Winless through the first three weeks of the season, the Reedsburg football team wasn’t going to do anything differently when it traveled to Sauk Prairie on Friday.
The Beavers stuck with the flexbone offensive system that has allowed them to be so successful within the Badger North Conference in recent years. It worked again on Friday, as the Beavers scored 16 unanswered points in the second half to notch a 37-20 win at Sauk Prairie.
“We’ve made improvement all four weeks,” Reedsburg head coach Brian Pottinger said of the Beavers picking up their first win. “It’s a conference game, so it’s a nice win for us and we can build on that going forward.”
The Beavers (1-3, 1-1 Badger North) took a 21-20 lead into halftime, but Sauk Prairie (1-3, 0-2) had momentum after closing the first half with an 82-yard scoring drive. Senior quarterback Dawson Evert capped off the drive with a 1-yard touchdown run that brought the Eagles within 21-20.
However, after a back-and-forth first half, Reedsburg controlled the second half of play.
“We just made a few small adjustments on both sides of the ball,” Pottinger said. “It wasn’t anything great. It wasn’t yelling and screaming and that kind of thing to try and motivate them. It was just, hey we need to come out and execute a little bit better, execute these adjustments. And that’s what we did. The kids just came out and played hard.”
It started with forcing a punt and then getting a field goal from Mason McMillen that stretched the Reedsburg lead to 24-20. Jason Walls followed with a pair of touchdown runs and the Beavers opened up a 37-20 lead with 50 seconds remaining in the third quarter.
The Beavers broke out offensively after averaging 15.0 points per game through the first three weeks of play.
“This is what we do offensively,” Pottinger said. “It’s nothing fancy, but our kids have gotten pretty decent at it. They threw some different looks at us defensively. That makes it a little harder sometimes, but our kids adjusted well.”
“They are an extremely precise offense,” Sauk Prairie coach Scott Schutt said of Reedsburg. “They’ve been a little down this year, but they’re still great at running that offense. We just couldn’t stop it.
“It wears our defense down, and it wears everyone’s energy level down, just takes the sails out. We were two pretty evenly matched teams; they just outlasted us and out-executed us in the second half.”
Schutt liked the way his team finished, however. Sauk Prairie stopped Reedsburg on back-to-back plays from the half-yard line in the closing minutes, then the Eagles drove near midfield before turning it over on downs.
“That’s something to build on,” Schutt said. “I was proud of the guys for not giving up there. ... They’re a great group of kids. I love coaching them, we just have a ways to go.”
The Beavers notched their sixth straight win over the Eagles. Sauk Prairie’s last win in the series was a 27-21 home win over Reedsburg in 2011.
Sauk Prairie will host DeForest in a Badger North game on Friday. The Eagles suffered a 20-0 loss at DeForest last September.
“For us, we have to mostly look at what we did wrong and fixing us,” Schutt said. “Run our defense and our offense as well as we can before we can even try to scheme other people.”
Reedsburg will host Badger North newcomer Beaver Dam on Friday.
“We’re just looking to get better,” Pottinger said. “This week we had a good week of practice, and we’re just looking to do that again. Nothing fancy.”