Game of the Week Preview: Monona Grove at Waunakee

posted by Jimmie Kaska - 

Monona Grove (11-0) at Waunakee (11-0) - 6:45pm Friday on 100.9 FM and iHeartRadio

Last Year: The last meeting between the programs was in the 2016 playoffs. Waunakee hosted the upstart Monona Grove Silver Eagles, who had to win on the road in every level of the playoffs on their eventual trip to state. Monona Grove shocked Waunakee 45-21, the last time that Waunakee has lost a football game, in Level 2 of the 2016 playoffs. MG piled up over 550 yards of offense in the win.

Last Week: Waunakee fell behind 14-0 to DeForest in the first eight minutes of the game, but rallied and held on in the final seconds for a 23-20 win over their Badger North rivals. Monona Grove had little trouble dispatching La Crosse Central, 56-28, in Level 2. The Silver Eagles rang up over 500 yards of offense.

Season To Date: Waunakee is on a 25-game winning streak, and the Warriors are defending Division 2 state champions. They've had two tough playoff games after dominating opponents in the regular season, pulling away late against Baraboo 27-0 and then surviving the upset bid by DeForest, who they also had a hard time with in the regular season, last week. Monona Grove is 11-0 and like Waunakee champions of their division of the Badger Conference. The Silver Eagles have lost only once in the past two seasons: a playoff rematch with Waukesha West last season.

Coaches' Corner: Waunakee's pass defense had a tough time against Trey Schroeder and DeForest, allowing Lane Larson to go off and nearly give the Norskies enough to pull off the upset. Monona Grove will probably present the most talented passing attack Waunakee has seen this year. With 6'7" Sam Hepp and the very talented Payton Spalding running routes for Jordan Bishop, Waunakee coach Pat Rice recognizes the challenge of containing the Silver Eagles. On the flip side, both teams believe their opponent's strength is defense, and Monona Grove coach Brandon Beckwith says it's always been that way. Waunakee's offense has plenty of firepower, however, and can score from anywhere.

Three Keys: 1. Waunakee's defensive line will have to disrupt running lanes and routes to keep Monona Grove from getting into rhythm. Like most recent Silver Eagles teams, as the season progresses, the machine becomes a little more well-oiled and prone to big scoring outbursts. 2. Meanwhile, Monona Grove will need to slow down the efficiency of Waunakee's pass game. If they borrow DeForest's game plan from last week, it'll call for challenging receivers and making stops on third downs. 3. Special Teams was a huge difference last week for Waunakee, as DeForest missed two field goals while Waunakee's outstanding kicker Nate Stevens drilled a 49-yarder in a three-point win. That'll be something in the back pocket for the Warriors this week.

Five Players To Watch: Waunakee's Reed Ryan and Sawyer Maly were players of the year in the Badger North, while Jordan Bishop and Sam Gronski had those honors in the Badger South. Monona Grove's Sam Hepp can also be a game-breaker, much like Larson from DeForest last week.

Listen to the game this Friday night at 7pm on 1070 AM and thebig1070.com/listen!

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