Madison La Follette (4-4) at at #2 (WSN-D1)/#3 (AP-Large) Sun Prairie (8-0) - 6:45pm Friday
Last Year: Sun Prairie rolled to a big 31-7 win in Week 9, as La Follette was down several starters for the regular-season finale. (You can listen to the game broadcast we did last year here). Then, one week later, #8-seeded La Follette shocked top-seeded Sun Prairie 40-13 in the playoffs.
Last Week: Madison East took a lead in the second half, but La Follette was able to win the Lussier Cup with a comeback 28-13 victory to snap a four-game losing streak. Sun Prairie had a ho-hum 31-9 win over Verona in the wet weather to clinch a share of the conference title.
Season To Date: La Follette has been streaky, as they were last year. The Lancers rolled off three straight wins over the Janesville and Beloit schools to start the year, then lost four straight before topping East last week. La Follette has tried four quarterbacks this year, but their bread and butter has been the running game... Sun Prairie has won convincingly in every game this year, their other closest contest being their Week 2 win over Middleton. They're one step away from a conference title, and avenging a playoff loss to La Follette one season ago.
Coaches' Corner: La Follette has been hammering the ground game and running about 2/3 to 3/4 of the time in each game. This keeps the games moving along and helps avoid getting blown out by the top teams in the league. Their lone blowout loss was 41-18 to Verona--Middleton won by 18 two weeks ago, and the other two losses were by one score. The key is whether they can find running room against the fantastic front seven of Sun Prairie. If La Follette has to go to the air in wet conditions, they'll have to challenge a talented Sun Prairie secondary which has turned over their opponents multiple times in virtually every game so far... Sun Prairie's key will be to stop the Lancers' running game. The Cardinals have a pretty balanced attack, but late in the year, when weather becomes more of a factor, Sun Prairie will have to continue to pound away on teams in the second half.
Three Keys: 1. La Follette has to run the football. If they can't get it going on the ground, it's going to be a long night. Easier said than done, however. 2. Sun Prairie has shown a knack for giving up a big play or two in the game. La Follette has capable playmakers in the backfield and on the outside. It's going to be up to their quarterbacks to get it to them. 3. With the wet weather, ball security will be paramount. Not only in terms of lost fumbles, but catching passes and fielding kicks. Too often in wetter weather, a ball will slip free on an otherwise routine play.
Five Players To Watch: Despite only playing in five games, Draven Peeples is the leading rusher for Sun Prairie, averaging 8.6 yards per carry. He also leads the team in rushing touchdowns with eight. His speed is the real deal, and will be a test for the Lancers' defense... Anthony West struggled last year against Sun Prairie from the quarterback position. West, who is the team's leading receiver by a mile and who has scored the most touchdowns overall, has thrown only 11 passes on the season. Last year against the Cardinals, West was sacked several times for massive losses. However, West will need to have a big game to get La Follette in position to win... Josh Dinga will be busy up front. The Lancers like to run, and much like the West game a couple weeks ago, Sun Prairie will need to collapse the running lanes in order to force La Follette to the air with their third- or fourth-string quarterback... Kayvion James-Ragland is not only a touchdown machine on offense, but one of the team's best defenders as well. The Lancers will need another strong two-way game from James-Ragland to push for another upset bid... If the Lancers try going aerial assault, Kaden Kauppinen will be waiting with his six interceptions on the year. Sun Prairie has numerous defensive backs capable of the big play.
Listen to the game this Friday night at 7pm on The Big 1070!