Mistakes cost Parker eight-point halftime lead
Seeing his team come back from an eight-point halftime deficit to overtake defending champion Janesville Parker had Sun Prairie coach Brian Kaminski skipping up the sidelines.
The Cardinals rode the legs of tailback Sean Marshall and took advantage of Parker’s mistakes to gain the hard-fought 23-21 Big Eight Conference victory Friday night.
The win keeps Sun Prairie in line for its first Big Eight Conference title since 2000 after improving to 6-1 (7-1 overall). The Cardinals, along with Madison LaFollette, held on to shares of first place with victories Friday. Meanwhile, Parker slips to 4-3 in the conference and 5-3 overall after allowing Sun Prairie to rally past them in the second half.
“The difference was making mistakes and taking ourselves out of offensive opportunities,” Parker coach Joe Dye said. “Against a football team like Sun Prairie, you can’t squander scoring opportunities and we did.”
Parker helped Sun Prarie mount its comeback in three painful minutes.
First, Robert Weske recovered a Parker fumble inside it’s 10, which Travis Lundy turned into a 6-yard touchdown a play later. Then, after a Parker three-and-out, Marshall took a pitch right and went for a 64-yard score. Sun Prairie was not headed after that.
The sophomore finished with 180 yards on 23 carries, including a twisting eight-yard run for first down that allowed the Cardinals to run out the clock after Parker pulled within 23-21 with three minutes and 28 seconds left.
“He’s a great running back,” Kaminski said. “He is special and he showed it on that last run tonight, where we needed a first down to ice the game and he was stopped short, but he put his head down and had nice forward lean.”
The lean on Parker didn’t end, until it managed to put together a six-play, 55-yard drive to pull within two points with 3:28 remaining. Quarterback B.J. Scharenbroch connected on a 15-yard pass to Jacob Fox, before hitting Jared Fox on a crossing pattern for a 29-yard touchdown.
Scharenbroch completed 14 of 26 passes for 178 yards, with Jared Fox hauling in nine of the passes for 141 yards. Lavell Hewlett returned to line-up to add 97 yards rushing on 22 carries.
But, Parker could not get the ball back and overcome the three minutes of misery in the third quarter.
“The fumble was big because we gave them a short field,” said Dye, whose team also had six crucial penalties for 55 yards. “We gave them too many opportunities. You can’t do that and win high school football games.”
SUN PRAIRIE 23. PARKER 21
Janesville Parker 7 7 0 7—21
Sun Prairie 0 6 14 3—23
Scoring summary: JP—Jared Fox, 8 pass from B.J. Scharenbroch (Travis Wood kick). SP—Reed Harmon, 42 pass from Lee Brekke (kick failed). JP—Jacob Fox, 50 run (Wood kick). SP—Travis Ludy, 6 run (Jake Dammen kick). SP—Sean Marshall, 64 run (Dammen kick). SP—FG, Dammen, 34. JP—Jared Fox, 29 pass from B.J. Scharenbroch (Wood kick).
Statistics: First downs—JP 16. SP 17. Rushing—JP 33-154, SP 36-207. Yards passing—JP 178, SP 180. Passes—JP 26-14-0, SP 17-6-2. Fumbles—JP 2-1, SP 0-0. Penalties—JP 6-55, SP 1-5.