42-yard scoring drive. Wagner found Chance Kupersmith for 25 yards, to the Viroqua 17, from where Bernhardt ran in his second touchdown.
Bernhardt’s third touchdown was the most spectacular of the night, a 77-yard run to cap off a five-play 89-yard drive with 4:32 left in the game.
The Blackhawks got into the red zone only once, on a drive that faded out on a fourth-and-six incomplete pass at the Platteville 11 with 7:50 left.
Platteville will return to action Friday when they take a 2½-hour bus ride to Black River Falls to face the undefeated Tigers, who are coming off a 48–7 victory over Prairie du Chien.
“Black River Falls is a very good team,” said Statz. “They run the ball very well and have some excellent receivers. We will have to be at the top of our game to compete with these guys. We are getting better as a team and this is key because our competition is going to get better as we progress throughout the year.”
Platteville 32, Viroqua 0
(from Friday, Sept. 5 @ Potosi)
Viroqua 0 0 0 0 — 0
Platteville 6 13 7 6 — 32
P: Ryan Weber 2 run (kick failed)
P: Weber 1 run (Tyler Brookens kick)
P: Jacob Bernhardt 4 run (kick failed)
P: Bernhardt 17 run (Brookens kick)
P: Bernhardt 77 run (kick failed)
First downs — V 6, P 10. Rushing — V 44-110, P 32-258. Passing Yards — V 3, P 80. Passing — V 2-8-0, P 6-10-0. Fumbles–lost — V 2-2, P 1-1. Penalties-yards — V 8-60, P 15-118.
Rushing — V: Trautsch 22-58; P: Jacob Bernhardt 22-227. Passing — V: Kleider 2-8-0, 3; P: Blake Wagner 4-4-0, 63. Receiving — V: Heary 1-4; P: Mitch Knockel 2-39.