Verona senior quarterback Adam Bekx tossed four touchdown passes to lead the Wildcats to a 41-7 season-opening win over Janesville Parker on Friday night at Curtis Jones Field.
“Ever since last season ended, we had the mentality that we had to go one game at a time,” said Bekx, who completed 8 of 9 passes for 146 yards. “We can’t focus on Friday until we take care of Monday through Thursday.”
The Wildcats were dominant early on, scoring on all four of their drives in the first half. They cashed in on senior defensive back Michael Guy’s interception early in the first quarter with a four-play, 17-yard drive, culminating in Bekx’s 10-yard touchdown pass to junior tight end James Rae.
“We have to do a good job with our play-action pass because we are going to run first,” Verona coach Dave Richardson said. “I thought we executed that well.”
On the Wildcats’ next possession, senior Haakon Anderson’s 37-yard run was wiped out because of a holding penalty. Verona soon overcame the error, as Bekx hooked up with senior Aubrey Dawkins on a 27-yard touchdown pass, as caught the ball and dragged his feet in the back of the end zone before landing in the sand in the long jump pit. He had three receptions for 73 yards.
After the Wildcats’ defense forced a turnover on downs, the offense again took advantage of a short field. Bekx connected with Anderson on a 45-yard touchdown pass to give the Wildcats a 21-0 lead early in the second quarter, then with less than two minutes left in the half, he hit Dawkins for a 37-yard pass that set up the Wildcats’ final scoring drive of the first half. Facing third-and-3, Bekx zipped a 9-yard touchdown pass to Anderson to give the Wildcats a 28-0 lead at the break.
Junior running back Jackson Acker rushed for 71 yards on 11 carries. Bekx said Acker did a great job of pounding up front with the offensive line moving defenders.
“Just having the threat of Jackson Acker in the backfield opens up the passing game a ton,” Bekx said. “He could probably go for 18 carries and 12 yards, but he’s still a threat. He can break one anytime.”
Verona started out the second half with a bang, as Acker bolted for a 89-yard kickoff return touchdown. He later scored on a 10-yard run in the third quarter.
“We didn’t run the sweep very well and stop the trap very well,” Richardson said. “Middleton is looking at that and thinking they can do that.”
The Verona defense had three sacks, forced one turnover and two turnovers on downs against Parker. Junior defensive end Tyler Laham had two sacks as the Wildcats limited the Vikings to 176 total yards.
“Everyone is shooting the right gaps, playing physical football and smashmouth,” Laham said. The defense as a whole played amazing. The positivity and everyone together is a fantastic culture.”
Senior defensive lineman Henry Tang also had a sack for the Wildcats.
“The D-line pass rushed well,” Richardson said. “We got off blocks well. I liked our rotation. We are playing fast and fresh.”
Verona travels to Middleton on Friday.
Senior offensive tackle Adam Vandervest is expected back to play against the Cardinals after missing Week 1 with a neck injury. The 6-foot-6, 280-pound Wetsern Michigan commit sustained the injury in a scrimmage at Waunakee on Aug. 16.
Middleton is coming off a 35-15 win over Madison East in the opener last week. Senior running back Kallion Buckner racked up 138 yards and five touchdowns in the victory over the Purgolders.