Second half adjustments lead to Verona win
Verona head coach Dave Richardson calls him “stone hands,” but Friday night linebacker Sam Favour made a leaping interception in the fourth quarter that led to a Wildcats touchdown and a 21-13 victory over Madison La Follette.
“I saw the quarterback pointing like he was going to throw it downfield, but he is known to run it a little bit,” said Favour. “So I wasn’t sure if he was pointing to fake us out, but I thought he was going to throw it. So I back-peddled a little bit and he just didn’t see me and he threw it up.”
The victory put Verona (5-2 overall, 5-2 Big Eight) in the playoffs tied for second place in the conference and dropped La Follette (5-2 overall, 5-2 Big Eight) also into a tie for second in the conference. Middleton (6-1 overall, 6-1 Big Eight) now sits alone at the top of the Big Eight Conference.
The game did not start out well for Verona, as La Follette return man Elias Sobah picked up the opening kickoff at the 6-yard-line and stretched the field to the sideline before turning the ball up the Lancers’ sideline for the 94-yard touchdown.
Verona would respond quickly on its first drive of the game. Although, it looked like La Follette was about to cause a three-and-out, Verona was able to keep the drive alive with a completion on a fake punt. On the next play, Drew King took the handoff on a sweep play and outran Lancers defensive back Anthony West to the end zone for a 55-yard touchdown.
Quarterback Julian Patton capped a 73-yard series with a 26-yard touchdown pass to senior receiver Braden Jorenby. The kick was blocked by Verona, giving La Follette a 13-7 lead with 6:11 left in the first quarter.
The Lancers continued to move the ball well behind running back Sobah and some key receptions by Jorenby, but were unable to add to their lead before halftime.
“We had to make some adjustments at halftime,” said Richardson. “I think on both sides of the ball our coaches did a good job adjusting things … . I told them at halftime that we didn’t play very good in the first half and we’re a touchdown away from taking the lead.”
The Wildcats had extra time in the half to make adjustments as the crowd at Lussier Stadium enjoyed the homecoming halftime entertainment. The La Follette band played a tribute to the James Bond movies. Those adjustments worked for Verona.
Verona was able to control the ball in the second half. Verona took the lead 14-13 when Carson Parks scored on a 3-yard run up the middle. The score finished off a 49-yard scoring drive.
The Wildcats took the 21-13 lead with a 4-yard run up the middle by Parks. The touchdown was set up by Favour’s interception and a third-down throw from quarterback Max Fink to Jack Herkert for a first down at the La Follette 18.
Sobah was treated for a slight injury during some crucial series in the second half before being cleared to return to the game.
“We would like to give him the ball a bunch,” La Follette head coach Scott Swanson said. “He plays a ton of defense as well, so it was just one of those nights where we needed everybody. I thought everybody played hard. We just didn’t execute all that well at times.”