Hall racks up yardage in Craig's 42-26 win
MADISON—Trevon Hall entered his senior season looking forward to more carries.
The Janesville Craig running back wasted no time.
Hall needed just eight carries to rack up 150 yards and a pair of touchdowns as the Cougars rushed for nearly 400 yards and overcame four turnovers in a season-opening 42-26 Big Eight Conference victory over Madison East at Lussier Stadium on Friday night.
“Everything was clicking for me it seemed like,” Hall said. “Hopefully there's more to come. I didn't get as much as I wanted last year, so I hope this is my breakout year.”
As one of several options at running back, Hall mostly made his mark on a play that had him sweeping outside of the left tackle.
He opened the game with a 29-yard sprint and two plays later followed with a 20-yard burst into the end zone, as the Cougars needed just 38 seconds to score their first touchdown.
“I knew I was going to get some room on that play, but nothing like that,” Hall said.
The Cougars' quick start was stymied by turnovers.
The Purgolders turned a fumble into their first score of the year, taking an 8-6 lead on a 23-yard pass from Zachary Zilm to Robert Sanders.
East immediately snared another turnover when it turned a tipped pass into an interception. Zilm found Jordan Chester from 30 yards out to make it 14-6 less than five minutes into the game.
“Obviously we got off to a fast start … but you can't turn it over four times,” Craig coach Ben McCormick said.
The fast-paced first quarter continued as Craig turned around and drove 65 yards in six plays. D.J. Weburg scored the first of his three touchdowns and Hall converted to tie the game.
With 1:17 left in the first, Weburg gave the Cougars the lead back for good with a nine-yard run, capping a first quarter where Craig ran for more than 200 yards.
“He's got real light feet,” McCormick said. “He's got power and speed and pretty good vision, so he's a threat.”
Hall's biggest run of the night came two minutes into the second quarter when he blazed 66 yards for another score.
“They gave us an opportunity to get the edge a little bit, and early on we got there well,” McCormick said. “He made plays. But they made some adjustments and took that away from us, and we struggled to find a rhythm in the second and third quarters.”
Both teams sputtered into halftime, but East got back within eight points when it chewed up more than half of the third quarter with a 15-play, 79-yard drive. Jamari Manuel, who rushed 20 times for 84 yards, scored the first of his two touchdowns to make it 28-20.
Craig quarterback Tom Gabower answered back when his first completion of the year went 49 yards to Ryan Kind for a touchdown on a play where nearly everyone in the stadium thought he had rushed up the middle for no gain. Gabower bounced back out of the scrum and saw Kind wide open downfield.
Craig turned the ball over twice more in the fourth quarter, but Weburg sealed the game with his third touchdown.
“We take a lot of time in the film room, especially early on in the season, to correct those mistakes,” said McCormick, who also pointed to penalties and four kickoffs that went out of bounds. “The whole game is about that football. It's what you fight over, and we've got to protect it.
“It's always good to get a win, but we'll learn from it. And you always want to make your biggest improvements from Week One to Week Two.”
CRAIG 42, EAST 26
Janesville Craig 21 7 0 14—42
Madison East 14 0 6 6—26
Scoring summary: JC—Trevon Hall, 20 run (kick failed). ME—Robert Sanders, 23 pass from Zachary Zilm (Jamari Manuel run). ME—Jordan Chester, 30 pass from Zilm (kick failed). JC—D.J. Weburg, 5 run (Joe Glowacki kick). JC—Weburg, 9 run (Glowacki kick). JC—Hall, 66 run (Glowacki kick). ME—Manuel, 2 run (conversion failed). JC—Ryan Kind, 49 pass from Tom Gabower (Glowacki kick). ME—Manuel, 47 run (conversion failed). JC—Weburg, 5 run (Glowacki kick).
Statistics: First downs—Craig 20, East 12. Rushes—Craig 49-391, East 38-93. Yards passing—Craig 63, East 146. Passes—Craig 10-2-1, East 24-8-0. Fumbles—Craig 4-3, East 3-2. Penalties—Craig 7-50, East 9-45.