By Derek Hoesly


CLINTON – In a first place clash, Brodhead-Juda (4-2 overall, 4-0 Rock Valley) beat Clinton 42-34 in an overtime thriller Friday.

“It’s huge. When you’re in control of your own destiny you don’t want anybody else controlling your chances of winning conference and you also don’t want the north when we get to cross overs deciding who wins the conference. We know we’re never comfortable with any leads. We have to grind everything out and we were able to do that tonight,” coach BJ Bockhop said.

Midway through the first quarter junior Matt Schmitt connected with junior Skylar Stuckey for a 68-yard touchdown bomb to put the Cardinals up 6-0 at the 6:55 mark.

After Brodhead-Juda forced a three and out on the Cougars ensuing possession, the Cardinals extended the lead to 12-0 with a time consuming drive. On third and five from the Cougars’ 44-yard line Schmitt came up a yard short of the first down. Brodhead-Juda decided to go for it and senior Dylan Kubly picked up the first down with a three-yard run up the middle. Kubly ripped off a 20-yard run on third and three to keep the drive alive. After a false start by Brodhead-Juda Schmitt under heavy pressure delivered a strike to senior Peter Bouc for a six-yard touchdown with 10:45 left in the opening half.

“I think we were doing some things that they didn’t think we were going to do defensively and they ended up figuring some of that stuff out in the second half. We started out fast and that was good to do,” Bockhop said.

A strong kickoff return set up the Cougars first scoring drive. Peyton Pope had an 18-yard run on third and eight. Facing a fourth and three from the Cardinals’ 26-yard line Tyler Halsted kept the drive alive with a three-yard quarterback keeper. One play later, Halsted hit Cole Ciochon for a 23-yard touchdown strike to cut the Cardinals’ lead to 12-8.

Late in the second quarter Brodhead-Juda muffed a punt return. The Cougars would capitalize on the costly turnover. On fourth and four from the 25-yard line Brodhead-Juda was whistled for an offsides to give Clinton a first down. Pope, who had a big night, found the end zone with a 17-yard run to put Clinton up 16-12. Pope rushed for 263 yards on 39 carries and three touchdowns.

The Cardinals immediately responded as sophomore Parker Johnson took the ensuing kickoff all the way down to the Cougars’ ten-yard line. Schmitt connected with Bouc for a nine-yard throw on third and nine. With 12 seconds left, Kubly punched it in with a one-yard run to put the Cardinals up 20-16.

“Obviously it’s really big. We scored right before half. We had just given them free points off a turnover. You always have to rely on your seniors to lead you. We had to go into half and preach to them. We’re going to go as far as our seniors are going to take us. We probably played the worst first half of football we’ve played all year but we can come back out here and play our best second half,” Bockhop said.

Clinton regained the lead early in the third quarter. Pope opened the drive with a 20-yard burst. On a jet sweep to the left, Jordan Jones scampered for a 17-yard run. On third and goal from the two-yard line Jones found the end zone on a pitch from Halsted.

In a back and forth battle Brodhead-Juda answered. The Cardinals drew Clinton offsides on third and two from the Cougars 41-yrd line. Junior Bryson Ils picked up a key first down on third and five with a six-yard run on the left side. One play later, Schmitt hit Bouc for a 17-yard touchdown strike to put the Cardinals up 28-22.

The Cardinals came up with a defensive stand as Kubly and senior Isaac Welsh combined for a sack to stop the Cougars drive. Moments later, Schmitt found Johnson for a 45-yard touchdown throw to extend the lead to 34-22 with 43 seconds left in the third quarter.

Clinton marched deep into Cardinals territory early in the fourth quarter. Pope fumbled on the 11-yard line as junior Noah Steinmann forced a pivotal fumble and Johnson recovered the fumble.

Midway through the fourth quarter Clinton stormed down the field to keep the game within one score. Halsted threw a quick pass to Pope on the outside, who  gained 18-yards to pick up a key first down. Pope also had a 5-yard run on the drive. Pope capped the drive with a six-yard touchdown run to cut Brodhead-Juda’s lead to 34-28 with 4:35 left in regulation.

“We knew it was going to be a track meet because they score a lot of points because they have two really quick running backs that like to hit the edge. We did the best we could to contain them and it worked out in our favor,” Bockhop said.

After a three and out Clinton go the ball back with 3:15 left on the clock. Jones    scampered for nine-yards on a third and eight to keep the drive alive. Clinton picked another crucial third down as Pope rushed for four-yards on a third and one. With 44 seconds left, Pope found the end zone with a seven-yard run to tie the game at 34. With the game hanging in the balance, Brodhead-Juda got a huge stop on the two-point conversion to send the game to overtime.

On the very first play of overtime, the Cardinals opened with a bang as Schmitt connected with senior Ned Slocum for a 25-yard touchdown strike.

“He wanted to get in so we were going to let him lead us. he’s our captain. We decided we were just going to throw to Ned and see where he could take us. He was fresh. He hadn’t played yet and he stepped up and filled his roll,” Bockhop said.

The Cougars were hindered by a holding penalty on the second play of overtime. On fourth and one from the 16-yard line Clinton gave the ball to Pope their star running back. With fans standing, Pope got no yards as the Cardinals got penetration to seal the win.

“We stopped them to win the game. They ran a wedge play. We brought everybody in and we stuffed it. That was the big play for us,” Bockhop said.

Schmitt played a solid game going 7-for-11 with 172 yards, four touchdowns and one interception. Kubly led the Cardinals rushing attack wit 84 yards on 23 carries and two touchdowns. Pickel chipped in 64 yards on the ground on 11 attempts.

Stuckey led the receivers with 68 receiving yards and one touchdown. Bouc added 31 receiving yards and one touchdown on three catches.

football huge stop Parker Johnson with a huge stop to the drive in OT causing the Cougars to come up short of a 1st down-2 football Jake Pickel finds his way through a cloud of blue