Big plays lift Kenosha Tremper over Craig
Unfortunately for the Cougars, they have nothing in the win column to show for it.
Tuesday night in a WIAA Division 1 playoff opener against eighth-ranked Kenosha Tremper, the Cougars couldn’t avoid the big play en route to a 21-6 loss.
Coupled with losses to Big Eight Conference co-champion Madison La Follette two weeks ago and top-ranked Stevens Point last week, Craig dropped its last three games of the season to teams with a combined 29-1 record.
“I’m kind of tired of playing these world-beater teams,” Craig coach Bill O’Leary said. “It’s a rough schedule, but I really thought our kids handled it well.
“Tonight it was a matter of doing certain things that you can get away with against the lesser teams in our league (the Big Eight Conference) that you can’t get away with against a good team like Tremper. You can’t have a seven--minute drive end and get nothing. And that’s what we did.”
Trailing 14-6 at half, Craig started the second half with a long drive that eventually turned into a first-and-goal at the 4-yard line. An incompletion, a sack and another incompletion set up a 26-yard field goal by Charlie Roherty. The kick was long enough but sailed wide right.
“That really hurt to come out of there with no points,” O’Leary said of the seven-minute drive. “You get first-and-goal inside the 5, you better find a way to score, and we didn’t.”
Craig (5-5) was within striking distance until Tremper (10-0) extended the lead to 15 on the first play of the fourth quarter. Senior quarterback Kyle Snell, who proved to be a pest to the Cougar defense the whole game, hit Sean Barrett on what seemed to be a routine 10-yard slant play. Barrett turned on the jets and outraced two Craig defenders to the end zone for a 37-yard touchdown.
The Cougars got the ball back three more times but they couldn’t pull within a touchdown. Roherty, who finished 17-for-35 passing for 152 yards, was stalked by a quick and athletic Tremper defense all night. The Trojans pressured the three-year starter into an uncharacteristic three interceptions and numerous hurries.
Despite the three interceptions, Roherty also was pinpoint accurate on a number of throws. Junior wideout JoJo Pregont, who is rapidly becoming an ideal candidate for a collegiate tight end at 6-foot-6, 210 pounds, finished with six catches for 67 yards.
Roherty’s favorite target, senior Tyler Uschan, caught seven passes for 70 yards and hauled in a 3-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter to cut Tremper’s lead to 7-6.
“We’ve played good football the last couple weeks but not good enough,” O’Leary said. “We had Stevens Point on the ropes, and they’re supposed to be the best team in the state. If we make a couple plays tonight and don’t give up two long touchdown passes, it’s a different game.
“It hurts right now, no doubt about,’’ he said. “The toughest part about it is that I’ve got some seniors that are walking off the football field for the last time. It’s not fun.”
TREMPER 21, CRAIG 6
Janesville Craig 0 6 0 0—6
Kenosha Tremper 7 7 0 7—21
Scoring summary: KT—Alex Hagen, 51 pass from Kyle Snell (Tyler Hujik kick). JC—Tyler Uschan, 4 pass from Charlie Roherty (kick failed). KT—Snell, 8 run (Hujik kick). KT—Sean Barrett, 37 pass from Snell (Hujik kick).
Statistics: First downs—JC 10, KT 15. Rushes—JC 23-105, KT 37-156. Yards passing—JC 152, KT 140. Passes—JC 35-17-3, KT 16-9-1. Fumbles—JC 2-1, KT 2-0. Penalties—JC 2-11, KT 2-25.