In a tight, sloppy battle from start-to-finish, Reedsburg’s special teams trumped Sauk Prairie’s as the Beavers edged the Eagles 9-7 in a Badger North Conference game on Sept. 7 at Millennium Field.
There were two, game-deciding field goal attempts in the contest. The first one came in the third quarter, when the Reedsburg Area High School football team trailed Sauk Prairie 7-6. The Beavers were putting together a solid drive, as Casey Campbell returned a punt into Sauk Prairie territory and followed with a big first down carry. A play later, quarterback Hayden Hahn kept it himself on a blitz to bring the ball down to the 14-yard line, but Reedsburg was stopped short at the 12. Instead of going for it on a fourth-and-short, Reedsburg opted for a field goal and Ben Jones nailed the 29 yarder to give the Beavers a 9-7 lead.
“Ben hasn’t been in that position very long, he didn’t even know he’d be kicking for us going into the season,” Reedsburg coach Brian Pottinger said. “So for him to be able to step up and put that one through was a great accomplishment.”
Things were looking good for Reedsburg from there, as the Beavers forced the Eagles to punt to start the fourth quarter while Reedsburg’s Dominic DeJesus picked off a pass attempt later on to keep the ball in the hands of the Beavers. The Beavers wound up turning over the ball themselves however, as a fumble on their own end of the field was picked up by Sauk Prairie. The Eagles nearly capitalized as they took the ball down to Reedsburg’s 5-yard line, but a missed field goal attempt ended the game. A shaky snap and hold on the potential game-winning 23-yard kick led to the ball sailing wide right, which lifted the Beavers to their first conference win of the season.
“I guess we got lucky,” Pottinger said of the win. “Sometimes you’ve got to get lucky and that’s just the way it is.”
Reedsburg’s offense, which only produced 67 total yards in last week’s 40-0 shutout loss to DeForest, also struggled to find rhythm against the Eagles. The Beavers scored in the opening quarter, but it wouldn’t have been possible without a blocked punt made by Carter Daniels in Sauk’s own third of the field. A pitch to Casey Campbell and an eventual 4-yard touchdown run from quarterback Hayden Hahn gave the Beavers a 6-0 lead.
The rest of the first half was full of possession changes. Sauk Prairie’s Parker Breunig stiff-armed his way down to Reedsburg’s 29-yard line on the ensuing drive but a couple of miscommunicated pass attempts led to a turnover on downs. The Beavers went three-and-out and punted from there, but the Eagles turned over on downs once again, this time on Reedsburg’s 25. The Beavers went three-and-out again, with Hahn pressured on a couple of plays. Sauk Prairie took the lead on the ensuing possession, with Garrett Hertzfeldt breaking multiple tackles on a 55-yard touchdown run to give the Eagles a 7-6 advantage.
Reedsburg was gifted the ball at Sauk Prairie’s 33-yard line after a punt from the Eagles hit the back of one of their own players. Ben Jones caught a 13-yard pass on a slant route, but the Eagles recovered a fumble from there. It was one of six fumbles on the day made by the Beavers.
“We’ve got a lot of things we have to improve on. Obviously we’re happy with the win,” Pottinger said. “Our defense has been playing really well and has kept us in the game, but offensively we just haven’t put points on the board. We haven’t moved the ball in the last two games with any consistency at all.”
Reedsburg (3-1 overall, 1-1 Badger North) will look to keep things going on Sept. 14 with a road trip to Beaver Dam for another conference matchup.
Sauk Prairie 0 7 0 0 — 7
Reedsburg 6 0 3 0 — 9
R — Hayden Hahn 4 run (kick failed)
SP — Garrett Hertzfeldt 55 run (Jo Smet kick)
R — FG Ben Jones 29
First downs — SP 11, R 7. Rushing (Att.-Yds.) — SP 44-205, R 41-89. Passing yards — SP 40, R 11. Passes (Comp.-Att.-Int.) — SP 4-9-1, R 1-4-0. Fumbles-lost — SP 1-0, R 6-2. Penalties-yards — SP 4-30, R 3-5.
Rushing: SP, Hertzfeldt 28-278. R, Campbell 13-51.
Passing: SP, Juran 4-8-0-40. R, Hahn 1-4-0-40.
Receiving: SP, Nolden 1-23. R, Jones 1-11.