Sun Prairie Stays Undefeated After Victory Over Middleton
The Sun Prairie Cardinals remain alone on top of the Big 8 Conference after Friday nights shutout victory over the second place Middleton Cardinals by a score of 17-0.
Sun Prairie earned its second shutout on the season, and second shutout in consecutive games, after stonewalling the conferences most explosive offense a week ago in Madison Memorial, 35-0, prior to this weeks game.
Now the Cardinals are the only undefeated team in the conference with Verona and Madison West trailing a game behind Sun Prairie at 5-1 on the season. Sun Prairie owns a tie breaker over Verona due to the week one victory over the Wildcats, and because of the number of teams in the Big 8 (9 teams) it just so happens that West and Sun Prairie will not play this season.
But before any of this was solidified, the Cardinals had to take care of business against the other Cardinal team in the conference from Middleton and Sun Prairie did not disappoint.
The scoring started at the seven minute mark in the second quarter after a 29-yard field goal went straight through the uprights for Sun Prairie kicker Dustin Wunderlin.
Sun Prairie had another scoring opportunity later in the second quarter just before the half as quarterback Ryan Curran threw a deep pass intended for Michael Marchese to the Middleton five-yard line, but that chance was squandered after the ball was perfectly defended and knocked down by Middleton cornerback Kenji Passini.
Shortly after that play, Curran found wide receiver Drew Mikalofsky on an 11-yard pass that took the Cardinals deeper into Middleton territory but eventually the clock would run out and Sun Prairie would take a 3-0 lead into the half.
Just before the second half kickoff, Sun Prairie head coach Brian Kaminski called over his Cardinal team and addressed the players before taking the field.
He shouted to his players, “If they don’t score!” then in perfect unison the players chanted back “They don’t win!” as this continued back and forth a number of times right before the second half kickoff.
The Sun Prairie defense would hold to that promise, but the offense would add two touchdowns to the scoreboard before all was said and done.
After Sun Prairie kicked off to Middleton to start the half and then forced an immediate three and out, the Cardinals took over from the Middleton 43-yard line in a perfect position to add the first touchdown of the game.
Early in the drive, Sun Prairie had to convert a fourth and one play from the Middleton 47-yard line and converted on a one-yard quarterback sneak by Curran for the first down.
Standout running back and lead rusher in the Big 8 Conference Donte Starlin-Merriam followed up the first down with one of his longest runs on the night of 18-yards down to the Middleton 27-yard line. Curran would then complete a nine-yard pass to Mikalofsky and Starlin-Merriam ran for an additional nine-yards inside the Middleton ten-yard line.
Sun Prairie was stopped on both first and second down but then on third down, Curran completed a nine-yard touchdown pass to Mikalofsky to extend the lead to 10-0 midway through the third quarter.
On the ensuing Middleton possession, the Cardinals defense forced another three-and-out on the Cardinal offense and the final score of the game would take place on the punt that followed.
A poor punt from the Middleton punter resulted in the ball traveling only 18-yards before it bounced right in front of one of the Sun Prairie players on the return team, Jeremiah Bradley, and Bradley instinctually picked up the ball and proceeded to return the botched punt 30-yards for what would be the final touchdown of the game. That return made the game a 17-0 affair right before the end of the third quarter.
In the fourth quarter, the Sun Prairie defense would continue to assert their dominance and defensive prowess as Middleton quarterback Luke Schafer threw an interception to Michael Hommerding at the six minute mark in the fourth and then another interception to Jeremiah Bradley to close out the game on Middleton’s final drive.
Sun Prairie finished the game with 130 passing yards coupled with 114 rushing yards while holding Middleton to 121 passing yards and just 21-yards on the ground.
This defense, which leads the conference in almost every statistical category, has now only allowed 26 points through six games and has yet to allow an opponent to score any more than seven points in any given game.
Sun Prairie will take on Janesville Parker this Friday at home, while Middleton will travel to Janesville to play the Craig Cougars.
Look for the Big 8 Conference preview later in the week for a complete list of games coming up and analysis of the match ups for week seven in prep football.
By: Tyler Zavadsky
Prep Reporter ESPN 1380
Return to: Prep Corner Blog