Sun Prairie qualifies for WIAA playoffs

Sun Prairie qualifies for WIAA playoffs

While both teams came into the game with a chance to make the WIAA playoffs, by halftime it was clear Sun Prairie was going to qualify and Madison East would fall short of contention. The Cardinals took a 48-6 lead into the locker room at halftime during the homecoming game at Ashley Field on Friday night.

“We came out and dominated that football game,” Sun Prairie head coach Brian Kaminski said. “We had two teams trying to battle to make their way into the playoffs and we were able to put our foot to the pedal.”

The Purgolders (4-5 overall, 4-5 Big Eight Conference) scored in bunches against the second-team defense of Sun Prairie (5-4 overall, 5-4 Big Eight Conference), putting up 30 points in the second half to close the final margin to 55-36.

The Sun Prairie offense would strike quickly with a 6-yard touchdown run by Faizon Thomas on the opening drive to put the Cardinals up 7-0. The Cardinals second drive would be capped off by a JP Curran 15-yard fade pass to wide receiver Marquis Reuter, giving Sun Prairie a 13-0 lead early in the first quarter.

Shortly after, Madison East responded with its only touchdown of the half as Dale Tygum took a swing pass 65 yards down the Purgolder sideline and scored to make it 13-6.

It was all Cardinals for the rest of the half as Thomas ran 82 yards for a touchdown on the first play from scrimmage after the Purgolders score to give Sun Prairie a 20-6 lead.

Then a Marty Strey interception gave the Cardinals the ball at Madison East’s 4-yard-line and Sun Prairie would capitalize. Curran connected with Nate Verstegen on a quick 4-yard slant for a touchdown to give the Cardinals a 27-6 lead at the end of the first quarter. Even though he did not have to do much, Curran had a solid game, completing 4 of his 6 throws for 91 yards and two touchdowns.

Thomas capped off the next two drives with touchdowns from the 1 and 2 to put Sun Prairie up 41-6 in the second quarter.

Sun Prairie was not done, as corner back Nathan Coy undercut an out route intended for Tygum for an interception that he would take all the way back for a 47-yard touchdown. With the extra point, Sun Prairie went into the half up 48-6. The Cardinals pulled their starters at the end of the second quarter.

“I thought Nathan Coy did a great job against (Tygum),” said Kaminski. “He’s a great talent, we know that. We put our best kid on their best kid and they ran a little bubble screen and got us once. Then, Nathan was able to come back with the pick 6 later.”

Thompson and Madison East would turn up the heat in the 2nd half as he connected with Tygum for a 68-yard touchdown, Kenny Jones for a 57-yard touchdown and Tygum one more time for a 40-yard touchdown pass to bring the Purgolders within 20, 48-28.

That is when the starters for Sun Prairie came back on the field to finish off the game. However, it took them a while to get warmed up and the Cardinals were forced to punt. Tygum fumbled the return and Sun Prairie recovered the ball at the 16-yard line. Fullback Andray Clay would close out the scoring for Sun Prairie taking the sweep for a 7-yard touchdown run.

Thompson and Tygum would score one more garbage time touchdown on a 40-yard pass to end the game at 55-36.

Sun Prairie will find out who it faces in the WIAA playoffs Saturday morning.

“Why not us?” asked Kaminski as his team looks forward to the playoffs.

Editor’s note: WIAA announced the official playoff teams after this article was written and both Madison East and Sun Prairie made the playoffs.