The top games, the biggest names, and everything we saw last season across southern Wisconsin in high school football.
Our 2018 Team-by-Team Previews begin on July 16.
Top Playoff Performers in 2017
This might be the easiest segment to write: two of the seven state football champions emerged from our area. Waunakee won the Division 2 football championship in a big-time rally over Brookfield Central, 14-13, while Lodi needed overtime to score and hold off defending champion St. Croix Central 17-10 for their first-ever title, coming in Division 4.
A pair of area squads made state as undefeated teams heading in to their title tilts. Black Hawk ran into another unbeaten team, Bangor, and fell in the Division 7 championship. The same fate befell Sun Prairie, one of the most talented teams that's come out of the Big 8 in recent years (especially on defense). The Cardinals became the most recent victim of Kimberly's otherworldly state-record winning streak, which now stands at 70.
Only one other area team, Fall River in Division 7, made it to Level 4. They were blown out by Black Hawk. It was Fall River's furthest playoff run in school history.
No other area team advanced past Level 3. Potosi/Cassville lost 28-7 to Black Hawk in Division 7... Clinton dropped their contest against Lake Country Lutheran 17-14 in Division 5... Lake Mills lost to conference rival Lodi 35-0 in Division 4... Mineral Point bowed out with a 47-26 loss to Markesan... Monona Grove was served revenge from the 2016 season (they beat Waukesha West in overtime in Level 3), as the Wolverines advanced with a 28-7 score... and Madison West pulled off a stunner in Level 2 over Middleton, but Sun Prairie took control in a 49-17 rout.
WFCA All-State 2017 Recap
Sun Prairie landed a handful of players on the WFCA's All-State team. Offensive tackle Anthony Villanueva was one of 11 picked up front. The Cardinals' defense had three players represented: defensive lineman Khalan Coleman, defensive end Josh Dinga, and linebacker/edge rusher Marty Strey. Finally, Alex Oakley was the state's All-State kicker. Oakley routinely hit moving cars on the street well beyond the west end zone at Ashley Field with his extra-point tries. Javian Dayne ran for 2,263 yards and keyed Waunakee's state championship rally, and made WFCA All-State as a running back. Lucas Statz also represents the Warriors as a defensive back on the 2017 all-state team. Alec Ogden's dynamic dual-threat abilities at quarterback placed him on the WFCA's All-State team again in 2017 for Monona Grove. Ogden threw for 2,682 yards and ran for 707 more in his senior season.
Jackson Enz (utility) of Big Foot and Zach Krause (running back) of Clinton both made first-team all-state in 2017. Lake Mills' dynamic duo of Ben Dunkleberger and Hayden Iverson made WFCA All-State in 2017, Jacob Heyroth of Lodi rumbled his way to All-State honors as well, rushing for over 2,900 yards and 41 touchdowns in 2017 en route to a state championship.
Black Hawk linebacker Brody Milz earned a spot on the WFCA All-State team after leading the Warriors to the state championship game. Lancaster's Evan Gates had a monster season, as the running back piled up over 2,000 yards rushing even though the Flying Arrows only played ten games. Also in the SWC, Platteville's Donovan Blevins racked up 1,317 receiving yards en route to a first-team nod for the all-state team. Oakfield's Brandon Williams was one of only a handful of 8-player athletes to make the all-state team, and he made it as a utility player after scoring eight return touchdowns (three punt, three kick, two interception) to go with 15 touchdowns receiving.
Best 17 Games Of 2017
In no order... (1) Cambridge's 25-19 win over Belleville in Week 7 was the only Capitol South game decided by one score or less... (2) One of the most entertaining games in August was Marshall's wild battle with Parkview, as the Cardinals held off the Vikings for a 36-31 victory after nearly blowing a 29-7 third-quarter lead... (3) Lodi's 17-10 win over St. Croix Central for the D-4 title was one for the ages... (4) Lakeside Lutheran led for the first time in the game with three minutes to play, but Elkhorn scored with 90 seconds left and got in on a two-point conversion to take a 32-31 win over the Warriors for their only win of the season... (5) Clinton squared off with eventual state runner-up Lake Country Lutheran in the D5 playoffs in Level 3, but lost 17-14 when LCL hit a long 41-yard field goal in the final seconds to win to cap off an impressive rally by scoring 17 unanswered points in the final two quarters.
(6) McFarland fell to Brodhead/Juda in Week 5 as the Cardinals won on a fourth-quarter touchdown and two-point conversion, 28-27... (7) BeloitTurner's season got a big jolt when they beat Evansville/Albany by rallying from down 14-0 to win in overtime 21-14 in Week 3... (8) Also in Week 3, a stat-busting 64-52 game was won by East Troy over Edgerton, in a game that featured 17 touchdowns, 660 rushing yards, and 399 passing yards... (9) In case you thought that game was a fluke, East Troy was in a similarly fast-paced game the week prior, scoring in the final minute to give the Trojans a 48-47 win over Big Foot. That game featured 777 combined rushing yards, 351 combined passing yards, and "only" 14 touchdowns.
(10) On September 9th, Wisconsin Heights scored in overtime to defeat Abundant Life/St. Ambrose 56-48 in 8-player football... (11) Black Hawk needed a stop on a two-point conversion to escape an upset at the hands of Pecatonica/Argyle, 22-20, in Week 4... (12) Prairie du Chien scored a touchdown with 42 seconds left and got the two-point conversion to take down Darlington in a non-conference game in Week 2, 19-18... (13) Deerfield's double-overtime win over Lourdes Academy certainly qualifies as a top game, a 38-36 win in Week 9... (14) Stoughton's thrilling 30-27 victory over Oregon in Week 6 in the Battle for Highway 138 stands out, as Oregon's desperation heave late in the fourth quarter missed by a few inches in the end zone... (15) Watertown needed a field goal with six seconds remaining to defeat Edgewood 31-29 in week 5. Edgewood scored a touchdown in the first two minutes of the fourth quarter, then took a 29-28 lead on a field goal with 5:38 remaining before succumbing to the Goslings.
(16) With 63 seconds to play, Mount Horeb/Barneveld won the battle for second place in the Badger North by scoring a touchdown to defeat DeForest 35-28 in Week 8... (17) DeForest trailed Portage 28-7 in the second quarter, but came all the way back, scoring the go-ahead touchdown in the fourth quarter to beat the Warriors 35-28 in Week 9... (18) In the same week, a fourth-quarter field goal by Baraboo helped the Thunderbirds get their first win of the season in the final week, 17-14 over Reedsburg... (19) Madison West's shocking upset of Middleton in Level 2, 30-27: Keishawn Shanklin scored with about 15 seconds remaining to give the Regents one of the biggest wins in the entire playoff field... (20) One of the greatest state title rallies of all time, Waunakee scored 14 unanswered points in the fourth quarter to defeat Brookfield Central 14-13 for the Division 2 championship. Quarterback Nate Carter played the entire game, despite breaking his hand on the third play from scrimmage.
2017 Conference-by-Conference Reviews
Read up on your favorite conference and teams in the conference-specific articles from our 2018 High School Football Preview Series.
Top 2017 Games Series (Games aired on iHeartRadio / The Big 1070)
Where Are They Now? Series - Madison-area products after high school
(Where Are They Now: Classes of 2017, 2018, and 2019 to publish later)
Team-by-Team Previews Begin July 16... Conference Previews Begin August 6... Prep Report / Game of the Week Coverage Begins August 13