Wildcats a tough homecoming foe

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Jim Franz/Beloit Daily News Beloit Memorial's Fredrick Davis bobbles the ball during a game earlier this season.

BELOIT - Just for the record, Beloit Memorial head coach Rodney Wedig would love to have scheduled a struggling team to play on Homecoming.

Instead, the Purple Knights will entertain perennial power Verona Friday night at Jacobson Field. Kickoff is at 7 p.m.

"Didn't we have Middleton last year?" Wedig said. "You just get who you get sometimes."

Wedig said his Knights aren't conceding anything to the Wildcats, who come into the game 5-2 and tied for third in the Big Eight Conference with Middleton and Janesville Craig, behind 6-1 co-leaders Sun Prairie and Madison Memorial. The Knights are 1-6 and tied with Madison East, ahead of only winless Janesville Parker.

Coming off a 47-14 win over Madison La Follette, Verona boasts one of the most balanced offenses in the Big Eight, averaging 33.1 points with 1,194 yards through the air and 1,262 on the ground. Triggering the Verona attack is quarterback Adam Bexk, who has completed 87-of-137 passes (63.5 percent) for seven touchdowns. The Wildcats' biggest playmaker, Haakon Anderson, has rushed 46 times for 327 yards and 11 touchdowns. He has also caught 31 passes for 461 yards and two scores.

"Anderson is a big target, runs a lot of jet sweeps and scares me the most," Wedig said. "They run everything out of the pistol (formation), but it's all Wing-T concepts. A modernized Wing-T. Your defense has to be disciplined. They can't be confused by all the fakes and play-action."

The Knights fell at Madison Memorial, 31-0 a week ago, but Beloit's coach said linemen Christian Winfield, Kevin Griffin and Matthew Wedig all played well against the Spartans.

"We were able to do a pretty good job against their running game inside, but they hit some big plays against us," Coach Wedig said. "The biggest problem is that we weren't able to generate much offense. We had three-and-outs and turnovers that really hurt us. We just haven't been able to keep our defense off the field."

Beloit's offense will likely have to do without its top running back this week. Wedig said a chipped bone in Eric Bridges' ankle will keep him on the sidelines this week. He has 63 carries for 347 yards (5.5).

"I know he wants to play, but hopefully with a week of rest he'll be ready for the season finale against Janesville Parker," Wedig said.

If Bridges is indeed out, the Knights will look to Radonis Smith, Shelvin Garrett and give some more carries to senior two-way starter Wedig, who has carried the ball 24 times for 181 yards (7.5).

A bigger problem for the Knights has been the passing game, where they've managed only 417 yards and two touchdowns this fall. Shelvin Garrett and Gannon Rand combined to go 1-for-16 last week against the Spartans.

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