Football Cards keep streak alive

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By: 
Rob Reischel
Middleton football coach Tim Simon and the Cardinals are headed to the postseason for a 22nd consecutive season./Times-Tribune photo by Mary Langenfeld

‘The Streak’ is one of the most impressive in Wisconsin.

Middleton’s football team entered the year having reached the postseason 21 consecutive seasons — the longest Division 1 streak in the state. And the Cardinals added to that remarkable run last Friday.

Middleton rolled past host Janesville Parker, 42-0, and wrapped up a 22nd straight playoff berth. Hartland Arrowhead entered the year tied with Middleton with 21 straight playoff seasons, but the Warhawks still need one more win this year to qualify.

“We’re really proud of that as a staff,” Middleton coach Tim Simon said. “You don’t want to take it for granted. It doesn't happen without a lot of hard work, because it says something when you can go back year after year. It’s definitely a badge of honor we all feel proud of.”

The Cardinals won their fourth straight game and improved to 5-1 overall and 5-1 in the Big Eight Conference. Middleton is tied for second place in the conference with Madison West, one game behind league-leading Sun Prairie (6-0).

Middleton has outscored its last four foes, 151-17. And the Cardinals continued their recent dominance with their second shutout in four weeks.

“Relatively speaking, we’ve seen some growth each week,” Simon said. “We’ve had growth and improvement each week.”

Middleton was a model of efficiency against the Vikings.

The Cardinals ran for 236 yards on 35 carries, an average of 6.7 yards per attempt. Senior Dion Huff had 16 carries for 113 yards (7.1) and two touchdowns. Senior James Pabst was just as effective, rushing 14 times for 102 yards (7.3) and two touchdowns.

Senior quarterback Davis Roquet was fantastically effective, completing 6-of-8 passes for 99 yards and two touchdowns. Junior Sam Close led all receivers with two catches for 64 yards and a touchdown, while senior tight end Luke Ballweg had three catches for 20 yards and a score.

Middleton wasn’t sharp early and led just 7-0 after the first quarter. But the Cardinals got rolling with 28 second quarter points.

“We were flat and unemotional and we did not play well in the first quarter,” Simon said. “You can’t just show up and expect things to go well.”

Pabst’s 2-yard touchdown run in the first quarter gave Middleton a 7-0 lead. Then the Cardinals exploded in the second quarter.

Huff ripped off a 7-yard TD early in the second quarter, then Pabst had a 17-yard score as Middleton raced to a 21-0 lead.

Before the half was over, Roquet threw a 20-yard TD to Close and hit Ballweg for another score as Middleton’s lead grew to 35-0.

“It happened pretty quick,” Simon said of Middleton’s scoring barrage.

Huff found the endzone for a second time in the third quarter as Middleton’s lead ballooned to 42-0. And from there, the Cardinals cruised home.

Middleton cleared its bench by the middle of the third quarter. And no matter which defenders the Cardinals used, they stymied the Vikings.

Parker finished with just 62 total yards — 21 rushing and 41 passing. And the Vikings had just 36 snaps on offense.

“The defense was just dominant,” Simon said. “Once we got going, we played really well. It was a good win.”

• On deck: Middleton hosts Madison La Follette Thursday at 7 p.m.

• From the infirmary: Left guard Logan Thomas sprained an ankle recently and will be out at least two more weeks. With Thomas down, the Cardinals are without three of their projected starters on the offensive line.

Josh Kerns, who replaced Thomas last week, also sprained his ankle and isn't expected to play this week.

And Close, one of Middleton’s top receivers, is expected to miss this week’s game with a sprained ankle.

 

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