Parker falls to Verona in Big Eight football showdown
VERONA Jake Hauser had plenty of reasons to smile Friday night.
The Verona High School quarterback was beaming after engineering an impressive night for the Wildcats. Verona scored on its first eight possessions, with touchdowns on seven of them, to overwhelm previously undefeated Janesville Parker, 52-28, and claim sole possession of first place in Big Eight football.
“It was impressive,” said Hauser, who threw for two touchdowns and ran for another. “We just have faith in all our guys, and they just really performed. We respect Parker so much, and to come out here and show what we are made of is so awesome. It was definitely our best game.”
Parker coach Joe Dye was certainly impressed.
“They were as good offensively as we’d thought they might be,” said Dye, whose team fell to 5-1. “When you get upfield and you’re not disciplined against a scheme like theirs, it comes back and bites you in the tail.”
Senior Adam Vesterfelt led Parker with 113 yards on 28 carries, with four touchdowns, but it wasn’t enough to keep up with the Wildcats.
The only possession Verona (6-0) failed to score came on its last when it ran out the final 88 seconds.
Parker matched Verona score for score in the first quarter, until Verona broke away with 21 unanswered points in the second quarter.
Hauser broke the tie with a 24-yard pass to Dom Wise over the Parker defense. After a Parker three-and-out, Hauser lofted another touchdown pass that Alex Watzke jumped to snare in the back of the end zone for a 28-yard score.
The final strike came after the Vikings drove to the Verona 20 on a nifty hook-and-ladder that receiver Erik Albeck delivered to Vesterfelt in midair. Three plays later, Patrick Smith intercepted Decker Thompson’s pass at the Verona 5.
After returning the ball to the 19, Wise took off on the next play up the middle and raced 81 yards for the final touchdown of the half with 18 seconds remaining for a 35-14 lead.
“We were trying to get as many as we can,” said Hauser after completing four of his five passes for 76 yards. “We worked for it hard all week, and we were just trying to show what we could really do.”
The third-ranked Wildcats had 350 yards of offense by halftime, with 275 on the ground. Wise finished with 182 yards on 10 carries with three touchdowns, while tailback Tyler Parker had 120 yards on 13 carries.
“We tried to do a couple things different, but it didn’t look like we slowed them down too much,” said Dye. “It’s kind of like when you are defending triple-option football, because you’ve got a slot over here that can hurt you, you’ve got a slot over that can hurt you, and they have Parker, who is pretty doggone good when they hand the ball back to him on trap.
“I think their quarterback is very, very athletic. He manages their offense. Tonight, they were definitely the better football team.”
VERONA 52, PARKER 28
Janesville Parker 14 0 7 7—28
Verona 14 21 7 10—52
Scoring summary: V—Tyler Parker, 7 run (Derek Witte kick). JP—Adam Vesterfelt, 3 run (kick failed). V—Dom Wise, 8 run (Witte kick). JP—Vesterfelt 3 run (Vesterfelt run). V—Wise 24 pass from Jake Hauser (Witte kick). V—Alex Watzke 28 pass from Hauser (Witte kick). V—Wise 81 run (Witte kick). JP—Vesterfelt 4 run (Cullin Simonson kick). V—Wise 43 run (Witte kick). V—Hauser 25 run (Witte kick). V—Witte 24 yd field goal. JP—Vesterfelt 4 run (Simonson kick).
Statistics: First downs—JP 13, V18.. Rushing—JP 44-144, V 37-398. Yards passing—JP 104, V 76. Passes—JP 11-15-1, V 4-5-0. Fumbles—JP 1-0, V 1-0. Penalties—JP 4-40, V 3-20.