Parker's Vesterfelt breaks city rushing record
Your reign as Janesville’s all-time high school rushing leader has come to an end.
Adam Vesterfelt rushed for 217 yards Friday night to surpass Prime’s once seemingly untouchable record of 5,209 career yards in leading Janesville Parker to a 42-14 homecoming win over Madison La Follette in a Big Eight Conference and regular-season finale at Monterey Stadium.
Parker, which snapped a rare three-game losing streak, finished 6-3 and awaits its opening-round Division 1 WIAA playoff opponent, which will be announced Monday.
Vesterfelt needed 178 yards to surpass Prime and eclipsed the mark on a 34-yard touchdown run with 3:15 left in the game. His three-year total now sits at 5,248 yards.
“I didn’t even think about the record,” Vesterfelt said. “I just knew that after three straight losses, we had to get back to playing Parker football.
“I’m glad I got it, but getting the win was the most important thing.”
The Vikings, although sluggish at times, were in control for most of the game. Brad Money got Parker on the board on the second play from scrimmage when he scooped up Nic Ramos' fumble and ran eight yards for a touchdown.
Vesterfelt made it 14-0 with 10:27 left in the half on a 10-yard run, the first of four touchdowns for the senior.
La Follette (3-6) got within eight points by halftime, but Parker pulled away behind a 28-point fourth quarter. Vesterfelt had touchdown runs of 5, 58 and 34 yards in the fourth as he won the conference scoring title with 152 points.
Parker coach Joe Dye was glad to see his team get back on the winning track, but knows the Vikings have to turn it up a notch if they are going to make their 15th playoff appearance in the last 16 years a productive one.
“The finish was good tonight, but the middle wasn’t so good,” Dye said. “We knew coming in that they (the Lancers) were going to come at us downhill with the way we like to do things offensively, and that disrupted us at times. But we stayed on it, and that allowed us to finish strong.”
Although Dye’s program has produced numerous talented runners, including Prime, the coach knows what a special back Vesterfelt has been for the Vikings.
“I’m awfully proud of Adam,” Dye said. “We have had a long history of good tailbacks, and for what he has done for our program, he deserved to be in the game late. This might’ve been our last home game, and I think it’s a disservice if we would’ve taken him out.”
Parker's defense played well against a La Follette team that had been scoring in bunches lately. Money and Matt Pakes were all over the field for Parker, while Erik Albeck and Tyler Brooks played well in the secondary.
With the regular season tucked away, the Vikings now hope to regroup and make a statement in the postseason. Dye thinks his team is more than capable of doing that.
“Sometimes people lose track of it, but I’m not confused by the fact that, in this sport, you have to qualify your way into the playoffs,” Dye said.
“We've done that each year and have never qualified without having a winning record.
“I truly don’t believe we have played our best football yet. Hopefully, it’s ahead of us.”
PARKER 42, LA FOLLETTE 14
Madison La Follette 0 6 0 8—14
Janesville Parker 7 7 0 28—42
Scoring summary: JP—Brad Money, 8 fumble return (Cullin Simonson kick). JP—Adam Vesterfelt, 10 run (Simonson kick). ML—Casey Lamb, 11 pass from Jerrod Matthews (run failed). JP—Vesterfelt, 5 run (Simonson kick). JP—Vesterfelt, 58 run (Simonson kick). ML—Anthony Briggs, 9 run (Marty Collard pass from Matthews). JP—Vesterfelt, 34 run (Simonson kick). JP—Decker Thompson, 12 run (Simonson kick).
Statistics: First downs—ML 13, JP 13. Rushing—ML 41-60, JP 37-262. Yards passing—ML 94, JP 41. Passes—ML 16-7-2, JP 7-4-0. Fumbles—ML 4-4, JP 2-2. Penalties—ML 6-53, JP 6-47.