As a heavy underdog, Janesville Craig did all it could to keep Verona’s high-octane offense off the field.
The Cougars moved the ball on a consistent basis in the first half and even led midway through the first quarter.
In the end, however, the Wildcats simply had too much firepower.
Senior quarterback Adam Bekx threw four touchdown passes to lead Verona to a 49-8 Big Eight Conference win Friday night.
Fifth-ranked Verona improved to 3-0 overall and remained tied atop the conference standings with sixth-ranked Madison Memorial.
Craig fell to 1-2 but not without a valiant effort, especially on offense.
The Cougars had 16 first downs racked up 177 yards of total offense over the first two quarters.
“Verona has the most talent in the conference,” Craig coach Adam Bunderson said. “And they’ve got guys that can turn a game into a track meet, and that’s what they did tonight.
“I know 49-8 looks bad, but I told our guys afterward that we did a lot of good things. We just got beat by a very good football team.”
University of Wisconsin recruit Jackson Acker returned the opening kickoff 80 yards for a touchdown, but Craig responded with a 75-yard drive—capped by Parker Glissendorf’s 3-yard touchdown run. Eric Hughes two-point conversion run gave the Cougars a short-lived 8-7 lead midway through the first quarter.
Verona answered in just three plays to take the lead for good, as Bekx hit Haakon Anderson on a perfectly-executed 31-yard slant pass.
Graham Stier’s 60-yard touchdown off a screen pass from Bekx pushed the lead to 21-8 at half.
Craig got the ball to start the second half, but a fumble gave the Wildcats great field position at the Cougars 16-yard line. Bekx didn’t waste any time capitalizing, hitting Aubrey Dawkins in stride at the 10-yard line, and the son of former Wisconsin standout J.C. Dawkins went in untouched for a 16-yard touchdown.
Graham Stier’s 60-yard touchdown on a screen pass from Bekx on the Wildcats’ next possession made it 35-8.
“Things kind of snowballed for us a little bit the second half,” Bunderson said. “Our defense gave up a couple of big plays, but Verona is going to do that to a lot of teams.
“We talked all week about consistency on offense, and I thought tonight, especially the first half, we showed that.”
Craig plays at Sun Prairie (2-1) next Friday.
VERONA 49, CRAIG 8
Janesville Craig 8 0 0 0—8
Verona:14 7 21 7—49
Scoring summary: V—Jackson Acker 80 kickoff return (Mason Armstrong kick). C—Parker Glissendorf 3 run (Eric Hughes run). V—Haakon Anderson 31 pass from Adam Bekx (Armstrong kick). V—Graham Stier 60 pass from Bekx (Armstrong kick). V—Aubrey Dawkins 16 pass from Bekx (Armstrong kick). V—Stier 5 run (Armstrong kick). V—Dawkins 12 pass from Bekx (Armstrong kick). V—Acker 10 run (Armstrong kick).
Statistics: First downs— C 22, V 11. Rushes—C 61-232, V 13-153. Yards passing—C 26, V 151. Passes—C 8-3-2, V 11-7-0. Fumbles—C 4-2, V 1-0. Penalties—C 3-26, V 2-15