Craig High earns Monterey Rock
JANESVILLE Tom Gabower had recurring nightmares about last year’s game against Janesville Parker.
The Janesville Craig quarterback threw five interceptions in a lopsided loss.
Fortunately for Gabower, the next year should be nothing but sweet dreams.
Gabower rushed for three touchdowns and threw for another as the Cougars claimed the coveted Monterey Rock trophy with a 27-13 Big Eight Conference win over their crosstown rival.
Craig (3-5, 3-5) won its second straight and sent Parker
(2-6, 2-6) to its fourth straight loss.
The game started eerily similar to a year ago for Gabower. Parker’s Tyler Brooks intercepted Gabower on the second play from scrimmage, and the Vikings capitalized. Dai Von Vance-Jenkins raced untouched from 21 yards out to give Parker an early 7-0 lead.
Gabower, however, took over from there. His 47-yard touchdown pass to Darian Sharifi tied the game with 6:21 left in the first, and he gave Craig the lead for good with a 47-yard TD run with 4:10 left in the opening quarter.
“I really had a bad game last
year, so I wanted to come out and prove myself tonight,” Gabower said. “We knew that if we were just patient on offense, we could move the ball. year, so I wanted to come out and prove myself tonight,” Gabower said. “We knew that if we were just patient on offense, we could move the ball.
“That first touchdown was big for us. I made a poor throw on my first one, so it was important to come back right away and score.”
Parker had a chance to go into the locker room either tied or down one score at half, but a costly turnover at midfield set up Gabower’s second touchdown. The Cougars marched down the field the last minute of the half, and thanks to a roughing the passer call on third down, had a first-and-goal at the 7-yard line with 18 seconds left. Gabower scampered in on the next play, and Monica Speth’s extra-point kick made it 20-7 at the half.
“We definitely had opportunities tonight,” Parker coach Eric Skrzypchak said. “We took advantage of some, but unfortunately, not on some other ones.
“We had guys step up and compete because of some injuries, which we have battled through all year, but we just didn’t get it done.”
Parker, which lost its top two running backs to injuries during the game, turned to Brooks late in the third quarter and the senior responded. Brooks picked up 34 yards late in the third to move the ball to the Craig 3-yard line and scored on the second play of the fourth quarter to cut the lead to seven.
The Viking defense forced a punt on the ensuing possession and took over at its own 3-yard line with 9:11 left to play. Parker got the ball out to its own 43 before the drive stalled on fourth down. Craig’s Evan Shortreed made the play of the game on a fourth-and-1 for Parker as he stuffed Brooks in the backfield for a 3-yard loss with 4:38 left. Gabower capped the scoring three minutes later with a 7-yard run.
Craig coach Ben McCormick said how his team played the last three weeks of the season would go a long way toward helping the program turn the corner. So far, so good as the Cougars have won two straight heading into Friday’s season finale at Monterey against Kenosha Tremper.
“It’s special to hold that Rock for the first time since I’ve been here, and for our seniors, they’ve definitely left a legacy on this program,” said McCormick, now in his fourth year. “That’s what I am so proud of.”
Craig hosts Tremper in the second game next Friday at Monterey. Parker and Milton play the opener at
CRAIG 27, PARKER 13
Janesville Parker 7 0 0 6—13
Janesville Craig 13 7 0 7—27
Scoring summary: P—Dai Von Vance-Jenkins, 21 run (Billy Phalin kick). C—Darian Sharifi, 47 pass from Tom Gabower (Monica Speth kick). C—Gabower, 47 run (kick failed). C—Gabower, 7 run (Speth kick). P—Tyler Brooks, 3 run (kick failed). C—Gabower, 7 run (Speth kick).
Statistics: First downs—P 13, C 16. Rushes—P 35-168, C 46-262. Yards passing—P 98, C 61. Passes—P 18-8-0, C 9-3-1. Fumbles—P 5-2, C 1-0. Penalties—P 7-39, C 7-65.