Buckner, Cardinals rout Parker

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By: 
Gregg Hammill/For the Times-Tribune
Kallion Buckner had two touchdowns in Middleton's win over Janesville Parker on Sept. 27./Times-Tribune photo by Mary Langenfeld

Middleton football coach Jason Pertzborn has seen Kallion Buckner do just about everything on a football field.

But even Pertzborn was left amazed at the standout running back’s latest “Did he just do that?” moment.

As Buckner gathered in a punt at his own 34-yard-line last Friday, he stopped in his tracks for several moments as nearly the entire Janesville Parker team converged on him. He looked right, took a few steps to his left and suddenly was racing down the sideline leaving a host of defenders in his wake. Buckner even lost a shoe in the process.

“It was unbelievable. I don’t think I’ve seen anything like that,” Pertzborn said. “I was just sitting there beside myself going that’s something special, that’s another level.

“He stopped, stood there for a second, walked a little bit and then took off and the shoe came off.  He ran that whole thing without a shoe … that was unbelievable. The kid just amazes me every day. He’s catching balls, he’s running the ball, punt returns, kick returns, the guy can do it all. He’s dangerous whenever his hands are on the ball.”

Buckner’s sensational 66-yard touchdown return provided just the spark Middleton needed as it rolled past Janesville Parker, 54-16, in its homecoming game at Breitenbach Stadium.

The Cardinals improved to 4-2 in both the Big Eight Conference and overall, while the Vikings dropped to 1-5, 1-5.

Buckner, who said he lost his shoe when the first defender tried to tackle him, humbly gave his blockers credit for the play.

“I’m going to leave that up to my blockers,” Buckner said. “Without them it wouldn’t be that. I mean I gave them a right look, went left, all my blockers came so thanks to them. I saw the sideline plus I lost my shoe.”

As he did in the first game of the season, Pertzborn rotated quarterbacks Drew Teff and TJ Bauer and both players had success. Teff completed 2-of-3 pass attempts for 101 yards and a touchdown, while Bauer completed 2-of-3 passes for 19 yards and a touchdown while also running for a score.

“We got some good play out of the quarterbacks, which changed the dynamic of the game,” Pertzborn said. “That’s probably where we’ve been struggling is the pass game and it was nice to break that out tonight.

“I challenged those guys, the receivers and the quarterbacks, before the game. I just said we’ve got to start making plays, it’s there. They’re loading the box, they’re daring us to pass, we’ve got to make some pass completions and that’s going to free things up. Hopefully now they’ve got the confidence and we can get rolling.”

Middleton was clinging to a 5-0 lead when Buckner scored on his punt return with 44 seconds remaining in the first quarter.

“The score wasn’t what it should have been in the first half,” said Buckner, who also ran for 98 yards and a touchdown on nine carries.

After Buckner’s touchdown, the Vikings responded with their longest drive of the game. Taking over at its own 33, Parker used 12 plays to string together five first downs and set up a first-and-goal at the Middleton 9-yard line.

Running back Garrett Sanwick fumbled the ball away on the next play, though, and Middleton’s Jake Pavelski recovered to thwart the drive.

“That was a momentum changer,” Pertzborn said. “That was huge to keep them off the board there because we were able to take that momentum away and eventually put the game in a position where they weren’t feeling like they were going to be able to come back. If they score there, all of a sudden they’re like, ‘We can play with these guys.’ ”

The Cardinals came up empty on their ensuing drive, but got the ball back when the Vikings’ Anthony Brooks fumbled Quinn Calvin’s punt and Middleton’s Sawyer Pertzborn recovered at Parker’s 44-yard line. Buckner scampered 20 yards on the next play and the Vikings were flagged for unnecessary roughness moving the ball to the 12.

Bauer then rolled out and passed to Ben Litchfield, who dived in for the touchdown. Pertzborn’s extra-point kick made it 19-0 with 3:26 remaining in the first half.

Middleton struck again just before halftime when Teff hooked up with Henry Patterson for an 87-yard score with 59 seconds remaining. Teff tossed a perfect strike to Patterson who hauled it in at the 50 and sprinted down the sideline for the TD.

“We’ve had that pass open multiple weeks,” Pertzborn said. ‘We’ve also had some balls to Henry down the sideline at Memorial twice and we didn’t make good throws.

“Against Madison West we didn’t connect on a ball or two like that as well, so it’s been hard and we just haven’t connected on that ball. Teams are giving it to us and we’ve got to connect and we finally did. So hopefully that’s a sign that they’re practicing hard and the practice is paying off.”

Middleton converted a perfectly executed onside kick to open the second half when Josh Stormer recovered Sawyer Pertzborn’s kick at the Vikings’ 39.

“We just put that in before during halftime,” Stormer said. “I was lined up out there and he on-sided it to me and I just ran down there and got it.”

Buckner took over from there covering the 39 yards on three carries, capped by an 11-yard touchdown run.

Stormer struck again on Parker’s first offensive play of the second half when he intercepted quarterback Sam O’Leary’s pass and scored on a 20-yard return. Stormer stretched out to make a one-handed grab then nearly fell on his way to the end zone.

“I almost fell over, I was trying to keep my balance,” Stormer said. “I ended up keeping my balance and scoring.”

Leading 40-0 with a running clock, Middleton took advantage of another Parker miscue. A bad punt snap gave the Cardinals the ball at the Vikings’ 12. On the next play, Bauer scored on a bootleg to make it 47-0 after three quarters.

Middleton’s final score came on a 36-yard run by Kewon Buford. Parker’s two fourth quarter touchdowns came on a 17-yard pass from O’Leary to Matthew Hartwig and a 77-yard run by Dre Harris.

Defensively, the Cardinals limited the Vikings to just 59 total yards through three quarters and forced three turnovers, intercepting O’Leary twice and recovering a fumble.

“Ever since that Verona game, we’ve been getting better and better every week,” Pertzborn said of the defense. “Even the Memorial game I thought the defense played well and the offense didn’t take advantage of some opportunities, but now, the two weeks after that, the defense has been relentless.

“They were suffocating at Beloit and tonight, for the most part, it was the same deal. They were in the quarterback’s face, causing interceptions, causing fumbles, making plays and that’s what we need is a defense that feels comfortable enough and relaxed enough to just go get the football.”

With consecutive routs over Beloit Memorial and Janesville Parker, Pertzborn is hoping to carry that momentum into the final three games of the season against Janesville Craig, Sun Prairie and Madison La Follette.

“We’ve got a tough road ahead of us so we’ve got to have that momentum,” Pertzborn said. “That’s what I cautioned the team with after last week when I said we can’t afford to leave doubt.

“We have to come out here, we’ve got to dominate and we’ve got to get that roll going so all that stuff in the past is the past and we’re just talking about what we do now and how good we are now. You’ve got to have that confidence especially this time of year the confidence has to be there or you’re not going to go far.”

Craig, the Cardinals’ next opponent, is just 1-5 overall and in conference, but Pertzborn is taking nothing for granted.

“You have two games like this and now you’ve got to go down to Janesville and who knows what the weather will be Friday and you’ve got to do it all again,” Pertzborn said. “You can’t be happy. Football’s a funny game, you practice so much and you get one night to go out and prove it and if you’re not ready to go, that’s a problem, you don’t get a do over. Lately, the last two weeks we’ve been settled on a lineup and you’re seeing the results of guys starting to get comfortable.”

 

Sept. 27

Middleton 54, Janesville Parker 16

Janesville Parker ………. 0  0   0  16 — 16

Middleton ….. 12  14  21  7 — 54

M – FG Sawyer Pertzborn 33

M – Safety, snap out of end zone

M – Kallion Buckner 66 punt return (Pertzborn kick)

M – Ben Litchfield 12 pass from TJ Bauer (Pertzborn kick)

M – Henry Patterson 87 pass from Drew Teff (Pertzborn kick)

M – Buckner 11 run (Pertzborn kick)

M – Josh Stormer 20 interception return (Pertzborn kick)

M – Bauer 13 run (Pertzborn kick)

JP – Matthew Hartwig 17 pass from Sam O’Leary (Hartwig pass from O’Leary)

M – Kewon Buford 36 run (kick)

JP – Dre Harris 77 run (Justin Schoville run)

 

TEAM STATISTICS

First downs – JP 11, M 10. Rushing (Att-Yds) – JP 34-152, M 22-217. Passing yards – JP 78, M 120. Passing (Att.-Comp.-Int.) – JP 16-8-0, M 6-4-0. Total plays-yards – JP – 50-230, M – 28-337. Fumbles-lost – JP 1-1, M 3-3. Penalties-yards – JP 8-65, M 11-114.

 

INDIVIDUAL LEADERS

Rushing: JP – Garrett Sanwick 19-84. M – Kallion Buckner 9-98. Passing: JP – Sam O’Leary 16-8-2-0-78; M – Drew Teff 3-2-0-101, TJ Bauer 3-2-0-19. Receiving: JP – Matthew Hartwig 5-47. M – Henry Patterson 1-87.

 

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