PLATTEVILLE — When Platteville football coach Ryley Bailey was hired this summer, he promised, “it’s going to look a lot different than what Platteville High School fans are used to seeing in the past.”
So far Bailey and his record-setting passing offense have not disappointed.
Bailey’s Hillmen piled up a single-game school record 671 yards of offense, including school record 433 yards passing, in a 54–42 WIAA Division 4 Level 1 victory over fifth-seeded Beloit Tuner in an offensive shoot out that lasted more than three hours.
Seniors Ethan Bernhardt and Donovan Blevins continued their assault on the Platteville football record book with career-best nights in already school-record setting seasons and junior tailback A.J. Barner rushed for a career-high 231 yards and a pair of TDs on 24 carries to add another dimension to the Hillmen offense.
Bernhardt, who now owns nearly every career and single-season passing record in PHS history, completed 31 passes for 433 yards (both single-game records) and matched his career high with five TD passes. It was his third game this year with five TD passes. He also rushed for a pair of touchdowns in the victory.
Bernhardt is now Platteville’s all-time leader in passing yards (4,136), passing TDs (54) and completions (287), as well as the Hillmen single-season record-holder with 2,600 passing yards, 35 TDs and 179 completions.
Blevins caught 10 passes (matching Jesse Baker’s 2004 single-game record) for 163 yards and two touchdowns. He is now the single-season record-holder in receptions (61), receiving yards (1,220) and receiving TDs (19), as well as Platteville’s all-time leader in receiving yards (1,819) and receiving TDs (28).
“I believe our offense is capable of putting up numbers like that on a consistent basis,” said Bailey. “We have the talent to do so, and our players have bought into the new system and have been getting better every week. I truly believe that we are the only thing standing in the way of putting up numbers like that every Friday. Ethan Bernhard has been phenomenal, our run game has been jump started by A.J. Barner, and Donovan continues to be a match up nightmare for opposing teams.”
Bernhardt threw a 14-yard TD strike to senior Coleman Brecke on the game’s opening drive and connected on a 52-yard bomb with Blevins later in the quarter to give the Hillmen an early 20–0 lead.
Turner (7–3) got back in the game with a 58-yard TD pass from Kenny Draeving to Hunter Waldsmith that made it 20–14 midway through the second quarter.
But the Hillmen closed the half strong, as Bernhardt connect on a 3-yard TD pass to senior Zach White a minute later and hit Blevins with a 25-yard strike with 1:24 left in the half to make it 34–14.
But the visiting Trojans wouldn’t go away.
Kyle Hanaman scored on an 18-yard run and Juan Reyes caught a 40-yard TD pass from Draeving in the third quarter and Turner took a 35–34 lead when Sereno Ferone scored on a 28-yard run 30 seconds into the fourth quarter.
Platteville answered two minutes later with a 39-yard touchdown run by Barner and Bernhardt scored his second 1-yard TD run with 3:31 left to make it 48–35.
After Turner clawed back within six with three minutes to play, Platteville put the game out of reach on Bernhardt’s 20-yard TD pass to White with 1:26 left.
“Beloit’s offense was very explosive on Friday night,” said Bailey. “We knew that they had some great athletes coming into the game. Some of their skill position players are the best we have seen all year. They did a lot of different things to cause mismatches with our defense and had some success.”
Platteville improved to 9–1 on the season and will now travel to undefeated and top-seeded Lodi (10–0) for a Level II playoff game Friday night at 7 p.m.
The second-ranked Blue Devils squeaked out a 38–31 first-round win over eighth-seeded Mayville (6–5).
“Lodi is a heck of a program and it is going to be a fun night traveling up their place and competing,” said Bailey. “I believe that if we play to our potential, we can beat any team in the state.”
WIAA Division 4 Level I playoff
Beloit Turner 42
(from Friday, Oct. 20 @ UW–Platteville)
Beloit Turner 0 14 14 14 — 42
Platteville 20 14 0 20 — 54
P: Coleman Brecke 14 pass from Ethan Bernhardt (Zach White kick)
P: Bernhart 1 run (kick failed)
P: Blevins 52 pass from Bernhardt (White kick)
BT: Emiliano Reyes 9 run (Jaun Reyes kick)
BT: Hunter Waldsmith 58 pass from Kenny Draeving (J. Reyes kick)
P: White 3 pass from Bernhardt (White kick)
P: Blevins 25 pass from Bernhardt (White kick)
BT: Kyle Hanaman 18 run (J. Reyes kick)
BT: J. Reyes 40 pass from Kenny Draeving (J. Reyes kick)
BT: Sereno Ferone 28 run (J. Reyes kick)
P: Barner 39 run (Austin Wein pass to Bernhardt)
P: Bernhardt 1 run (kick failed)
B E. Reyes 46 pass from Draeving (J. Reyes kick)
P: White 20 pass from Bernhardt (kick failed)
First downs — BT 13, P 14. Rushing — BT 43-308, P 30-238. Passing (comp-att-int, yds) — BT 10-21-0, 233, P 32-47-1, 433. Fumbles–lost — BT 0-0, P 1-1. Penalties-yards — BT 3-35, P 16-140.
Rushing — BT: Emiliano Reyes 8-114, Kyle Hanaman 13-95. P: A.J. Barner 24-231. Passing — BT: Kenny Draeving 9-20-2, 208. P: Ethan Bernhart 31-46-1, 431. Receiving — BT: Juan Reyes 5-82, Hunter Waldsmith 3-82. P: Donovan Blevins 10-163, Zach White 8-107, Austin Wein 4-93. Tackles — P: Jacob Niehaus 9, Connor Riley 6, Zach White 6, Trevor Heim 6.