Platteville dominated the first 29 minutes of Friday’s home opener, but had to survive a late rally to hold off visiting Wisconsin Dells 44–26 in a non-conference victory at Ralph E. Davis Pioneer Stadium.
“We played well overall, especially on special teams,” said Platteville coach Scott Statz. “Our defense and special teams put us in some nice situations field position-wise. We blocked a punt and made some big plays offensively the first half.
“But they are a good team with some skilled players, and our lack of focus [in the second half] was the main concern. We did not put them away when we had the chance.”
With the win Platteville stayed unbeaten at 3–0, while Wisconsin Dells fell to 1–2.
Hunter Johnston’s blocked punt two minutes into the game gave the Platteville a short field to begin its first drive. In last week’s victory 44–14 over Mauston the Hillmen blocked two punts and forced a shanked 1-yard kick after nearly blocking a third.
B.J. Cooley capped a three-play, 12-yard drive with a 1-yard TD plunge. James Bailie’s extra point made it 7–0 just 3 minutes and 10 seconds into the game.
One play after a Derek Schambow interception stopped a Wisconsin Dells drive deep in Platteville territory Statz went right back to his junior playmaker.
Junior quarterback Josh Bernhardt hooked up with Schambow for an 88-yard TD pass on the very next play from scrimmage.
The Platteville defense recorded a safety when a forced fumble was knocked out of the end zone on the final play of the first quarter.
Schambow returned the ensuing free kick 40 yards to give the Hillmen offense a short field once again. Two plays later Berhardt hit senior Nick Tashner with a 13-yard scoring strike to cap the 25-yard scoring drive and Platteville led 23–0 less than a minute into the second quarter.
This Friday Platteville will travel to unbeaten Lancaster to open Southwest Wisconsin Conference play in a battle of preseason favorites.
A year ago the Arrows pulled away from the Hillmen for a 49–21 victory at Pioneer Stadium after a back-and-forth first quarter that featured 35 combined points.
Lancaster went on to win the SWC title and advance to the WIAA Division 5 state championship game.
“It will be fun,” said Platteville coach Scott Statz of this year’s clash of perennial conference powers. “We need to improve this week. We need to continue to build off of our start and remain very hungry.”
Platteville 44, Wisconsin Dells 26
(from Friday, Sept. 7 @ Platteville)
Wisconsin Dells 0 6 6 14 — 26
Platteville 16 14 7 7 — 44
P: B.J. Cooley 3 run (James Bailie kick)
P: Derek Schambow 88 pass from Josh Berhardt (Bailie kick)
P: Platteville safety (fumble out of end zone)
P: Nick Tashner 13 pass from Josh Bernhardt (Bailie kick)
WD: Wimann 41 pass from Buss (conversion failed)
P: Cooley 5 run (Bailie kick)
P: Schambow 35 pass from Bernhardt (Bailie kick)
WD: Mor 8 pass from Buss (conversion failed)
WD: Mace 10 pass from Buss (conversion run)
P: Cooley 34 run (Bailie kick)
P: Young 13 pass from Mor (conversion faild)
First downs: WD 14, P 13. Rushing: WD 23-59, P 46-233. Passing Yards: WD 309, P 180. Passing: WD 19-38-2, P 8-15-1. Fumbles–lost: WD 4-2, P 1-0. Penalties-yards: WD 11-60, P 7-85.
Rushing: WD: Mor 6-49; P: Cooley 27-168. Passing: WD: Buss 17-36-2, 292; P: Josh Bernhardt 8-14-0, 180. Receiving: WD: Wiman 7-100; P: Schambow 4-141.