Football Cards go back-to-back

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MTT News's picture
Rob Reischel
Cam Maly and Middleton's football team won their second straight outright Big Eight Conference title last Friday./File photo

They gathered in early August and quickly outlined a handful of goals.

This is commonplace inside high school football programs throughout the state. In most places, though, those objectives are never realized.

Middleton’s program isn’t like most places, though. And when the Cardinals’ draw up a list of goals, most of them typically come to fruition.

Middleton checked off its first goal last Friday by routing Janesville Craig, 52-6, and winning the outright Big Eight Conference championship. The Cardinals finished 8-1 in the league, one game better than Madison La Follette and Madison Memorial.

“It was a really special feeling for everyone getting the win to seal the conference,” Cardinals junior defensive back C.J. Fermanich said. “All the hard work that we put in every day in the summer and during the season paid off a little bit.

“Our offense was so fluid and could get anything they wanted. Defensively we were making stops and getting off the field.”

Middleton clinched sole possession of the Big Eight championship for a second straight year. Since joining the Big Eight in 1994, the Cardinals had never won outright back-to-back titles until Friday night.

“Winning the conference outright was an awesome feeling,” junior safety Joe Ludwig said. “Especially to do it back-to-back years, which is tough to do. I'm glad I got to do it with this great group of guys.

“We are playing well right now. We have come a long ways as a team to get to where we are at. There's a lot we need to improve on, but we have improved every week and we will continue to do so.”

Middleton senior wideout Mitch Bacon agreed.

“Beating Craig and winning the Big Eight outright was huge,” Bacon said. “It's something that we haven't done in a long, long time and it was one of our main team goals at the beginning of the season. It gives us a huge confidence boost and momentum going into the playoffs.”

Middleton dominated the Cougars from start to finish.

Cardinals senior running back Cam Maly — who sat out Week 8 with a minor injury — ran wild over the Cougars. Maly had four touchdowns and ran for 132 yards on just 14 carries (9.4 yards per carry).

Senior quarterback Brennan Schmitt threw for 149 yards, two touchdowns and completed 10-of-11 passes.

Middleton scored on all six of its first half possessions and took a 38-6 lead at the break. The Cardinals then scored on their first possession of the third quarter to start a running clock.

Craig’s playoff hopes were still alive when the game began. But Middleton quickly extinguished any such dreams.

“I’m really happy with the way we played,” Middleton coach Tim Simon said. “We knew Craig could get into playoffs with a win and I was still nervous like always. But we played really well.”

Middleton seems to be peaking down the stretch. Over the last three games, the Cardinals outscored their foes, 117-26.

“I'd say collectively we are playing the best of the season, so far,” Bacon said. “And there is still a large amount of room for improvement.

“We definitely hope that we haven’t peaked yet, and we intend on getting better every week. We’re happy with how we’re performing right now.”

And even happier to be outright conference champions again.

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