In the world of high school football an ugly win is better than a loss any day of the week.
Platteville committed three first-half turnovers, numerous costly penalties, and spotted visiting Richland Center a 12–0 first-quarter lead.
But the Hillmen defense stepped up, the offense regrouped and the special teams provided a key third-quarter kickoff return as Platteville (5–2, 2–2 SWC) rallied for a key 28–20 Homecoming victory that kept its postseason aspirations alive heading into Friday’s regular season finale at Prairie du Chien (3–4, 2–2). The winner will earn a playoff berth.
“We played poorly in the first half with the three turnovers and all the penalties,” said Platteville head coach Scott Statz. “We were moving the ball, but shooting ourselves in the foot. Defensively, we were playing well on first and second down, but gave up too many big plays on third and fourth downs.
“In the second half we played a much cleaner game. Our offensive line/fullbacks and tight ends took over the line of scrimmage. I thought Mitch Fure was dominant at the point of attack; it was his best game of the year so far. Also, Derek Schambow made some huge picks for us.”
Jake Killoy tossed a pair of touchdown passes to Divante Casto in the opening 12 minutes as the Hornets (2–5, 0–4) built their two-touchdown lead. Killoy completed 15 of 38 passes for 264 yards and three TDs in the loss, but he was also intercepted four times, three of those by Schambow.
Senior Josh Bernhardt got the Hillmen on the board when he threw a 12-yard TD pass to sophomore tight end Ryan Weber with 3:01 left in the first half.
Junior Logan Butson ended a Richland Center threat with an interception in the end zone on the final play of the half.
“That was a key stop right before half,” said Statz. “We were very proud of the way the kids did not panic; no one flinched, we stayed in the fight and persevered.”
B.J. Cooley scored on a 7-yard run early in the third quarter to give Platteville its first lead of the game at 14–12.
Center briefly regained the led at 20–14 on a Killoy to Matt Nelson 22-yard TD pass with 4:26 left in the third quarter, but it lasted all of one play.
Schabow returned the ensuing kickoff 87 yards for a touchdown, James Bailie added the PAT and Platteville never trailed again.
“We had great blocking at the point of attack and a Derek made a very heads up run,” added Statz.
The Platteville defense snuffed out a fake punt on 4th and 7 from midfield early in the fourth quarter and scored on the ensuing drive to make it 28–20.
A 23-yard run by Josh Bernhardt moved the ball to the Center 8-yard-line, but three straight holding penalties pushed Platteville back to 1st and goal at the 29. But a Richland Center late hit on the next play gave Platteville a first down and a fresh start at the 16.
Three plays later Cooley scored from three plays out with 6:25 left to play.
The Hornets’ final drive ended on downs at midfield and Platteville ran out the clock.
Platteville 28, Richland Center 20
(from Friday, Oct. 5 @ UW–Platteville)
Richland Center 12 0 8 0 — 20
Platteville 0 7 14 7 — 28
RC: Casto 33 pass from Killoy (conversion failed)
RC: Casto 55 pass from Killoy (conversion failed)
P: Ryan Weber 12 pass from Josh Bernhardt (James Bailie kick)
P: B.J. Cooley 7 run (Bailie kick)
RV: Nelson 22 pass from Killoy (McBain pass from Killoy)
P: Derek Schambow 87 kick return (Bailie kick)
P: Cooley 3 run (Bailie kick)
First downs: RC 10, P 21. Rushing: P 22-59, P 48-288. Passing Yards: RC 264, P 130. Passing: RC 15-38-4, P 10-19-2. Fumbles–lost: RC 2-2, P 3-2. Penalties-yards: RC 7-70, P 13-108.
Rushing: RC: Shaefor 6-23; P: B.J. Cooley 32–241. Passing: RC: Killoy 15-38-4, 264; P: Josh Bernhardt 10-19-2, 130. Receiving: RC: Casto 4-102; P: Derek Schambow 3-29, Nick Tashner 2-45.