Prep football preview: Stoughton visits Monona Grove and Sun Prairie travels to Middleton
THREE THINGS TO WATCH
Playoff update: Through seven weeks, 30 teams in the area and region have clinched certain playoff berths, and 19 others are one conference victory away from locking in their invitations. Five Big Eight Conference teams are already in, along with four teams from the Rock Valley and three from the Six Rivers. The area has eight unbeaten teams entering Week Eight: Waunakee, Monona Grove, Lodi, Wauzeka/Seneca, McFarland, Black Hawk, Fennimore and Johnson Creek.
Perfection, tripled: The last time Waunakee senior quarterback Jarrett Wulf threw an incomplete pass? It was Sept. 7, in a victory over DeForest. Since then, Wulf completed all eight of his passes against Portage, all eight of his passes against Sauk Prairie and all 14 of his passes against Reedsburg. That gives him a streak of 30 consecutive pass completions heading into Friday’s home game against Waunakee. On the season, Wulf has completed an incredible 84.1 percent of his throws (58 of 69) for 1,007 yards and 12 touchdowns, with two interceptions. Waunakee, the defending WIAA Division 2 state champion, is 7-0 and is the highest-ranked Division 2 team in The Associated Press’ state rankings.
Great American Rivalry: The Marine Corps has designated Friday’s game between Sun Prairie and Middleton as part of its Great American Rivalry Series. The program, in its 15th year, will present a trophy to the winning team, a spot in the series’ Hall of Fame to an alumnus from each school, and a college scholarship to the senior with the highest grade-point average on each team. Follow the series on Twitter at @AmericanRivalry.
GAMES OF THE WEEK
Stoughton (5-2, 3-2 Badger South) at Monona Grove (7-0, 5-0 Badger South), 7 p.m. Friday
While the Silver Eagles have been cruising, the Vikings are reeling after back-to-back losses put them in a precarious spot. Another loss on Friday would mean the Vikings would have to beat winless Fort Atkinson in Week Nine for a likely — but not guaranteed — playoff berth. MG quarterback Jordan Bishop has thrown for 1,262 yards and 13 TDs at a 62.8-percent completion clip, and the defense has allowed an average of 93 yards and 5.1 points per game. Stoughton’s offense is still producing yards (375 and 365 the last two weeks), but points have been harder to come by (14.7 points per game over the last three weeks).
Sun Prairie (6-1, 6-1 Big Eight) at Middleton (5-2, 5-2), 7 p.m. Friday
Coach Brian Kaminski’s Sun Prairie team, the reigning WIAA Division 1 state runner-up, has bounced back with a vengeance after an opening 32-26 loss at Madison Memorial. Sun Prairie beat Beloit Memorial 35-0 in Week Two, and has scored at least 43 points in every game since, to average 44 points per game. Senior end Cooper Nelson has had an All-State season, catching 41 passes so far for 691 yards and 11 touchdowns. He has more than half his team’s receptions, as Richie Gilles has thrown for 1,256 yards and 18 TDs. Middleton has one three straight after a last-second loss to Madison Memorial, and could keep its outside hope for a share of the Big Eight title going with a win. Kallion Buckner has rushed for 897 yards and 10 scores for Middleton.
GAMES TO WATCH
Fennimore (7-0, 5-0 SWAL) at Mineral Point (6-1, 4-0)
This one has the makings of a classic. Both teams are already in the playoffs, but Fennimore can lock in the SWAL title with a win, while Mineral Point can guarantee at least a share of the crown if it wins. The Pointers have bounced back from an opening loss to 2017 Division 5 state runner-up Hartland Lake Country Lutheran to win six in a row, averaging 40 points per game, but had to pull out a 28-26 squeaker at Cuba City last week. Isaac Lindsey has thrown for 1,414 yards and 18 touchdowns and rushed for 240 more yards. Fennimore has averaged 38.4 points a game and has allowed only four touchdowns all year, notching shutouts in its first four games.
Oregon (5-2, 4-1 Badger South) at Watertown (6-1, 5-0), 7 p.m. Friday
Watertown is already in the playoffs but needs a win to set up a season-ending home showdown against Monona Grove, also currently unbeaten. Oregon has won four straight after a 1-2 start, scoring at least 35 points in each of the wins. Watertown quarterback Ethan Pauly has thrown for 1,551 yards and 11 touchdowns, and run for 396 more yards. Panthers running backs Dylan DiMaggio and Keion Szudy have combined for 1,228 yards rushing and 12 touchdowns, and Nolan Look has thrown for 600 yards.
Mount Horeb/Barneveld (6-1, 4-1 Badger North) at DeForest (5-2, 4-1), 7 p.m. Friday
The most important thing about this game is that the winner is guaranteed a playoff berth, although it’s very likely that both teams already will make the field. It’s also a battle for the chance to very likely finish second to Waunakee in the Badger North Conference race. New coach Bret St. Arnauld’s Vikings have scored 50 or more points in four games, including the last two, led by quarterback Ethan Post (1,635 yards) and running back Malik Winston (700 yards rushing). Coach Mike Minick’s Norskies racked up 61 points in a win over Beaver Dam last week, and Trey Schroeder has passed for 763 yards and rushed for 299 so far.
Lake Mills (7-0, 2-0 Capitol North) at Lodi (7-0, 3-0), 7 p.m. Friday
Lodi, the defending WIAA Division 4 state champ and the state’s top-ranked team in the medium-sized schools division, struggled last week before a late field goal by Austin Soehle gave the Blue Devils a 10-8 win over Columbus. Still, the Blue Devils have been giving up only 6.1 points per game and have gotten a combined 993 yards rushing from Colton Nicolay and Soehle. Lake Mills sophomore quarterback Adam Moen, who had thrown for 12 touchdowns in his previous two games, was held to 155 yards with one TD and two interceptions by Lakeside Lutheran in last week’s 41-13 loss.
Cambridge (7-0, 2-0 Capitol South) at Marshall (3-4, 2-0), 7 p.m. Friday
While coach Mike Klingbeil’s Blue Jays have been cruising — aside from last week’s wake-up call, a 14-13 squeaker at Belleville — the hard-working Marshall Cardinals have overcome a 1-4 start with two consecutive conference victories over the last two weeks. As a result, Friday’s game is for a playoff berth and at least a share of the Capitol South title. Cambridge’s Denver Evans has passed for 1,094 yards and 15 touchdowns; Riley Olson has run for 774 yards and 11 scores.
East Troy (5-2, 5-2) at Jefferson (5-2, 5-2), 7 p.m. Friday
Both teams are already in the playoffs, but the best they can do in the Rock Valley Conference race is tie for the championship — and then only if McFarland somehow loses twice. So this one is about pride and playoff positioning. The Eagles have won two straight after a 34-7 loss to Edgerton, but rushing leader Nolan Klawitter did not play in last week’s 33-7 win over Beloit Turner.
Wisconsin Dells (3-4, 2-1 South Central) at Wautoma (4-3, 2-1), 7 p.m. Friday
The playoffs begin early in the South Central, as the winner is locked into the WIAA postseason with a win, while the loser must win next week to guarantee a berth — and the Dells must travel to 6-1 Mauston next week. Under new coach Scott Flood, the Chiefs have racked up 92 points in the last two games, both victories. Dells quarterback Brett Hirst has thrown for 760 yards and seven TDs and rushed for 679 and 11 scores.
Johnson Creek (6-0, 5-0) vs. Oshkosh Lourdes (6-1, 4-1) at UW-Oshkosh, 7 p.m. Friday
Coach Tim Wagner’s Bluejays can lock up at least a share of the Trailways Small Conference title with a victory. Creek quarterback Justin Swanson has thrown for 880 yards and 13 scores, and rushed for 488 more yards and seven TDs. Anthony Purpi has 757 yards rushing and 12 scores.