Cavs make something happen at Triton
BOURBON — After a pair of season-opening losses, Culver Community’s football team needed to make something good happen Friday at Triton.
Between Bradley Beaver, Tucker Schultz, Preston Hansel, Collin Stevens, and a strong supporting cast, the Cavs broke out the good stuff.
Culver put points on the board in each of its first five possessions of the game and withstood a second-half Triton charge en route to a 37-19 Northern State Conference victory.
“We needed something good to happen, and fortunately we got it early,” Culver head coach Andy Thomas said. “That gave the guys some confidence. It’s been a rough couple of weeks. We needed to make something happen rather than wait for something to happen. I was proud of the way our guys got off the bus and came out and played with emotion and were more aggressive.”
Beaver, a two-way performer, capped off the game’s 16-play, 72-yard opening drive with a 2-yard touchdown run around the left side. He also snagged a key fourth-quarter interception in Culver territory with a little more than 8 minutes left in a 31-19 game. Schultz sprinted 65 yards on the very next play to put the Cavs in control 37-19 with 7:55 left in the game. Schultz finished with 123 rushing yards in 14 tries.
“That was good,” Thomas said of the interception. “(Beaver) was close a couple of times. He made a play and made it so the game wasn’t in doubt.”
Meanwhile, sophomore Preston Hansel returned a kickoff 91 yards for a touchdown with 37.5 seconds left before halftime to put the Cavs up 31-7.
“We work awfully hard on special teams, and our special teams have played well this year,” Thomas said. “Our guys put bodies on bodies, got Preston to midfield and he broke some tackles and made a great individual effort after that.”
That kickoff, following the first of Triton senior quarterback Bryson Mosier’s three touchdown strikes to sophomore receiver Grant Stichter, stuck out in Triton head coach Rodney Younis’ mind.
“That kickoff return was huge,” Younis said. “We finally score, and we know we’re getting the ball to start the second half. We can’t have that kind of letdown. We had him, but the kids quit on the play.”
Also for the Cavs, senior quarterback Collin Stevens scored on a 2-yard first-quarter option keeper, booted a 33-yard field goal, delivered a 31-yard touchdown pass to 6-foot-6 senior Micah Budzinski, and tacked on four extra points. Stevens finished an efficient passing night 9 of 14 for 149 yards.
“We had a great week of practice,” Thomas said. “Wednesday and Thursday were like old times, and that certainly made the difference tonight.”
After a lackluster start, Triton regrouped in the second half behind Mosier and Stichter. Mosier, who put the Trojans on the board with a 29-yard hookup with Stichter in the second frame, connected with Stichter from 3 and 12 yards out to make the score 31-19 with 11:02 left in the game.
Stichter hauled in a total of seven passes for 73 yards.
“Grant is our backup quarterback, but simply, the kid is a football player,” Younis said. “He’ll play any position for us — quarterback, receiver, wing, slot. He has a bright future.”
Throwing out of a shotgun spread, Mosier finished 16 of 29 passing for 152 yards.
“I just got done telling Bryson how tough he is,” Younis said. “Here he is sitting in the pocket with a freshman and two sophomores protecting him. On the other side of the ball they’ve got their ears pinned back coming at him because they know he’s going to throw. I’m proud of him and the way he hung in there.”
“We started out flat,” he added. “Give Culver credit. They smacked us in the mouth at the start of the game and we fell back on our heels. I was proud of our kids and the way they brought the fight back in the second half.”
Defensively, Triton junior linebacker Cody Shively piled up a game-best 19 tackles.
Culver hosts New Prairie next Saturday, while Triton welcomes Bremen.
• CULVER 37,
Score by quarters
Culver: 14 17 0 6 — 37
Triton: 0 7 12 0 — 19
C — Bradley Beaver 2 run (Collin Stevens kick), 4:59.
C — Stevens 2 run (Stevens kick), 1:23.
C — Stevens 33 FG, 7:16
C — Micah Budzinski 31 pass from Stevens (Stevens kick), 3:22
T — Grant Stichter 29 pass from Bryson Mosier (Sabastion Bautista kick), 51.9
C — Preston Hansel 91 kickoff return (Stevens kick), 37.5
T — Stichter 3 pass from Mosier (pass failed), 5:02.
T — Stichter 12 pass from Mosier (pass failed), 11:02.
C — Tucker Schultz 65 run (kick failed), 7:55.
Rushing: 44 carries for 237 (Leading rushers — Schultz 14-123, Beaver 9-61)
Passing: Stevens 9-14, 149 yards
Receiving: Budzinski 4-72, Schultz 2-23, Allen Betts 1-19, Trent Elliott 1-18, Chris Zehner 1-17
Tackles: Matt Hurford 5.
First downs: 12
Rushing: 24 carries for 160 yards (Leading rushers — Mosier 10-62, Cody Shively 11-53)
Passing: Mosier 16-29, 152 yards, Stichter 1-2, (minus)2 yards
Receiving: Stichter 7-73, Josey Farmwald 3-42, Shively 2-11, Cordale Keyser 2-8, Charlie Steinman 1-12, DJ Riffle 1-4, Cole Creighbaum 1-0.
Tackles: Shively 19
First downs: 16
Records: Culver 1-2 (1-0 NSC), Triton 0-3 (0-1 NSC).