Prep football preview: Madison Memorial hopes to remain undefeated when it visits Verona on Friday
THREE THINGS TO WATCH
Playoff update: A scan of conference standings around the region shows that Madison Memorial, McFarland, Bangor and Potosi/Cassville already have clinched certain WIAA playoff berths. Eleven teams from conferences in the region can lock in playoff berths with wins on Friday, including Janesville Craig, Sun Prairie and Edgerton. Eleven other teams can become “playoff eligible” (not officially guaranteed, but eligible) with their next conference win, and all but one will play conference games on Friday. That list includes Waunakee, Monona Grove, Stoughton and Watertown.
Back to the Flexbone: The long-running success of Reedsburg’s offense has been credited to coach Brian Pottinger’s mastery of the methodical, run-run-run-oriented flexbone offense. But this year, the Beavers experimented by dropping quarterback Hayden Hahn into a pistol alignment, dropped back with a running back accompanying him. Last week, though, Pottinger scrapped the pistol, went back to the flexbone and hammered Beaver Dam, 35-0. “We were getting big plays here and there, but we could never hang on to the ball and drive it,” Pottinger said. “Tonight, we finally went back under center like we’re used to doing, and it looks like we should have been doing it all along.”
Air Moen: Lake Mills sophomore quarterback Adam Moen was unstoppable against previously unbeaten Poynette last week, completing 31 of 48 passes for 392 yards and seven touchdowns — one shy of the state single-game record, and one better than Ben Dunkleberger’s previous school record of six. On the season, Moen has completed 87 of 165 passes for 1,131 yards and 16 TDs. Junior Hunter Buechel has caught 22 throws for 367 yards and five TDs.
GAME OF THE WEEK
Madison Memorial (5-0, 5-0 Big Eight)at Verona (3-2, 3-2), 7 p.m. Friday
Coach Mike Harris’ Spartans are alone atop the Big Eight Conference and already have clinched a playoff spot, but Janesville Craig and Sun Prairie both stand at 4-1 and would love to move into a share of the league lead should Memorial falter. The Spartans beat Madison West last week, 35-13, and have gotten 618 passing yards (with 10 touchdowns) from Jason Ceniti and 390 yards rushing from Kam Marshall. Verona is on the outside looking in as far as the Big Eight title chase goes, as another loss would make it impossible for the Wildcats to do better than a tie for the crown. Verona lost a high-scoring battle last week to a resurging Sun Prairie team, 43-35. Quarterback Adam Bekx has thrown for 729 yards.
GAMES TO WATCH
Stoughton (5-0, 3-0 Badger South)at Oregon (3-2, 2-1), 7 p.m. Friday
The Vikings remain undefeated and can become playoff eligible with a win over their next-door neighbors and arch rivals from Oregon. However, Stoughton needed a fourth-quarter touchdown to escape with a 13-7 victory over winless Monroe last week. Adam Hobson has thrown for 726 yards and 10 TDs and rushed for 445 more yards to lead the Stoughton offense. Oregon, which figures to be a factor in the league race despite losses to Mount Horeb/Barneveld and Monona Grove, has gotten a combined 940 yards rushing from Keion Szudy and Dylan DiMaggio.
Mount Horeb/Barneveld (4-1, 2-1 Badger North) at Reedsburg (4-1, 2-1), 7 p.m. Friday
The Vikings had to hustle last week to remain one game back of Waunakee in the Badger North race. Coach Bret St. Arnauld’s team had to rally from a 14-7 halftime deficit to hand Baraboo its first league loss, 24-14. Malik Winston caught a long TD pass to break that game open, helping quarterback Ethan Post boost his season totals to 1,317 yards passing (on 68 percent completions) with 16 touchdowns and five interceptions. Reedsburg coach Brian Pottinger counts on Derek Pawlak, Jason Walls and Casey Campbell in the running game — the three have 819 yards and seven TDs between them.
Fall River (5-0, 3-0 Trailways Small)at Johnson Creek (5-0, 3-0), 7 p.m. Friday
This is the matchup of the year for the Trailways Small, as Fall River is ranked ninth and Johnson Creek 10th among state small schools. Johnson Creek has scored 45 or more points in every game, totaling 261 points (a 52.2-point average). Justin Swanson has thrown for 673 yards and 12 TDs and run for 278 yards and five more scores. Fall River advanced to the WIAA Division 7 semifinals last year. This year, the Pirates have averaged a much more modest 18 points in their four games (not including a Week Four shutout against Beaver Dam Wayland), but already have beaten potential league title contenders Oshkosh Lourdes and Randolph.
Lodi (5-0, 1-0 Capitol North)at Poynette (4-1, 0-1), 7 p.m. Friday
The defending WIAA Division 4 state champion Blue Devils won their 19th straight game last week, 34-14 over Watertown Luther Prep. The Lodi defense allowed two late touchdowns against the Phoenix, bringing the total allowed all season by the Blue Devils to four — while the defense has scored three touchdowns and forced 14 turnovers. Poynette was walloped by quarterback Adam Moen and Lake Mills last week, 47-14.
Lakeside Lutheran (4-1, 1-0 Capitol North) at Watertown Luther Prep (3-2, 0-1), 7 p.m. Friday
The Warriors need a win to stay on pace with Lodi and Lake Mills atop the Capitol North. And after last week’s drubbing at the hands of Lodi, Luther Prep needs a win to avoid sweating its way through the rest of the regular season — a loss Friday would mean the Phoenix would have to win their final three games to lock in a playoff berth. Sawyer Moll has rushed for 494 yards and six TDs for the Pumas.