La Follette gets past Craig
JANESVILLE In taking third-ranked Sun Prairie down to the wire before losing last Friday, Madison La Follette proved that its 1-3 record was deceiving.
The Lancers made believers out of Janesville Craig here Friday night.
Troy Teigen threw two touchdown passes and La Follette’s defense came up with three big stops inside the red zone in a 26-15 Big Eight Conference victory at Monterey Stadium.
La Follette (2-3, 2-3) kept its playoff hopes alive, while Craig (1-4, 1-4) must win its last three games to earn a postseason bid.
The Cougars took a 7-6 lead with 1:36 left in the first quarter, but it was all Lancers after that. La Follette scored twice in the second quarter to take a 20-7 halftime lead and pushed the margin to 26-7 early in the third.
“We didn’t convert when we had some opportunities and that was the difference in the game,” Craig coach Ben McCormick said. “And give La Follette credit. They’re a good team that made some big plays when we were driving for points.
“We have to continue to improve. The sun is going to come up, and nobody is going to feel sorry for us. We have three games left with a lot left to play for.”
Craig took its only lead when Darian Sharifi caught Tom Gabower’s long pass in stride for a 45-yard touchdown with 1:36 left in the opening quarter. Sharifi, a talented 6-foot-2, 185-pound senior, caught three passes for 72 yards in the first half. The Lancers, however, clamped down on Sharifi in the second half and held him without a catch.
The Cougars outgained the Lancers in total yardage, 306-227, but could not finish three drives inside the La Follette 25-yard line.
Craig faked a punt on its first possession of the second half, but La Follette sniffed it out and sacked punter Evan Shortreed for a 7-yard loss on fourth down. The Lancers scored on the next play as Teigen hit Marcus Collins for a 38-yard touchdown pass to extend the lead to 26-7.
With three games left on the regular-season schedule, Craig must win all three to earn a WIAA playoff berth.
McCormick knows three straight is a tall order but he remains confident in his team.
“The key is that our guys believe that, and I really think they do,” McCormick said of running the table to end the regular season. “It’s good group of guys and they’ll respond and get back to work Monday.
“How you respond to adversity is important. We have good leadership on this team, and I think they’ll respond to it.”
LA FOLLETTE 26, CRAIG 15
Madison La Follette 6 14 6 0—26
Janesville Craig 7 0 0 8—15
Scoring summary: L—Brent Dobson, 19 pass from Troy Teigen (kick blocked). C—Darian Sharifi, 45 pass from Tom Gabower (Monica Speth kick). L—Andfe Saunders, 1 run (pass failed). L—Jermaine Richmond, 5 run (Trevon Ampe pass from Teigen). L—Marcus Collins, 38 pass from Teigen (pass failed). C—Andy Miller, 8 run (Miller run).
Statistics: First downs—L 14, C 21. Rushes—L 36-121, C 47-200. Yards passing—L 106, C 106. Passes—L 13-6-0, C 25-10-2. Fumbles—L 1-0, C 1-0. Penalteis—L 12-70, C 4-25.