HSFB: 2019 Level 1 Playoff Preview

The 2019 WIAA Football Tournament begins Friday night, and here’s a look at the area teams in action this Friday night.

224 teams qualified for this year’s field across seven divisions, 32 placements in each. The final two in each division face off for a state championship November 21 and 22 at Camp Randall Stadium in Madison.

The Big 1070 will carry all seven championship games on 100.9 FM and iHeartRadio at thebig1070.com/fm, as well as coverage of one game each round of the playoffs on either 1070 AM or 100.9 FM Levels 1 through 4.

You can find a full schedule online at thebig1070.com.

Division 1: #8 Madison West at #1 Madison Memorial – Memorial won the Battle for Burt Hable’s Clipboard 28-6 back in Week 5. However, it was a one-score game going to the fourth quarter. West has played most of the conference very well, going 4-5 in the Big 8. In those five losses, they were within one score in the second half of all but one of those contests, and never lost by more than 22 or gave up more than 35 points. For Memorial, their undefeated run through the conference featured a number of close calls and big rallies, including Week 1 over Sun Prairie and Week 6 over Verona in which they scored the go-ahead points late in the fourth quarter. Memorial won their 11th Big 8 title, and completed their 2nd-ever undefeated conference season (the other in 1984) and their first-ever unbeaten regular season.

HSFB: Madison West opens playoffs with rivalry game on home field
HSFB: Madison West opens playoffs with rivalry game on home field
Madison West, 4-5 in the regular season and a #8 seed in the Division 1 WIAA football playoffs, will play on their shared home field with rival and top-seeded Madison...

Division 1: #6 Sun Prairie at #3 Verona – Verona’s Week 5 loss to Sun Prairie was the first of two heartbreaking losses in the final seconds, as the Wildcats lost as time expired to Madison Memorial the following week. Verona’s banged-up defense and backfield has had a few weeks of low-pressure football to get right, and now they look for revenge upon Sun Prairie for that 27-21 setback earlier in the year. For Sun Prairie, the only team in the Big 8 to win a playoff game last year, they will try to continue that success with their plethora of offensive weapons in what should be decent weather Friday night. The Cardinals loom as one of the bracket’s biggest dark horses given their #6 seed.

Division 1: #5 Madison La Follette at #4 Middleton – Last week’s big third quarter helped decide Middleton’s win over La Follette in the final week of the regular season. That ended up giving the Cardinals an extra home game, as the teams meet again seven days later. Kallion Buckner is one of the state’s leading rushers and has helped surging Middleton down the stretch, as the Cardinals bullied their way into the playoff field with just two losses on their resume: Madison Memorial and Verona. La Follette was able to start 5-1 but dropped two of their final three games against difficult competition, but the Lancers boast an explosive offense and solid run defense, something that could be key against Middleton.

Division 2: #8 Oregon at #1 Hartford – Hartford is the lone undefeated team in Division 2. Oregon’s task is tough, as the Panthers were a bit up-and-down this year in a balanced Badger South. Oregon is one of six conference teams to make the playoffs, and will try to get it done in their upset bid behind a balanced attack. Hartford’s a team with a 2,000-yard passer and 1,000-yard receiver in the fold, so the pass defense of the Panthers is sure to be tested.

Division 2: #7 Monona Grove at #2 Waunakee – Monona Grove was 1-4 at one point this season, before putting together three wins to get into the playoffs near the end of the year and even had an outside shot at a share of the conference title in Week 9. Waunakee was 8-0 before losing to DeForest in Week 9 in a battle for their conference title. As it is, these two traditional powers meet up for the first time since Week 1, when Waunakee dominated in a 54-6 win. The Warriors did the same last year in sweeping both meetings between the teams, so this crossover rivalry showdown should have plenty of juice Friday night.

Division 2: #6 La Crosse Central at #3 Milton – Milton’s somewhat surprising run to 8-1 and a share of the Badger South under first-year head coach Rodney Wedig, who won a state title at Big Foot and was previously the coach at Beloit Memorial, culminates in a match-up with an explosive La Crosse Central team led by Wisconsin Badgers basketball recruits Johnny and Jordan Davis. Johnny Davis has thrown for 1,666 yards, rushed for 1,200 more, and has combined for 31 touchdowns. Milton has gotten it done with efficiency and defense, led by 20 passing touchdowns by Evan Jordahl and 13 rushing touchdowns by Nick Huber.

Division 2: #5 Holmen at #4 Watertown – Watertown had an outside shot at a conference title in Week 9, but fell to Milton. The Goslings’ well-regarded spread attack will see their polar opposite philosophically this week when they take on the ground-and-pound Holmen Vikings, who average 257 yards per game on the ground.

Division 3: #8 McFarland at #1 DeForest – After wrapping up an undefeated season with a 35-13 statement win over Waunakee, the Norskies begin their playoff journey as the second-largest team in Division 3. Their first opponent is a McFarland squad with plenty of spark and talent at the skill positions. The Spartans were last year’s Rock Valley champions. DeForest will seek advantages along the lines, as the team has had a couple of slow starts on offense in a few games this year before exploding midway through with key adjustments and timely play by their star-studded defensive line.

HSFB: DeForest defeats Waunakee 35-13 to win Badger North title
HSFB: DeForest defeats Waunakee 35-13 to win Badger North title
The game of the week in the state of Wisconsin was a match-up of two undefeated rivals, Waunakee and DeForest. DeForest won 35-13 to end Waunakee's 34-game conference...
HSFB: McFarland to face top-seeded DeForest to open playoffs
HSFB: McFarland to face top-seeded DeForest to open playoffs
McFarland is back to the post-season for the second straight year, but in the reverse situation as a year ago. The Spartans will open as a #8 seed against top-seeded...

Division 3: #7 Monroe at #2 Onalaska – If you’re a fan of running the football, here’s a good one for you. Onalaska has a well-balanced offense in their own right, but Monroe is a solid run-first program. The Cheesemakers could end up with two 1,000-yard rushers. In what is a deep eight-team grouping, this one should offer some intrigue as both teams played well down the stretch.

Division 3: #6 Sauk Prairie at #3 Stoughton – Speaking of intrigue, Sauk Prairie’s first playoff trip since 2007 will be to face the co-champion of the Badger South, Stoughton. Sauk Prairie flashed some passing offense on the year, but relies on smashmouth football to get the job done. Stoughton does it with speed and skill all over the field, and quarterback Adam Hobson made a big jump from last year to this year and has led the Vikings’ offense to great success in 2019. Stoughton also boasts Wisconsin Badgers recruit, offensive lineman Jack Nelson. This is the Game of the Week on The Big 1070 and TVW.

HSFB: Sauk Prairie returns to playoffs for first time since 2007
HSFB: Sauk Prairie returns to playoffs for first time since 2007
Sauk Prairie is back to the postseason for the first time since 2007, and the Eagles draw Stoughton in the Division 3 football playoffs on Friday night.
HSFB: Stoughton wins first conference title since 1975
HSFB: Stoughton wins first conference title since 1975
Stoughton football finished the 2019 regular season as co-champs of the Badger South, the Vikings' first conference championship since 1975 in football. Now,...

Division 3: #5 Sparta at #4 Reedsburg – Reedsburg played Waunakee tough a couple weeks prior and only suffered losses to eventual conference champion DeForest as well as Waunakee. The Beavers also had a big win over Sauk Prairie earlier in the season by one score to secure third place in the Badger North. Their reward is to meet up with a similarly rush-heavy offense in Sparta, although few teams in Wisconsin are as committed to running the football as Reedsburg. Expect a fast, physical game Friday night.

OTHERS

Division 4 - #8 Big Foot at #1 Evansville, #7 Brodhead/Juda at #2 River Valley, #6 Mauston at #3 Edgerton, #5 Lakeside Lutheran at #4 Jefferson, #7 Saint Francis at #2 Lake Mills, #5 East Troy at #4 Kewaskum

Division 5 - #8 Marshall at #1 Gale-Ettrick-Trempealeau, #7 New Glarus/Monticello at #2 Prairie du Chien, #6 Arcadia at #3 Columbus, #5 Platteville at #4 Aquinas

Division 6 - #7 Melrose-Mindoro at #2 Mineral Point, #6 Osseo-Fairchild at #3 Lancaster, #5 Darlington at #4 Benton/Scales Mound/Shullsburg, #6 Johnson Creek at #3 Winnebago Lutheran, #5 Palmyra-Eagle at #4 Cambridge

Division 7 - #8 Cashton at #1 Black Hawk/Warren, #7 Highland at #2 Potosi/Cassville, #6 De Soto at #3 River Ridge, #5 Wauzeka Center/Steuben/Seneca at #4 Ithaca

8-Player - #4 Lincoln at #1 Belmont, #3 Port Edwards at #2 Oakfield

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