Parker runs through Madison Memorial
The Vikings set the tone Friday night after Erick Albeck returned the opening kickoff 35 yards.
From there, hard-charging Adam Vesterfelt banged off five straight carries, with last going 24 yards, as the senior went off tackle untouched for the first of five touchdowns.
Vesterfelt and his offensive line paved the way for the opening-night victory, as Parker raced out to a 21-0 lead before securing the 35-7 Big Eight Conference victory at Madison Memorial.
“We did take control of the football game early,” Parker coach Joe Dye said. “It’s Week One, and it’s a good start.”
Vesterfelt finished with 319 yards on 35 carries and scored on runs of 24, 9, 18, 56 and 24 yards. The senior welcomed the wide running lanes provided by center Max Huener, guards Michael Dubanowich and Trever Steinke and tackles Kevin Bushaw and Michael Rainiero.
“We just didn’t move it consistently for a couple series, but that is part of playing young guys up front in the first night out,” Dye added after his offense posted 369 yards. “But, I don’t care. In this league it’s tough to win.”
Dye had reason to be satisfied with his young line of three juniors performing well on opening night.
While Parker stuck mostly with its ground-and-pound attack, Memorial tried to rally with its passing spread offense. However, without the services of starting quarterback Joe Ferguson, who earned honorable mention in the Big Eight last year, the Spartans struggled to keep up.
Reserve quarterback Donnel Thompson put a scare into the Vikings with a 68-yard bomb to Jester Weah to set up a 10-yard touchdown pass from Jon Wilkins to Weah midway through the second quarter. The score brought Memorial to within 21-7.
But, Parker quickly answered by marching 71 yards in four plays, culminating on a 56-yard touchdown run off-tackle by Vesterfelt.
“We have to make the routine catches to make our offense click on all cylinders, and we didn’t do that tonight,” first-year Memorial coach Mike Galindo said. “Also, not being able to run the ball up the middle really limited us tonight.”
Parker limited the Spartans to six yards rushing, while keeping Memorial from hurting them with any big plays over the top.
Thompson finished with 199 yards passing on 13 completions in 33 attempts.
“With a lot of young kids in the secondary, I thought our effort was good,” Dye said. “This is a great game to teach from, but we have a lot of work to do, because every week is going to get tougher.”
PARKER 35, MEMORIAL 7
Janesville Parker 14 14 0 7—35
Madison Memorial 0 7 0 0—7
Scoring summary: P—Adam Vesterfelt, 24 run (Cullin Simonson kick); JP—Vesterfelt, 9 run (Simonson kick); JP—Vesterfelt 18 run (Simonson kick); MM—Jester Weah, 10 pass from Jon Wilkins (Jeremy Garland kick); JP—Vesterfelt, 56 run (Simonson kick); JP—Vesterfelt 24 run (Simonson kick).
Statistics: First downs—P 15, MM 9. Rushing—P 48-341, MM—24-6. Passing yards—P 49, MM 209. Passing—P 15-4-2; MM 34-14-1. Fumbles—P 2-1, MM 4-1.