Unbeaten Verona strikes quickly against Craig
Senior Night festivities delayed the kickoff until 7:50 p.m., but once the game was kicked off, it didn’t take long for Verona to score. The third-ranked Wildcats needed only five plays to score three touchdowns and pull away from the Cougars for a 52-14 victory.
The loss ended Craig High’s hopes for a playoff bid as the Cougars fell to 3-5 in the Big Eight Conference and overall.
Meanwhile, Verona clinched a tie for its fourth straight Big Eight title and seventh consecutive overall. The Wildcats (8-0), No. 3 in the AP large-school state ratings, can clinch the outright title with win over Beloit Memorial next week.
“There was a reason we tried to milk the clock in the first half,” Craig coach Ben McCormick said. “That is an extremely talented offensive football team.”
Craig took the opening kickoff and drove to Verona 17 before Cameron Wright’s pass was intercepted by David Danaher. On Verona’s first play from scrimmage, Dom Wise went untouched around the right end for a 75-yard touchdown run.
After a Craig three-and-out, Wise again broke off a 42-yard run, before scoring on the third play of the drive from five yards out.
Craig pulled within 14-7 after Evan Shortreed’s pass completion to Ron Lindgren on a fake punt, which set up Wright’s 5-yard touchdown keeper. But on the ensuing play from scrimmage, Wise broke free again around the left end for a 65-yard touchdown run to cap the three touchdowns in five plays outburst, putting the Wildcats comfortably ahead.
“They came out and played fast,” McCormick said. “They caught us on a couple things, and there they went. It gave them a lot of big plays offensively.”
In all, Verona scored on nine of its 10 possessions, including eight touchdowns.
The three touchdowns for Wise came on his first three carries, and the junior finished with 209 yards on eight carries. Tyler Parker added 94 yards on nine carries and three second-half touchdowns.
Craig pulled within 31-14 on Shortreed’s 3-yard run but could not hold back the Wildcats. Wright led the Cougars with 119 yards on 20 carries.
“Verona runs an inside sweep and outside sweep, and you have to pick your poison,” McCormick said. “Then they can hit with a trap inside. They do so many things, and they do them all well.’’
VERONA 52, CRAIG 14
Janesville Craig 0 7 7 0—14
Verona 14 10 21 7—52
Scoring summary: V—Dom Wise, 75 run (Witte kick). V—Wise, 5 run (Witte kick). JC— Cameron Wright, 5 run (Monica Speth kick). V—Wise, 65 run (Witte kick). V—FG, Witte, 22. V—Tyler Parker, 25 run (Witte kick). V—Parker, 26 run (Witte kick). JC—Evan Shortreed, 3 run (Speth kick). V—Watzke, 18 pass from Jake Hauser (Witte kick). V—Parker, 3 run (Witte kick).
Statistics: First downs—JC 18, V 11. Rushing—JC 256, V 410. Yards passing—JC 80, V 99. Passes—JC 3-15-1, V 5-9-0. Fumbles—JC 1-0, V 0-0. Penalties—JC 5-50, V 5-45.