Craig football team finishes with a victory
But it did end on a high note.
After failing to qualify for the WIAA playoffs with last week’s loss at undefeated Verona, the Cougars responded Friday night with a convincing 26-14 victory over Madison East at Lussier Stadium. The win improved the Craig record to 4-5.
“It wasn’t pretty, but we got it done,” Craig coach Ben McCormick said. “But I was proud of my guys to finish with a win like that.”
The Cougars posted a shutout until the final four minutes, when East rallied with two late touchdowns.
After Austin Schleisner’s
2-yard touchdown run for Craig with 4:02 remaining, Tyrone Galvin took a pitch from Austin Knorr and ran back the ensuing kick-off 98 yards for the Purgolders first touchdown.
David Lafayette recovered the onside kick for East to set up a nine-play, 51-yard scoring drive, capped by Kyle Sands five-yard run with 1:03 left.
But the rally ended there as the Cougars ran out the final minute.
“As soon as that Verona game ended, “ McCormick said, “we talked about, ‘What does Cougar Pride really mean?’ We wanted to finish and have pride and to finish the season the way we would expect. I think our seniors really helped lead that charge this week.”
A pair of seniors connected to lead the way Friday night, as quarterback Cameron Wright lofted a 37-yard, fourth-down pass to Brandon Luebke, who outfought Jon Graham in the end zone for the Cougars’ first score.
After forcing a three-and out, Craig marched 60 yards in 10 plays, capped by a 5-yard Michael Whitaker run for 13-0 lead. Whittaker led the Cougars with 79 yards on seven carries.
Galvin led East with 97 yards on 20 carries, but Craig held the Purgolders to 170 yards of offense.
The Cougars scored again on their next drive to put them comfortably ahead at 19-0 by halftime after Wright scored on a 9-yard keeper around left end with 3:16 left in the first half.
“We talked about our tradition in the past three years of going from one win, to three wins and now four wins, and our seniors are part of that,” McCormick said. “I think everybody really contributed.
“We spread the ball around quite a bit tonight. We got ourselves out of rhythm at times, but we did enough to win and I’m proud of our guys.”
CRAIG 26, EAST 14
Janesville Craig 7 12 0 7—26
Madison East 0 0 0 14—14
Scoring summary: JC—Brandon Luebke, 37 pass from Cameron Wright (Monica Speth kick). JC—Michael Whitaker, 5 run (kick failed). JC—Wright, 9 run (pass failed). JC—Austin Schliesner, 2 run (Speth kick). ME—Tyrone Galvin, 98 kickoff return (Tony Ciufo kick). ME— Kyle Sands, 5 run (run failed).
Statistics: First downs— JC 19, ME 12. Rushing—JC - 248, ME - 159. Yards passing—JC 58, ME – 11. Passes—JC 3-12-0, ME – 3-11-1. Fumbles—JC 4-0, ME 4-1. Penalties—JC 3-25, ME 5-55.