Week 5 of the high school football season not only marks the midway point of the campaign, but offers plenty of big games that will shake out the crowd at the top of the standings in area conference title races. Area unbeaten teams will mostly be on the road this week as well.
⭐ Big Five Games - Week 5, 2018 ⭐
1. Sun Prairie (4-0) at Verona (3-1) - Big 8
2. Edgerton (3-1) at Jefferson (3-1) - Rock Valley
3. Wisconsin Heights (2-1) at Oakfield (4-0) - Great 8
4. Janesville Craig (3-1) at Madison La Follette (3-1) - Big 8
5. Poynette (4-0) at Lake Mills (3-1) - Capitol North
📈= Playoff Implications
Big 8 (Rankings are WSN Coaches Poll)
⭐📈 D1 #10 Sun Prairie (3-1) at Verona (3-1): The crowd at the top of the Big 8 will start to sort itself out this week, and this week marks strong rebound efforts in Week 4 for each squad heading into a turning-point type of game at the midway point. The Cardinals have ripped off three straight since losing to Madison Memorial in the opener, while Verona got a shutout win to recover from a Week 3 loss to Janesville Craig. Annually one of the can't miss games in the Big 8, this year's iteration has plenty of significance. Both teams got big shutout wins over 2017 playoff squads last week. Sun Prairie's Cooper Nelson and Verona's Haakon Anderson seem to find their way to the end zone regularly. [🔊 Sun Prairie Coach Brian Kaminski]
⭐📈 Janesville Craig (3-1) at Madison La Follette (3-1): Even as an undercard, this game is fascinating because both teams are vying for contender status, and the winner will pick up a key win on the way to that role in the Big 8. Both teams have an up-and-down schedule after this week, but the winning team will have that key fourth victory that will likely get them into the playoffs. Janesville Craig's offense will have to shake off a drubbing at the hands of Sun Prairie last week. Janesville Craig still holds their conference title fate in their hands, as if they win out, they'd get a share of the Big 8 crown.
📈 Madison West (1-3) vs D1 #8 Madison Memorial (4-0): (🔊 Madison Taxi Game of the Week Broadcast) Madison Memorial's dream season continued with a Hail Mary to topple Middleton last week, and this week marks three important events to play for. First, the Spartans can wrap up a city championship with a victory. Second, Burt Hable's Clipboard is on the line for the 25th time, a tremendous-looking trophy. Third, a win clinches a playoff spot for the Spartans, Madison West, with an upset, not only throws the Big 8 into even more chaos, but greatly increases the Regents' chances for getting back to the postseason, so there's plenty at stake here. [🔊 Madison Memorial Coach Mike Harris] [🔊 Madison West Coach Brad Murphy]
Belot Memorial (1-3) at Middleton (2-2): For a pair of playoff hopefuls, this looms as a relatively important game. The Purple Knights snapped a three-game losing streak to take their first step towards a return to the playoffs, while Middleton lost in heartbreaking fashion on a Hail Mary last week. A win for either team would be huge. Middleton's Big 8 hopes aren't dashed yet, since there's still five weeks of craziness left in the Big 8, but they don't control their own destiny on that front.
Madison East (0-4) at Janesville Parker (0-4): For Madison East, this is likely their last real opportunity for a win this season, since their schedule difficulty increases drastically the rest of the way. For Parker, it's now the part of the schedule that could yield some wins and keep them on the fringe of the playoff discussion. The losing team can no longer clinch a playoff spot. [🔊 Madison East Coach Jeremy Thornton]
📈Playoff Implications: Madison Memorial can clinch a playoff spot with a win on Friday. The winning team in the Sun Prairie-Verona and Janesville Craig-Madison La Follette games will get to four wins, which should be enough for a playoff berth.
Badger North (Rankings are WSN Coaches Poll)
Baraboo (2-2, 2-0) at D3 #7 Mount Horeb/Barneveld (3-1, 1-1): This one should light up the scoreboard, as each team has put up 50 points in the past two weeks in a single game. Baraboo's early success against Stoughton are probably a good indication that the Thunderbirds will be able to challenge the state-ranked Vikings for at least a while, although Mount Horeb/Barneveld looked mighty impressive in dominating Beaver Dam last week.
Sauk Prairie (1-3, 1-1) at DeForest (2-2, 1-1): DeForest touts a stellar defense, one that can probably contain Sauk Prairie at least as well as it did Waunakee, keeping the Warriors to about 230 yards in a loss last week. The Norskies have lost two games this season to teams that can mirror what they like to do up front, and the junior-laden squad showed that it can battle with the best up front. Sauk Prairie's advantage might be in moving the football a bit, but they'll need a solid if not spectacular effort up front to battle a very good DeForest team.
Reedsburg (3-1, 1-1) at Beaver Dam (1-3, 0-2): After picking up a low-scoring win over Sauk Prairie last week, and as the community continues to clean up after the devastating floods of the past few weeks, Reedsburg heads to Beaver Dam in an important game for both schools in terms of playoff projection. Both teams still have a meaty schedule ahead of them, so every win is necessary to get back to the postseason.
D2 #2 Waunakee (4-0, 2-0) at Portage (0-4, 0-2): These are two Warriors teams at opposite ends of the spectrum. Whereas last year, Portage was 2-0 in conference play entering this battle for first place, Portage is now trying to hang on to their season. It doesn't get any easier against Waunakee, as Waunakee has now downed the two primary challengers in the conference.
📈Playoff Implications: None this week.
Badger South (Rankings are WSN Coaches Poll)
Oregon (2-2, 1-1) at Milton (2-2, 1-1): This is the sort of match-up that decides playoff appearances. Both teams are playing for the postseason, and both teams feature solid defenses complimented by run-first offenses. Despite some of the higher-profile Big 8 games on the schedule this week, this one might be one of the most important games in the area in Week 5.
Edgewood (1-3, 0-2) at Watertown (3-1, 2-0): Both of these teams appear improved in 2018, which should make for some intrigue here. Edgewood, if they want to get into the playoffs, will have to start winning soon, and to knock out a playoff team from last year would be a good start. Watertown has thus far displayed their usual dynamic offense, and now a few wins to keep the Goslings pacing with Monona Grove and Stoughton, who they will face in the final weeks of the season.
Monroe (0-4, 0-2) at D2 #8 Stoughton (4-0, 2-0): It's been a slow start, particularly on offense, for Monroe, whereas Stoughton has had a relatively clean path so far on the schedule. It's now the midway point of the year, and with tough games on the schedule looming, this ends up a very important game for both teams and their playoff fates.
Fort Atkinson (0-4, 0-2) at D2 #6 Monona Grove (4-0, 2-0): Much like Monroe-Stoughton, Fort Atkinson has had a tough go of it to start the year, and with another top-flight opponent this week, those woes could continue. However, the Blackhawks are very young, and at some point the experience will start to soak in. For Monona Grove, there are still a couple of big games at the end of the year with Stoughton and Watertown, so they have plenty to play for in building their resume for the playoffs.
📈Playoff Implications: None this week.
Capitol North (Rankings are WSN Coaches Poll)
⭐Poynette (4-0) at Lake Mills (3-1): Probably the most interesting of the three Capitol North match-ups, Poynette has used a stifling defense and ground-and-pound on offense to start the year undefeated. Lake Mills, whose lone less was to D2 powerhouse Menomonie in the opener, seems to have settled on roles on offense, with Adam Moen tossing three touchdowns last week. A bit of a contrast in styles in this one, but still shaping up to be one of the area's best games. [🔊 Lake Mills Coach Dan Ferkovich]
Luther Prep (3-1) at D4 #2 Lodi (4-0): Aside from a Week 2 contest against St. Viator of Illinois, this might be the biggest challenge to Lodi's winning streak and title defense yet this season. Luther Prep has a solid core of returning players and is looking to break a long playoff drought, despite having winning overall records in two of the last three seasons. Lodi's young squad has grown up quite a bit during non-conference play, and they'll need that experience going into the difficult conference portion of their schedule.
Columbus (1-3) at Lakeside Lutheran (3-1): While both teams bring in some experience, the difference is that Columbus' current core of players is a year younger than what Lakeside is rolling with. The Warriors have played an ambitious non-conference schedule and that should serve the senior-laden team well as they begin conference play against Columbus.
📈Playoff Implications: None this week.
Capitol South (Rankings are WSN Coaches Poll)
New Glarus/Monticello (1-3) at Belleville (4-0): A match-up of two of the conference's champions from last year, Belleville used its big line and big threats in the backfield to stay undefeated so far on the year. New Glarus/Monticello has played some tough teams so far, but 1-3 is a little surprising from the Knights.
Waterloo (0-4) at Cambridge (4-0): Cambridge brought nearly everyone back from last year's conference championship team, and the Denver Evans-Rudy Hommen combo has been hard for opponents to stop. For Waterloo, it's a new season.
D6 #7 Mineral Point (3-1, 2-0) at Marshall (1-3, 0-0) - Non Conference: The Pointers blew out Darlington last week 42-0, and the lone blemish on their resume is a loss to D5's Lake Country Lutheran, a state semifinalist a year ago. Marshall has some solid offensive weapons but so does Mineral Point. This could be a game played on a fast track.
📈Playoff Implications: None this week.
Rock Valley (Rankings are WSN Coaches Poll)
⭐Edgerton (3-1) at Jefferson (3-1): A high-powered offense meets a stalwart defense in this week's game of the week in the Rock Valley. The winning team likely punches a playoff ticket (4-5 gets you in now) but also stays a game back of McFarland should they win, in hopes that the Spartans stumble down the stretch. [🔊 Edgerton Coach Mike Gregory]
Brodhead/Juda (2-2) at Beloit Turner (3-1): Like the other 3-1 teams, Turner needs a win to stay a game back (at least) of McFarland in the conference race, while Brodhead/Juda's good start has been spoiled a bit with back-to-back losses.
Big Foot (1-3) at Clinton (1-3): Not much separates the two schools in the standings or geographically. If either team has intentions on getting back to the playoffs, this begins to border on must-win territory. Big Foot piled up some points last week, giving them a boost going into the date against defending RVC champ Clinton.
Evansville/Albany (0-4) at East Troy (3-1): The season is officially on the brink for Evansville/Albany. The Blue Devils need to win out to clinch a playoff spot, but in order to even have a chance, they'll need to beat East Troy or McFarland the rest of the way.
D3 #4 McFarland (4-0) vs Whitewater (0-4) at UW-Whitewater: McFarland's second neutral-site game of the year, the schedule favors the Spartans the rest of the way since they don't face a team with a current winning record. A win here clinches a playoff spot while Whitewater wouldn't be able to clinch a playoff spot with a loss.
📈Playoff Implications: McFarland can clinch a playoff spot with a win. The winner of Edgerton-Jefferson will get a fourth win, likely enough for a playoff spot, as would East Troy if they defeat Evansville/Albany.
More Southern Wisconsin Games (Rankings are WSN Coaches Poll)
Trailways-Small: Deerfield (0-4, 0-2) is at Cambria-Friesland (1-3, 1-1) as both teams vie for a playoff spot down the road... D7 #4 Fall River (4-0, 2-0) will get Randolph (3-1, 2-0) in a battle atop the conference standings this week... D7 #9 Johnson Creek (4-0, 2-0) is at Rio (1-3, 0-2) as well.
Trailways-Large: Markesan (3-1, 2-0) will the be home opponent for Parkview (0-2, 0-1) this week. The Vikings have had to cancel one game and had another indefinitely postponed.
Southwestern: Conference play begins this week in the six-team league... D4 #10 Platteville (4-0) will play at Lancaster (3-1) in a top-notch mid-season tilt... Another big-time game will put recently-ranked Prairie du Chien (3-1) at River Valley (3-1), with each of those teams suffering recent defeats.
SWAL: See the Captiol South section for more on Mineral Point's game at Marshall... It's getting to be crunch time for Darlington (1-3, 0-2), and it won't be easy against conference-leading D6 #4 Fennimore (4-0, 2-0) this week. The Redbirds will get another conference champ next week with undefeated Cambridge coming to town, and have already played Lake Country Lutheran and Glenwood City.
Six Rivers: There's not a big-time matchup this week, but D7 #3 Black Hawk (3-0, 2-0) does face a solid Benton/Scales Mound (2-2, 2-2) team this week... D6 #9 Pecatonica/Argyle (3-1, 2-1) suffered a setback against Black Hawk, but will have a chance to bounce back against Belmont (0-4, 0-3) this week... D7 #6 Potosi/Cassville (3-1, 3-1) squares off against Shullsburg (1-3, 1-3) on Saturday.
Ridge & Valley: D6 #8 Wauzeka/Seneca (4-0, 2-0) will play a non-conference game against River Ridge (2-2, 2-1) on Saturday... Ithaca (2-2, 1-0) will try to keep pace with Wauzeka/Seneca this week with a game against North Crawford (2-2, 1-1). The winner will be tied in the win column for the conference lead after this week.
Great 8: ⭐ #7 Wisconsin Heights (2-1) will face #3 Oakfield (4-0) in a huge game this week at Oakfield. It'll likely decide the conference title for starters, and for Oakfield, could be one very important item on their post-season resume should they win the season's only meeting between the schools (Wisconsin Heights is not eligible for the playoffs because of their three-year enrollment figure).
*each Great 8 team (Wisconsin Heights, Oakfield, Elkhart Lake/Glenbeulah, and Port Edwards) gains two additional wins due to forfeits by Abundant Life/St. Ambrose. Those are not factored into the records above.