Game of the Week Preview: Middleton at Sun Prairie - Level 1

posted by Jimmie Kaska - 

Sun Prairie (8-1) at Middleton (6-3) - 6:45pm Friday on 100.9 FM and iHeartRadio

Last Year: While the first half was very close, Sun Prairie's depth wore down an injury-plagued Middleton squad in Week 2 last year to the tune of a 34-6 victory for Sun Prairie, although the game was pretty close until about the midway point of the third quarter. It was also our game broadcast on The Big 1070, so re-live it here. Earlier this season, in Week 8, Sun Prairie routed Middleton on Homecoming 35-7, using a suffocating defense to blast Middleton.

Last Week: Sun Prairie blew out Madison West 42-6 to lock up a share of the Big 8 title. Richie Gilles pushed his passing total on the year to over 1,800 yards, good for a 200-yards-per-game average. Middleton had a wild game with Madison La Follette, ultimately staying ahead in a high-scoring fourth quarter as Middleton beat La Follette 35-27

Season To Date: As noted above, Sun Prairie has been on a serious roll, winning six straight and scoring tons of points along the way. Outside of a 43-35 win over Verona, and a 32-26 loss to Madison Memorial, the Cardinals have given up just 34 points in seven other games this year. However, against Memorial and Verona, Sun Prairie has allowed 67 points combined, for 101 total on the year--about 11 points per contest. On the other hand, since scoring a season-low 26 points in the opener, Sun Prairie has scored 35 points or more in every game since, putting up 385 total points. 276 of them have come in the first half... Middleton, by comparison, has allowed a combined 92 points in their three losses alone, but they've allowed just 40 points (27 of them to La Follette) in their other six games for 132 total, about 15 points per game. On offense, Middleton's scored at least 22 points in every game except their loss to Sun Prairie, and scoring over 34 points per game so far this year. 202 of their 311 points have been scored in the first half.

Coaches' Corner: Co-Head Coach at Middleton, Tim Simon, has gone 8-9 in his career against Sun Prairie. When we talked to him about the rematch, he thought that his team executed much better in the second half of their loss two weeks ago, and that they had plenty to build on in the film room. Some juggling along the offensive line has added over 80 pounds to the front five to help aid the run game... Brian Kaminski is 9-9 against Middleton in his career, and talked about the fact that both coaching staffs have been working against each other for a long time, so there won't be any secrets since the teams just saw each other two weeks ago. He's been pleased with how well the pass game has come along this year behind Richie Gilles, who is averaging over 200 yards per game.

Three Keys: 1. As noted, Middleton shuffled some things up front to add more size to the offensive line. With over 80 pounds added at the tackles, Middleton will try to move the ball on the ground, something better suited to their outstanding backfield tandem of Kallion Buckner and Bryce Carey, who have rushed for nearly 1,700 yards on the year combined. 2. Sun Prairie got an other-worldly effort two weeks ago from Maven Kretche, who had five sacks and a strip sack that he picked up and took to the house to boot. Sun Prairie should have at least a half dozen, if not more, all-conference picks from their defense, and they've played at an extremely high level in the past several weeks during the eight-game win streak. 3. In poor weather conditions, Sun Prairie was able to pass the football well against Middleton. Gilles is averaging 200 yards per game, and top target Cooper Nelson is averaging over 100 yards receiving per game. It'll be "football weather" again this Friday night.

Five Players To Watch: Sun Prairie has had to face two run-heavy teams the past two weeks, but still found ways to get after the quarterback, perhaps their defense's strength, racking up an obscene amount of sacks. Maven Kretche probably has all-state type numbers now after a five-sack performance against Middleton in Week 8... Bryce Carey will start both ways for Middleton, as he will help fill a void in the back end made in part due to injury to one of Middleton's starters. Carey has over 600 passing and rushing yards, a year after making all-conference as a receiver, so he'll have impacts all over the game... In poor weather, Sun Prairie's Richie Gilles will try to keep up the hot passing streak, as he is over 1,800 yards passing on the year with 23 touchdowns and another six on the ground. Half of those yards and over half of those touchdowns have gone to Cooper Nelson, who is over 900 yards receiving and 13 touchdowns on the year... One big key for Middleton will be establishing the run, and 1,000-yard rusher Kallion Buckner struggled in Week 8 along with the rest of the Middleton offense against Sun Prairie, gaining zero yards rushing and two yards receiving in a game that Middleton only had 170 total yards of offense. Buckner will run behind a re-configured line that added a bunch of size to the edges, in an effort to give him some running room on the grass at Ashley Field.

Listen to the game this Friday night at 7pm on 100.9 FM and thebig1070.com/fm!

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