Beloit gets first football win over Craig since 1998
BELOIT No matter how loudly opportunity knocked, Janesville Craig High School’s football team couldn’t manage to open the door in a 12-6 loss to Beloit Memorial here Friday night.
The Cougars turned the ball over eight times and came up empty on three trips to the red zone against their Big Eight rival at Jacobson Field, leaving Beloit (1-1, 1-1) with its first win over Craig since 1998.
After Craig (0-2, 0-2) took a 6-0 lead early in the second quarter on a 1-yard inside run by Keegan Kelly, the Purple Knights’ playmaking junior, Caleb Goff, took over for the rest of the half.
Goff, who forced a fumble deep in Knights territory earlier, got behind the Cougars’ safeties on a deep post for a 68-yard touchdown pass from Jeff Hollenbach.
The Knights failed to convert the two-point conversion but played bend-don’t-break defense, capped by the first of five interceptions thrown by Myles Johnson, to take over with less than two minutes left in the half.
Goff set up his 4-yard run for the go-ahead touchdown with a halfback pass play. Rolling right off the pitch, Goff lofted a pass to Rob Douglas, who made leaping catch at the 4 with Da’Mario Graham and Alex Crandall draped all over.
“He was everywhere, and we needed every big play he made,” Beloit coach Joe Oberneder said of Goff, who also had an interception early in the third quarter.
Beloit’s tall defensive backs thwarted a Craig passing attack that put up 265 yards a week ago in a 40-35 loss to title-favored Sun Prairie. Two Cougar drives stalled in the red zone in the second half against Beloit.
“We had a lot of opportunities around the goal line down six points but just couldn’t finish,” Craig coach Ben McCormick said.
Early on, the Cougar offense nearly picked up where it left off a week ago, but Johnson overthrew his fleet-footed wideout, Brett Bates, with two early passes. On the last series of the first quarter, he lofted a pinpoint pass for Ben Rohr on a left flag route, but Rohr couldn’t haul it in near the goal line.
“The difference between this week and last week was last week we made those plays we were just an inch or two away from making tonight,” McCormick said. “It could’ve been an entirely different game tonight.”
While Johnson led a three-pronged attack that racked up 209 rushing yards, Craig managed just 16 yards passing as Johnson went 3-for-15 and dealt with persistent pressure.
McCormick saw the nightmarish game as a teachable moment.
“Myles is a competitor. He’s a tough kid, and he’ll bounce back,” McCormick said. “I wouldn’t call him an inexperienced quarterback, but he’s only got one game (now two games) under his belt, so there’s some learning that can take place.”
Even Kelly’s touchdown run came in less-than-comfortable circumstances. The shifty tailback appeared to fumble the ball out of the end zone at the tail end of a long run, but was ruled down. He capitalized by running in off the left guard untouched.
Said capitalization, however, was the exception, not the rule for the Cougars.
“We just kept shooting ourselves in the foot—missed assignments, mental mistakes—it was seemingly a different guy every play,” McCormick said.
BELOIT 12, CRAIG 6
Janesville Craig 0 6 0 0—6
Beloit Memorial 0 12 0 0—12
Scoring summary: JC—Keegan Kelly, 1 run (kick failed). BM—Caleb Goff, 68 pass from Jeff Hollenbach (run failed). BM—Goff, 5 run (pass failed).
Statistics: First downs—JC 13, BM 7. Rushing—JC 43-209, BM 38-118. Yards passing—JC 16, BM 105. Passes—JC 14-3-5, BM 8-3-2. Fumbles—JC 4-3, BM 2-1. Penalties—JC 7-45, BM 9-60.