ESPN Madision

Sun Prairie Gains Sole Possession of 1st Place in Big Eight

Sep 28, 2013 -- 1:42am


Unbelievable Game Finishes With Sun Prairie Reigning Supreme

Brandon Toman throws for state record but Craig Evans plays ultimate hero


By: Tyler Zavadsky     Twitter:@TylerZonESPN


     Sun Prairie has always had a target placed squarely on the backs of every player to put on the red, white and black for much of the schools history.

     Traditionally a conference power, the Cardinals have grown accustom to competing under the brightest of lights and always receiving the opponents best shot to knock them off the top. 

     Friday night was no exception as Sun Prairie was able to stave off every last attempt by the Madison Memorial Spartans to end the Cardinals 17-game conference winning streak in a 52-42 shootout in Madison.

     “Oh man, I just couldn’t believe that game, that really surprised us all,” Craig Evans said of Memorial’s effort. “That game had everything. Just all the highs and all the lows, one minute this, one minute that. I’m just glad we got that victory. Plain and simple.” 

     Evans, the Cardinals defensive leader and University of Wisconsin recruit, played the part of hero for the Sun Prairie Cardinals on more than one occasion. At numerous points in the game, Evans had to proverbially put the team on his back to fend off Brandon Toman and Memorial’s passing attack that ended the game with 655 yards and five touchdowns through the air.

     “He is just a downright special kid who you can always count on as a coach,” coach Brain Kaminski said of Evans. “All week he was more focused than I really have ever seen him and something about him tonight was just simply not going to be denied.” 

     The game was setting up for an exciting finish with a 17-15 score at the half, but no one could foresee a second-half that featured six lead changes and a bevy of points put on the board.

     Evans scored two rushing touchdowns in the second half, blocked a field goal and came up with a key third-down stop in the third quarter, but an army of Spartan players had tremendous games as well.

     Daurice Fountain, perhaps the game’s MVP, finished with 177 yards on 10 receptions for four touchdowns and also added a 98-yard kickoff return in the first half. Teammates Tyler Lindquist added 157 yards on 11 receptions and a touchdown of his own and Kaydee Sims contributed eight receptions for 110 yards as well.

     “It was a great game and all for a lot of us, but it was just kind of hallow,” Toman said. “I would have rather thrown for three yards and no touchdowns and got the win, but it just didn’t work out. We had those guys but it just didn’t work out in the end.” 

     Fountain’s last touchdown came with just over two minutes remaining in the game that brought the game to within three points at 45-42, but the Cardinals recovered the Spartans onside kick and essentially closed the door on a Memorial comeback. 

     “I knew once we recovered that kick it was over, our offense was going to close it out,” Sun Prairie quarterback Ryan Curran said. “Our team battled all game long coming from behind and once we got that shot we all knew what we had to do, and we did it.”

     On the first play after the recovery, Evans took a handoff out of the Cardinals “Jumbo” formation and rumbled 31 yards down to the Spartan 7-yard line.

     Two plays later Evans powered through the defense and carried a handful of Memorial defenders across the goal line for his second score of the night and the ultimate nail in the coffin. 

     “Once I saw that hole, it just opened up and I just knew I was going to break it,” Evans said of his 31-yard run. “I was hoping to get that 40-some-yard touchdown run but fortunately I got the ball again and no one was going to stop me on that second touchdown.”

     Although the Spartans statistically excelled, Memorial drops to 5-1 on the season and out of contention, for the moment, for the Big Eight title. Even despite the loss, respect was gained and a message was sent to the rest of the conference as well.

     “I hope people start showing us some respect, but it we don’t get it, we’re used to it,” Fountain said. “We like being underdogs. It’s something we’re used to and we won’t give up. We’ll see that team again later on.”

     Madison Memorial will move on and take on Janesville Craig next week as Sun Prairie will host (5-1) Middleton.

     Next week’s match between the Cardinals (both teams mascot) will ultimately decide the Big Eight. If Sun Prairie prevails, the defending Big Eight champions will become back-to-back champions, but if Middleton wins then the conference title could be theoretically shared between two or possibly three of the following teams all with one loss this season: Sun Prairie, Middleton, Madison La Follette and Madison Memorial. 


By: Tyler Zavadsky     Twitter: @TylerZonESPN




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