Regents Settle score
The Madison West junior ran roughshod over the Cougar defense for 196 yards and four touchdowns as he led the Regents to a 32-30 Big Eight Conference football victory at a soggy Monterey Stadium.
Craig (5-3 overall and in the Big Eight) got 236 yards passing from Zach Bayreuther, but finished with minus–17 yards rushing.
Cougar coach Bill O’Leary said his team lost the battle up front.
"We needed a better push from our line on both sides of the ball,” O’Leary said. “West plays a lot of kids both ways, and I thought we would beat them up front.
“Settle is a great back playing with an average bunch of guys, but we made them look awfully good tonight. There’s no excuse for us not playing better than we did.”
With West clinging to a 32-30 lead and time running down, Craig needed a stop on 4th-and-1 at the Craig 46. West called a timeout and decided to go for it rather than try and pin Craig deep in its territory.
Settle got the call and bolted over the top of the pile for two yards and a first down with 2:30 left. The Regents got one more first down and then were able to run out the clock to improve to 5-3 and clinch a playoff berth.
Settle, the son of University of Wisconsin running backs coach John Settle, said the opportunity to qualify for the playoffs proved to be plenty of incentive for the Regents.
“This was a big game for us that we had to have,” Settle said. “We know we beat a pretty good team tonight, but we knew we could play with them.
“Now, we’re in the playoffs, and anything can happen.”
Bayreuther found his favorite target, JoJo Pregont, 11 times for 135 yards, including a 20-yard scoring strike in the third quarter that cut West’s lead to 19-16.
West responded with a scoring drive, capped off by Settle’s 4-yard run with 2:43 left in the third quarter.
Despite Bayreuther’s impressive night that included two touchdown passes and a 3-yard touchdown run, the Cougars proved to be too one-dimensional offensively. Craig had only six rushing attempts in the second half as West’s defensive front contained the speedy Keegan Kelly and Joey Kennedy.
“We gave them 13 points early on, and that really came back to hurt us,” O’Leary said.
“I really felt like if we would’ve gotten a stop on West’s last possession, we would’ve gone down and scored and won the game. But we didn’t get the stop.”
WEST 32, CRAIG 30
Madison West 13 6 6 7—32
Janesville Craig 0 9 14 7—30
Scoring summary: W—Leighton Settle, 4 run (Colon Jarvis kick). W—Josh Minkoff, 15 interception return (kick blocked). C—FG, Mike Valentine, 32. W—Settle, 14 run (kick blocked). C—Keegan Kelly, 1 run (pass failed). C—JoJo Pregont, 20 pass from Zach Bayreuther (Valentine kick). W—Settle, 4 run (run failed). C—Joey Kennedy, 43 pass from Bayreuther (Valentine kick). W—Settle, 10 run (Jarvis kick). C—Bayreuther, 3 run (Valentine kick).
Statistics: First downs—West 11, Craig 12. Rushes—West 49-226, Craig 19-minus 17. Yards passing—West 17, Craig 236. Passes—West 5-1-1, Craig 32-20-2. Fumbles—West 3-1, Craig 2-1. Penalties—West 8-77, Craig 5-35.