Middleton manhandles Parker in Big Eight opener
MIDDLETON—Janesville Parker head coach Eric Skrzypchak didn’t know exactly how many fumbles the Vikings committed in the season opener.
He just knew that it was one of the main reasons why the 2014 season got off on the wrong foot.
Hoping to start a new chapter following last year’s two-win season, Janesville Parker stumbled, committing five fumbles in a 36-0 shutout loss at Middleton in the season opener for both teams.
“We definitely didn’t take care of the ball,” Skrzypchak said. “The turnovers hurt us.”
The one-sided affair, which was on a running clock for most of the second half, continued a pair of frustrating streaks for the Vikings, who have lost their last five games dating back to last season and haven’t beaten Middleton since 2006.
Wanting to get off to a fast start, Vikings sophomore Eric Schuhmacher found a seam on the right side of the line that led to a 28-yard gain and a boisterous sideline. It all went downhill from there. The Vikings fumbled on the next offensive play and twice more in the first quarter, and they never found a rhythm offensively.
Including the opening run, Parker had only five plays over 10 yards and didn’t complete its first pass for positive yards until the final minute of the game.
The Cardinals had no such problems on offense thanks to the great field position. Senior receiver Travis Zander caught a pair of four-yard touchdowns, and junior running back Cam Maly had touchdown runs of 3, 54 and 11 yards, the last of which he dragged a defender 10 yards into the end zone.
“For having some younger guys, only three or four returners on both sides of the ball, it can start to wear on some guys a little bit,” Skrzypchak said. “That’s the biggest thing—taking care of the ball and playing better as a team.”
Although the Vikings list 22 seniors on their roster, Parker will be relying on a lot of underclassmen to play impact roles, including sophomore Juan Harris, considered one of the top players in his class after transferring from Notre Dame College in Niles, Illinois.
Harris, who claims an offer from the University of Wisconsin and others, played approximately 30 snaps and did so mostly at nose tackle. He didn’t record any tackles but took on double teams most of the night to try and open up alleys for linebackers.
“It is going to help me learn a big thing about adversity, and that’s what we went through tonight,” Harris said. “We have to overcome that. Guys are working hard and practicing hard, but this (result) isn’t what we expect.”
Parker will play crosstown rival Janesville Craig on Friday.
“We’re not turning in our jerseys tonight,” Skrzypchak said. “We’ve got to come out ready to play next week. We have a chance to play next week, and we have to take advantage of that.”
MIDDLETON 36, PARKER 0
Parker 0 0 0 0—0
Middleton 8 21 7 0—36
Scoring summary: M—Cam Maly, 6 run (kick failed). M—Safety, back tackled in end zone. M—Mitchell Herl, 7 pass by Kellen Schulz (Whinnery kick). M—Maly, 54 run (Whinnery kick). M—Travis Zander, 5 from Schulz (Whinnery kick). M—Maly, 11 run (Whinnery kick).
Statistics: First downs—JP 6, M 9. Rushes—JP 29-77, M 29-172. Yards passing—JP 22, M 137. Passes—JP 12-2-0, M 18-10-0. Fumbles—JP 5-5, M 4-2. Penalties—JP 7-40, M 11-86.