Verona survives scare from Craig
JANESVILLE Janesville Craig’s football team proved it could play with the Big Eight’s best Friday night.
Now the Cougars have to figure out a way to beat the Big Eight’s best.
Verona took advantage of a botched Craig punt and a questionable pass interference call in rallying for a 28-14 win at Monterey Stadium.
Craig (0-2) led early on quarterback Andy Miller’s 62-yard scamper on the first series of the game. The Cougars had a chance to go up two scores when the Wildcats coughed up the football on their first play from scrimmage but couldn’t capitalize.
The Wildcats, however, took full advantage of a Craig special teams blunder. Craig punter Evan Shortreed had the snap sail over his head and before he could scoop it up out of the end zone and get a punt off, Verona’s front line was there to block the kick. David Drews recovered for the game-tying touchdown with 5:24 left in the half. The Wildcats made it 14-7 with 2:02 left in the half on John Tackett’s 1-yard run.
“The momentum clearly changed on that botched punt,” Craig coach Ben McCormick said.
“But I was proud of the way our kids competed for most of the night. Verona’s a very, very good football team that plays fast and does a lot of great things.”
Craig’s two scores came on Miller’s long run and a screen pass to Jared Krueger, who outran the Verona defense for a 63-yard touchdown. Other than that, Craig’s offense was stagnant. The Cougars finished with only 33 yards rushing and 186 yards of total offense.With the offense stuck in neutral, the defense kept the Cougars in the game. Led by senior linebacker Paul Foster, who made plays all over the field, the Craig defense held the high-powered Verona offense in check until the fourth quarter. Verona had only 81 yards of offense the first half and scored three of its four touchdowns on a short field, including the1-yard fumble return off the blocked punt.“We never seemed to get a rhythm established tonight or any kind of flow offensively,” McCormick said. “Defensively, I give our coaches credit for a great game plan. Verona is not an easy team to prepare for, and our defense, for the most part, played well.”A questionable pass interference call on Craig on a third-and-13 play helped set up Verona’s final score early in the fourth. The Cougars would’ve gotten the ball back trailing 21-14, but the Wildcats cashed in on the penalty thanks to a 1-yard TD run from Travis Murray.Things don’t get any easier for Craig next week as it travels to play fourth-ranked Sun Prairie (2-0).“The difference between winning and losing in this league is tiny,” McCormick said. “You’ve got to do the little things right and give yourself a chance.”
VERONA 28, CRAIG 14
Verona 0 14 7 7—28
Janesville Craig 7 0 7 0—14
Scoring summary: C—Andy Miller, 62 run (Monica Speth kick). V—David Drews, 1 fumble return (Derek Witte kick). V—John Tackett, 1 run (Witte kick). V—Brian Feiler, 38 pass from Tackett (Witte kick). C—Jared Krueger, 63 pass from Miller (Speth kick). V—Travis Murray, 1 run (Witte kick).
Statistics: First downs—V 17, C 9. Rushes—V 45-184, C 24-33. Yards passing—V 89, C 153. Passes—V 14-6-0, C 24-11-1. Fumbles—V 3-2, C 2-1. Penalties—V 9-79, C 13-117.