Verona controlled the third and early fourth quarter Friday, Sept. 20, against Sun Prairie, but the host Cardinals flipped the script late. Sun Prairie’s Brady Stevens scored on a quarterback sneak with 15 seconds left, giving the Cardinals a 27-21 Big Eight Conference victory at Ashley Field. Sun Prairie (4-1, 4-1 Big Eight) did not record a first down in the third quarter, but had nine in the final 12 minutes of play. The Cardinals ran 14 plays for 128 yards in the fourth quarter. Stevens found Dominick Landphier for a 19-yard pickup and Colin Schaefer for 21 yards to start the game-winning drive with less than three minutes left. Jamel Stone ripped off runs of 10 and 9, and Nathan Schauer picked up 20 yards on three carries before Stevens’ game-winning score. “(Sun Prairie) did all the right things on that final drive,” Verona coach Dave Richardson said. “They looked how we looked in the third and beginning of the fourth quarter. They played with urgency and overcame our defense. I give more credit to them than I take away from us.” Verona (4-1, 4-1) trailed 14-7 at halftime, but opened the second half with a touchdown to tie the game. The Wildcats converted three third downs on the drive, the last a 24-yard touchdown run by Haakon Anderson on third-and-5. “My play-calling was a little too cute in the first half,” Richardson said. “In the second half, we ran our wing formation until they could stop it. That set up the short passes and counters on the weak side.” Sun Prairie’s Isaic Hamm intercepted Adam Bekx on the Wildcats’ next drive and ran to the Verona 29 yard-line, but the Verona defense held firm for the time being. Anderson scored a 30-yard touchdown on a counter play to give Verona a 21-14 lead with 8:49 remaining. “We kept running Jackson (Acker), and the counters worked because the linebackers were flowing to stop him,” Anderson said. “Jackson’s success and the offensive line opened the opportunities for me, and I took them.” Schafer responded with a 39-yard kickoff return to the Verona 46, and hauled in catches of 13 and 20 yards for first downs on the Cardinals’ next drive. Schauer capped the drive with a 4-yard touchdown run to tie the game at 21 with 5:57 left. Bekx completed an 11-yard pass to Aubrey Dawkins on third-and-6 to the Sun Prairie 38 with less than three minutes left, but the Wildcats’ final drive went backwards from there and ended in a punt. Verona came into the game ranked No. 5 in Division 1 in the latest coaches poll, while Sun Prairie came in ranked No. 9 in Division 1. The Cardinals scored on the game’s first drive, as the left-handed Stevens scrambled right and found Schaefer wide open in the end zone for a 30-yard touchdown just 2:04 into the contest. Verona’s James Rae blocked the first punt of the game, and Tyler Laham scooped up the bouncing ball and ran to the Sun Prairie 2. Acker ran in for a score on the next play to tie the game at 7 with 6:23 left in the first quarter. Both defenses settled in, but Schaefer got loose for a 40-yard catch to the Verona 7 with 2:40 left in the second quarter. On second-and-goal, Stevens hit Schaefer on a slant route for an 11-yard touchdown to give Sun Prairie the lead heading into intermission. Stevens finished 13-for-21 for 231 yards, while Schaefer caught seven passes for 149 yards. Schauer ran for 74 yards on 16 carries. Stone added four carries for 36 yards and two catches for 42 yards for the Cardinals. Bekx was 13-for-24 for 109 yards, while Dawkins caught four passes for 43 yards. Anderson racked up 90 yards on eight carries and 30 more yards on three catches. Acker ran for 116 yards on 23 carries. Graham Stier added five carries for 36 yards and three catches for 25 yards. Laham and Keegan Lindell recorded a sack and a half each for the Verona defense. Mason Armstrong made all three PATs. Verona offensive tackle and defensive lineman Adam Vandervest left the game late in the first quarter with muscle spasms in his back. Vandervest played three defensive snaps in the second quarter, but did not play in the second half. Verona will play at Madison Memorial on Friday. The Spartans remained undefeated after a 28-6 win over Madison West last week. “Our kids know this is the conference championship game,” Richardson said. “La Follette (the following week) won’t be an easy game, either. We knew this three-game stretch in the middle of the season was going to be tough, but if we can go 2-1 in that stretch, we can be conference champions.”

Verona controlled the third and early fourth quarter Friday, Sept. 20, against Sun Prairie, but the host Cardinals flipped the script late.

Sun Prairie’s Brady Stevens scored on a quarterback sneak with 15 seconds left, giving the Cardinals a 27-21 Big Eight Conference victory at Ashley Field.

Sun Prairie (4-1, 4-1 Big Eight) did not record a first down in the third quarter, but had nine in the final 12 minutes of play. The Cardinals ran 14 plays for 128 yards in the fourth quarter.

Stevens found Dominick Landphier for a 19-yard pickup and Colin Schaefer for 21 yards to start the game-winning drive with less than three minutes left. Jamel Stone ripped off runs of 10 and 9, and Nathan Schauer picked up 20 yards on three carries before Stevens’ game-winning score.

“(Sun Prairie) did all the right things on that final drive,” Verona coach Dave Richardson said. “They looked how we looked in the third and beginning of the fourth quarter. They played with urgency and overcame our defense. I give more credit to them than I take away from us.”

Verona (4-1, 4-1) trailed 14-7 at halftime, but opened the second half with a touchdown to tie the game. The Wildcats converted three third downs on the drive, the last a 24-yard touchdown run by Haakon Anderson on third-and-5.

“My play-calling was a little too cute in the first half,” Richardson said. “In the second half, we ran our wing formation until they could stop it. That set up the short passes and counters on the weak side.”

Sun Prairie’s Isaic Hamm intercepted Adam Bekx on the Wildcats’ next drive and ran to the Verona 29 yard-line, but the Verona defense held firm for the time being.

Anderson scored a 30-yard touchdown on a counter play to give Verona a 21-14 lead with 8:49 remaining.

“We kept running Jackson (Acker), and the counters worked because the linebackers were flowing to stop him,” Anderson said. “Jackson’s success and the offensive line opened the opportunities for me, and I took them.”

Schafer responded with a 39-yard kickoff return to the Verona 46, and hauled in catches of 13 and 20 yards for first downs on the Cardinals’ next drive. Schauer capped the drive with a 4-yard touchdown run to tie the game at 21 with 5:57 left.

Bekx completed an 11-yard pass to Aubrey Dawkins on third-and-6 to the Sun Prairie 38 with less than three minutes left, but the Wildcats’ final drive went backwards from there and ended in a punt.

Verona came into the game ranked No. 5 in Division 1 in the latest coaches poll, while Sun Prairie came in ranked No. 9 in Division 1.

The Cardinals scored on the game’s first drive, as the left-handed Stevens scrambled right and found Schaefer wide open in the end zone for a 30-yard touchdown just 2:04 into the contest.

Verona’s James Rae blocked the first punt of the game, and fellow defensive lineman Tyler Laham scooped up the bouncing ball and ran to the Sun Prairie 2.

Acker ran in for a score on the next play to tie the game at 7 with 6:23 left in the first quarter.

Both defenses settled in, but Schaefer got loose for a 40-yard catch to the Verona 7 with 2:40 left in the second quarter. On second-and-goal, Stevens hit Schaefer on a slant route for an 11-yard touchdown to give Sun Prairie the lead heading into intermission.

Stevens finished 13-for-21 for 231 yards, while Schaefer caught seven passes for 149 yards. Schauer ran for 74 yards on 16 carries. Stone added four carries for 36 yards and two catches for 42 yards for the Cardinals.

Bekx was 13-for-24 for 109 yards, while Dawkins caught four passes for 43 yards. Anderson racked up 90 yards on eight carries and 30 more yards on three catches.

Acker ran for 116 yards on 23 carries. Graham Stier added five carries for 36 yards and three catches for 25 yards.

Laham and Keegan Lindell recorded a sack and a half each for the Verona defense.

Mason Armstrong made all three PATs.

Verona offensive tackle and defensive lineman Adam Vandervest left the game late in the first quarter with muscle spasms in his back.

Vandervest played three defensive snaps in the second quarter, but did not play in the second half.

Verona will play at Madison Memorial on Friday. The Spartans remained undefeated after a 28-6 win over Madison West last week.

“Our kids know this is the conference championship game,” Richardson said. “La Follette (the following week) won’t be an easy game, either. We knew this three-game stretch in the middle of the season was going to be tough, but if we can go 2-1 in that stretch, we can be conference champions.”

Sports editor Adam Feiner can be contacted at ungsportseditor@wcinet.com.

Big Eight

Team W L
Madison Memorial 5 0
Sun Prairie 4 1
Verona 4 1
La Follette 4 1
Middleton 3 2
Madison East 2 3
Beloit 1 4
Madison West 1 4
Janesville Craig 1 4
Janesville Parker 0 5