When Clay Iverson decided to go for it on fourth down deep in his own territory, his coaching staff looked at him as if he was crazy.
Leading 6-0 in the third quarter, the decision could have easily backfired on Mukwonago.
But Scott Johnson not only picked up the 1 yard the Indians needed for the first down, but the senior fullback broke away for a 77-yard touchdown that was the decisive blow in Mukwonago's 21-0 victory over Muskego on Friday night.
"I think every one of my assistants walked away on that one," Iverson said. "I believe in our kids, but part of that was respect for Muskego. We thought that at that part of the game, we needed to keep the football.
"We said at halftime that there would a defining moment in the game. I'm not sure that was it, but it was pretty close to one. The credit goes to the kids. We didn't outscheme them. It was a basic play. Our kids executed it, and it went to the end zone."
With the way Mukwonago's defense was playing, the Indians just might have kept Muskego from scoring even if Johnson would have been stopped short of the first down.
Mukwonago limited Muskego to just 200 yards of offense to become the first Classic 8 team to pitch a shutout against the Warriors in a conference game. The last time Muskego was held scoreless was Sept. 25, 2009 in a 6-0 loss to Racine Park.
"We are able to see our plays on the sidelines and we had some missed assignments, missed blocks and missed reads," Muskego coach Ken Krause said. "It was a combination of Mukwonago playing really, really well and us making some mistakes we don't really make."
After each team traded missed field goals in a scoreless first quarter, Nate Lesnick scored on fourth and goal from the 1-yard line to give Mukwonago a 6-0 lead with 3:49 left in the first half.
Muskego moved the ball 30 yards on its opening possession of the third quarter, but its drive stalled at midfield.
On Mukwonago's ensuing drive, Iverson kept the offense on the field on fourth and 1 from the Indians' own 23-yard line.
Johnson took the handoff, burst free and outran the Muskego defense for the touchdown. Quarterback Gabe Cizauskas then hit tight end Dalton Gillette for the 2-point conversion to put Mukwonago up 14-0 with 5:42 left in the third quarter.
"We were just trying to get a first down to keep the drive going," Johnson said. "Our line stepped up. They gave me a crease. I took it and took it to the house."
As Muskego continued to struggle to get anything going on offense, the Indians put the game away with an 11-play, 57-yard drive capped by a 1-yard touchdown run on fourth down by Zach Genrich.
Johnson carried the ball eight times for 118 yards, while Genrich finished with 96 yards on 20 carries.
Muskego played most of the night without leading rusher Michael Madia, out with a sprained ankle. Madia carried the ball four times for four yards in the first half but sat out the vast majority of the second half.
"He didn't practice pretty much the whole week," Krause said. "I tried to get him in there and he just wasn't running like himself. I didn't want him to get an extended injury. He's a big weapon."
The Indians followed up a 47-0 rout of Waukesha South in the conference opener by pitching yet another shutout, this time against a Warriors team that entered averaging 45 points per game.
With Muskego's passing game not posing much of a threat, Mukwonago was able to key in on stopping the wing-T attack. The Indians forced five three-and-outs and one four-and-out. Muskego moved into Mukwonago territory just three times and into the red zone just once.
Cody Krause ran 14 times for 64 yards, but Muskego gained just 149 yards on the ground.
"The credit goes to the kids first, but I will say our defensive staff works tirelessly," Iverson said. "The kids do what they are coached to do. When they kids do what they are coached to do, it is fun.
"You can't speak highly enough about our defense, especially in the first half when we were trying to figure a few things out on the offensive side of the ball. They kept us right there with the lead."
Mukwonago is 2-0 in the Classic 8 for the first time since 2006 and one of three unbeaten teams (Catholic Memorial and Waukesha North) through the first two weeks of league play.
"You have to protect your own turf, and we did a good job of that," Iverson said. "We have to come back and get better. I know that sounds cliche. Maybe that is cliche in other conferences, but not in this one. As soon as you stop improving, you lose. We have to keep improving."
At 0-2 in the conference, Muskego must dig itself out of an early hole and win four of its final five games in order to make the playoffs for the third consecutive season.
"When you lose, people can get negative," Krause said. "You need leadership when things aren't going well. I'm going to be real excited to see the kids that step up this week as leaders.
"We haven't lost a lot of football games the last few years. We're going to find out the true character of our kids and coaches."