La Follette shuts out ineffective Craig
The Lancers then spoiled the festivities by torching the Cougars in a 28-0 Big Eight Conference victory at Monterey Stadium.
Senior quarterback Steve Chapiewsky threw three touchdown passes and the La Follette defense held Craig (5-3, 5-3) to minus-11 yards rushing as the Lancers moved a step closer to a conference title. La Follette (7-1, 6-1) can clinch its first Big Eight title in 31 years Wednesday night when it hosts Beloit Memorial. Sun Prairie (7-1, 6-1) is tied with La Follette and will play Madison West on Wednesday.
Craig had no answer for Chapiewsky and La Follette’s well-oiled offense. The three-year starter completed 14-of-28 passes for 138 yards, including eight hook-ups with wide receiver Cashton Craig. Chapiewsky said La Follette’s 17-14 loss to Janesville Parker in week one has played a key role in the Lancers’ seven-game winning streak.
“We got together after the Parker game and talked as a team about how much we still wanted to accomplish,” Chapiewsky said. “We didn’t play well that game and we knew we could play better.
“Tonight, we stuck to the basics for the most part and it seemed to work out.”
La Follette grabbed an early 7-0 lead on sophomore D.J. Fuller’s 9-yard run with 2:44 left in the opening quarter. Fuller, one of the many talented weapons that Chapiewsky has at his disposal on offense, finished with 111 yards rushing on 27 carries.
The Lancers pushed the lead to 14-0 by halftime thanks to Chapiewsky’s first touchdown pass of the night—a 9-yard strike to Craig.
The Cougars struggled offensively most of the game. With 7:57 left in the game, Craig had only run three plays the second half.
Craig coach Bill O’Leary said it boiled down to a lack of execution on both sides of the ball.
“It’s not taking care of the ball. It’s not being able to get the defense off the field. It’s not taking advantage of opportunities when they’re there. A lot of things went wrong tonight,” O’Leary said.
“They’ve got some great athletes on their team, and I thought No. 5 (Chapiewsky) was the difference in the game. He makes it very tough to defend them. You think you have him and all of a sudden he gets out of trouble and makes plays.”
Craig got a 50-yard punt return from J.R. Negus in the third quarter to move into Lancer territory, but the drive stalled at the La Follette 40 after three plays.
Negus, a senior cornerback, suffered a neck injury with 7:57 to play and was taken off the field on a backboard before being taken to Mercy Hospital. O’Leary said Negus had movement in both his arms and legs but was experiencing neck pain.
Craig quarterback Charlie Roherty finished with 166 yards passing, but lack of a rushing game had the senior scrambling most of the night.
The Cougars wrap up the regular season with a nonconference game at Stevens Point—the top-ranked team in the state in Division 1. O’Leary knows the Cougars will have their hands full.
“We’ve got tonight to feel sorry for ourselves and then we got to get back to work tomorrow morning,” O’Leary said. “Stevens Point is not going to say, ‘geez, that’s too bad that Craig got beat last week.’”
LA FOLLETTE 28, CRAIG 0
Madison La Follette 7 7 0 14—28
Janesville Craig 0 0 0 0—0
Scoring summary: L—D.J. Fuller, 9 run (Steve Chapiewsky kick). L—Cashton Craig, 9 pass from Chapiewsky (Chapiewsky kick). L—Tyler Knight, 14 pass from Chapiewsky (Chapiewsky kick). L—Ross Elliott, 2 pass from Chapiewsky (Chapiewsky kick).
Statistics: First downs—L 14, C 9. Rushes—L 37-153, C 13-minus 11. Yards passing—L 138, Craig 166. Passes—L 28-14-0, C 30-18-0. Fumbles—L 0-0, C 6-3. Penalties—L 4-35, C 6-47.
Game at glance
The play: Greg Pedersen is stopped for a 2-yard loss on third-and-inches on Craig’s opening drive.
The player: La Follette’s Steve Chapiewsky passed for 138 yards and three touchdowns.
The quote: “With an opponent like Craig, this was our best game of the year—especially with the way our defense played.”—La Follette coach Chad Wiese.
The significance: La Follette remained tied for first in the Big Eight with one conference game left. Craig was eliminated from title contention.
The agenda: Craig is at top-ranked Stevens Point on Wednesday.