Week 9 High School Football Preview: Playoffs At Stake

It's Week 9, which means playoff spots are at stake, conference titles are on the line, and some of the biggest match-ups in the state are happening right in our back yard.

Big 8

Teams In: Madison Memorial, Verona, Middleton, Madison La Follette, Sun Prairie

Work To Do: Madison West, Madison East

Eliminated: Beloit Memorial, Janesville Craig, Janesville Parker

Middleton (6-2) at Madison La Follette (6-2): Likely a game for a home playoff contest, Middleton took a big step towards hosting a Level 1 game at Otto Breitenbach Stadium by defeating Sun Prairie last week. La Follette also has a win over Sun Prairie under its belt and has only lost to Verona and Madison Memorial this year. Offensively, it’s a contrast of styles. Middleton only threw three times in bad weather against Sun Prairie last week, relying on a monster game from Kallion Buckner to get the victory. La Follette, meanwhile, will try to use its deep stable of receivers and the playmaking of Ben Probst to find room to work through the air against a solid Middleton secondary.

D1 #8 Verona (6-2) at Madison East (3-5): Verona needs a win to lock in a home playoff game, although wins over La Follette and Middleton likely have the Wildcats hosting in Level 1. They’ll try to get it done this week without Jackson Acker again. East has already matched its win total from the past three years combined, and a win here would very likely get the Purgolders into the postseason.

Madison West (4-4) at Sun Prairie (5-3): Playoff positioning is what’s at stake here as each team seeks to avoid a rematch with, potentially, Madison Memorial in Level 1. Sun Prairie should enter the playoffs as a dangerous lower-seeded team, although they will likely be on the road the whole way after losing to Middleton, La Follette, and Memorial this year, and with Verona, who Sun Prairie beat, finishing a game in front of the Cardinals in the conference. For West, they are likely in the playoffs with four wins already, but a win over Sun Prairie would be fairly remarkable given their numbers. The Regents have quietly played their way into the postseason after a difficult early schedule.

Janesville Craig at D1 #5 Madison Memorial (8-0): The Spartans will have home games pretty much through Level 3 as it currently sets up, as this year’s meeting between the teams doesn’t quite have the stakes of a year ago. Memorial rallied to beat the Cougars last year to clinch a share of the Big 8, but this year they’ve already wrapped up the outright title and can finish their second-ever undefeated conference season with a win over Craig, and their first since 1984.

Beloit Memorial (1-7) at Janesville Parker (0-8): Seniors say goodbye after this week, although Parker will play in a plus-one game next Thursday against Waukesha South.

Badger North

Teams In: Waunakee, DeForest, Reedsburg

Work To Do: Sauk Prairie, Beaver Dam

Eliminated: Baraboo, Mount Horeb/Barneveld, Portage

D2 #1 Waunakee (8-0, 6-0) at D2 #4 DeForest (8-0, 6-0): The Big 1070 Game of the Week: Waunakee takes its 34-game conference winning streak into DeForest, while the Norskies carry their own 12-game conference winning streak into the contest. DeForest coachMike Minick announced he is stepping down after this season, adding emotion to an already heated rivalry and a monster conference title game, which is also the game of the week at WisSports.net statewide. A moment of silence for the late Hall of Fame DeForest coach Jerry Roelke will be observed prior to kickoff.

Sauk Prairie (5-3, 3-3) at Beaver Dam (2-6, 2-4): A playoff game of sorts: Sauk Prairie needs a win to clinch a playoff spot for the first time in a dozen years, while Beaver Dam needs a win to get on the playoff bubble at 3-4 in conference play. A 3-4 record doesn’t guarantee a spot, but Sauk Prairie would still have a decent shot of getting in thanks to two non-conference wins in crossover play.

D3 #6 Reedsburg (6-2, 4-2) at Portage (2-6, 1-5): Reedsburg appears to be thriving as the Badger North dark horse, taking Waunakee to the limit and perhaps entering the playoffs as a team to watch as the postseason progresses. Portage got a couple of early wins under first-year coach Shane Haak, taking a solid first step in the program’s new direction, and will face a good challenge when their seniors line up for the final time Friday night.

Mount Horeb/Barneveld (1-7, 1-5) at Baraboo (1-7, 1-5): For Mount Horeb/Barneveld, injuries derailed a season that appeared poised for at least a playoff berth, as several season-ending injuries at key positions took a toll early on for the Vikings. Baraboo graduated a great group of seniors last year and took some lumps this season, but did get their conference win a few weeks ago and will try to send the seniors out on a high note this Friday.

Badger South

Teams In: Milton, Stoughton, Monona Grove, Watertown

Work To Do: Monroe, Oregon

Eliminated: Edgewood, Fort Atkinson

Monona Grove (4-4, 4-2) at Stoughton (6-2, 5-1): Stoughton can clinch a share of its first conference title in 43 years if they can get by defending champion Monona Grove, as the Silver Eagles have won three in a row and four of their last five games after an 0-3 start. The Vikings blew out Monroe to put themselves in a spot to win and clinch a share last week. If Monona Grove wins, and Watertown beats Milton, four teams would share the Badger South title.

Milton (7-1, 5-1) at Watertown (6-2, 4-2): Both teams bounced back after somewhat surprising Week 7 losses, but plenty is on the line for both. For Milton, a share of the conference title is theirs with a win (and outright if Stoughton loses to Monona Grove), while for Watertown, a win and a Monona Grove win forces a four-way tie for the Badger South crown. It’ll be a contrast of styles in decent weather Friday night.

Oregon (3-5, 2-4) at Fort Atkinson (0-8, 0-6): Oregon needs to win to get on the playoff bubble. 3-4 won’t get the Panthers in for sure, but the latest WisSports.net projections have 3-4 teams getting in. Fort Atkinson will try to end their long losing streak and get Brady Grayvold his first win as a head coach.

Edgewood (1-7, 1-5) at Monroe (4-4, 3-3): Monroe needs a win to clinch a playoff spot, although they could still get in as a 3-4 conference record team. Edgewood got a win over Fort Atkinson two weeks ago to snap their losing streak. It’s the final football game as a member of the Badger Conference in this sport for both teams, as both programs will transition to the Rock Valley for 2020 and 2021.

OTHERS

D4 #5 Lake Mills (7-1, 4-0) at Luther Prep (4-4, 2-2): Lake Mills is playing for home field for the playoffs while Luther Prep needs a win to get in. A loss leaves the Phoenix with very slim hopes of a playoff berth.

Lodi (6-2, 2-2) at Lakeside Lutheran (4-4, 2-2): Winner clinches a playoff spot, losing team has to hope the playoff bubble includes teams that go 2-3 in conference play. Both teams made solid runs in last year’s playoffs.

Poynette (2-6, 0-4) at Columbus (5-3, 2-2): Pretty simple for Columbus: Win and get in, lose and (likely) stay home. The Cardinals have missed the playoffs the past two years after a pair of Level 3 runs in 2015-16.

Cambridge (7-1, 3-0) at Waterloo (1-7, 0-3): Cambridge can clinch the outright Capitol South title for the second straight year with a win.

Belleville (4-4, 1-2) at New Glarus/Monticello (4-4, 2-1): Belleville needs a win to get into the playoffs. For New Glarus/Monticello, they’re in even if they lose, but a win could give them a more favorable match-up in Level 1, since the Knights will likely be D5 this year.

(Marshall plays Winnebago Lutheran in non-conference… the Cardinals are in the playoffs)

Big Foot (4-4) at D4#9 Edgerton (7-1): Edgerton is playing for a share of the conference title, while Big Foot needs a win to clinch a playoff spot. The Chiefs are likely in already anyways, but a win clinches that spot. Edgerton can also get a better seed with a win.

Clinton (1-7) at Evansville (7-1): After a loss to McFarland, Evansville now needs a win over Clinton to earn a share of the Rock Valley title.

East Troy (4-4) at Turner (2-6): East Troy can clinch a playoff spot with a win, although they’re likely already in with four conference wins.

McFarland (5-3) at Brodhead/Juda (4-4):Brodhead/Juda is likely making a return to the playoffs with four conference wins, as they have missed the past two years after a 25-year streak of postseason appearances was snapped in the 2017 season.

Whitewater (1-7) at Jefferson (5-3)

STATEWIDE SCENARIOS AT WISSPORTS.NET (CLICK HERE)

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