Craig football falls in shootout
MADISON Ben McCormick admitted he is “starting to sound like a broken record.”
The first-year Janesville Craig High School head football coach’s reoccurring nightmare was another valiant effort falling short here Thursday night.
After falling behind 38-12 in the third quarter against Madison Memorial, the Cougars rallied with three touchdowns, but still came up short and fell to 0-4 on the season with 38-32 loss at Mansfield Stadium.
Memorial, now 3-1 in the Big Eight and overall, threw for nearly 300 yards, but pulled away in the first half with the help of three strange plays.
First, Jordan Frederick returned Craig’s blocked field-goal attempt 79 yards to open the scoring. Mike Moss followed with a 52-yard completion to a wide-open Lechein Neblett on a busted coverage, and Kevin Meier added a 40-yard interception return for a touchdown to give Memorial a 22-6 lead.
“We competed a little better in the second half,” McCormick said. “We scored the last 20 points, but give credit to them. Their offense is very high-powered.”
Running a no-huddle, spread offense, Moss completed 26 of 33 passes for 298 yards and two touchdowns. The second came with no time remaining in the first half. The senior threw a 17-yard strike to Neblett, who tapped his toes in the end zone before falling out of bounds, leaving the Spartans with a 30-12 lead.
It was that kind of night for the Cougars, who played without starting quarterback Myles Johnson after the junior suffered a concussion last week against Madison La Follette. Sophomore Cam Wright directed the second-half comeback and ran for 61 yards, but it wasn’t enough.
“Cam did a excellent job,” McCormick added. “I was proud of the way he competed.”
Wright started the second-half rally with a quarterback sneak for a touchdown. Drilon Grajcevci added a 41-yard blast up the middle for another Cougar score en route to a 109-yard rushing performance, and Keegan Kelly had 12-yard run off tackle to pull Craig within 38-32 with a 1:24 left.
But after Neblett recovered the ensuing on-side kick, Memorial ran out the clock to move a half-game behind Janesville Parker (3-0) in the conference standings.
“We have to put four quarters together, and we haven’t done that yet,” Memorial coach Ric Saenz said. “But when we get a nice tempo going, it’s hard to defend.”
Craig can vouch for that.
MEMORIAL 38, CRAIG 32
Janesville Craig 0 12 7 13—32
Madison Memorial 8 22 8 0—38
Scoring summary: MM—Jordan Frederick 79 return of block field-goal attempt (Luke Galle, pass from Mike Moss). JC—Keegan Kelly, 13 run (kick failed). MM—Lechein Neblett, 52 pass from Moss (run failed). MM—Kevin Meier, 40 interception return (Frederick, pass from Moss). JC— Cam Wright, 10 run (run failed). MM—Neblett 17 yard pass from Moss (Moss run). MM—Keith Larson, 7 run (Colin Hulick, pass from Moss). JC—Wright, 1 run (Tom Kitching kick). JC—Drilon Grajcevci, 41 run (pass failed). JC—Kelly, 12 run (Kitching kick).
Statistics: First downs—JC 16, MM 18. Rushing—JC 50-296, MMl 20-44. Yards passing—JC 46, MM 298. Passes—JC 15-6-1, MM 33-26-1. Fumbles—JC 2-0, MM 2-2. Penalties—JC 5-40, MM 8-65.
n La Follette 42, Beloit 28—D.J. Fuller rushed 18 times for 126 yards and a touchdown to help visiting Madison La Follette (2-2) get past Beloit Memorial (1-3) in a Big Eight game.
Beloit quarterback Jeff Hollenbach completed 11 of 21 passes for 168 yards and ran for an 18-yard touchdown. He completed a 36-yard scoring pass to Robert Douglas, who had nine catches for 180 yards.
LA FOLLETTE 42, BELOIT 28
Madison La Follette 12 8 6 16—42
Beloit Memorial 0 8 6 14—28
Scoring summary: ML—D.J. Fuller, 19 run (pass failed). ML—Nick Anderson, 4 run (pass failed). BM—Brandon Hiering, 3 run (Kenny Evans pass from Jeff Hollenbach). ML—Fuller, 7 run (Fuller run). ML—Kyle Christensen, 16 pass from Anderson (pass failed). BM—Hiering, 4 run (pass failed). ML—Jaylen Plummer, 12 run (Evan Salch pass from Anderson). BM—Hollenbach, 18 run (pass failed). ML—Brooks Jackson, 35 pass from Anderson (Dominque Sanders run). BM—Robert Douglas, 36 pass from Hollenbach (Alvin Williams pass from Hollenbach).
Statistics: First downs—MF 17, BM 15. Rushing—ML 36-196, BM 37-181. Yards passing—ML 224, BM 199. Passes—ML 16-12-0, BM 22-12-0. Fumbles—ML 4-2, BM 1-1. Penalties—ML 5-25, BM 2-15.
n West 35, East 12—Leighton Settle rushed 14 times for 209 yards and scored five touchdowns to lead Madison West (2-2) past Madison East (1-3) in a Big Eight game at Lussier Stadium.
Drew McAdams threw 37- and 2-yard touchdowns passes to Tyler Kubicek and Marquis Mason as East stayed with the Regents in the first quarter and trailed only 14-12.
Settle, however, was too much for East. After the Purgolders took a 12-7 lead with 2:03 left in the first quarter, Settle raced 67 yards for a touchdown just 13 seconds later to give West the lead for good. His other TDs came on 64, 5, 43 and 1-yard runs.
WEST 35, EAST 12
Madison West 14 7 14 0—35
Madison East 12 0 0 0—12
Scoring summary: ME—Tyler Kubicek, 37 pass from Drew McAdams (kick failed). MW—Leighton Settle, 64 run (Kenneth Doe kick). ME—Marquis Mason, 2 pass from McAdams (run failed). MW—Settle, 67 run (Doe kick). MW—Settle, 5 run (Doe kick). MW—Settle, 43 run (Doe kick). MW—Settle, 1 run (Doe kick).
Statistics: First downs—ME 15, MW 9. Rushing—ME 23-117, MW 45-344. Yards passing—ME 162, MW –5. Passes—ME 24-13-3, MW 2-1-0. Fumbles—ME 0, MW 2-0. Penalties—ME 9-75, MW 8-57.