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Prep football preview: Madison Memorial visits Middleton in a Big Eight showdown on Friday

September 7, 2018

Middleton, led by quarterback Bryce Carey, will play host to unbeaten Madison Memorial on Friday night.

NOTABLE

Edgewood relocates: Madison Edgewood is hoping any more rain won’t cause problems at Breese Stevens Field on the East side, because the Crusaders will take on Badger South Conference favorite Monona Grove there at 7 p.m. Friday. Also, the Crusaders’ Week Seven home game against Oregon has been moved to Madison La Follette’s Lussier Stadium.

GAMES OF THE WEEK

(All games 7 p.m. Friday)

Madison Memorial (3-0, 3-0 Big Eight) at Middleton (2-1, 2-1)

As usual, many rounds of the Big Eight schedule are expected to be up-for-grabs battles, and this contest might be no different. Middleton needs a victory to avoid falling two games behind the league leaders with five games to go; Madison Memorial needs a win to hold onto at least a share of the conference lead (with 3-0 Janesville Craig). The Spartans received votes in the latest Associated Press state rankings.

First-year coach Mike Harris’ Spartans have gotten 438 passing yards and seven touchdowns from Jason Ceniti, and 307 yards rushing with three scores from Kam Marshall. The defense has given up an average of 13 points per game, taking an average lead of 12-0 in the first quarter.

Middleton, which was outdueled by Verona, 27-22, in a Week Two road game, has been untouchable in its other two outings, beating East and West by a combined 90-0. Kallion Buckher has rushed for 514 yards (on an 11.2-yard average) with seven scores, and Bryce Carey has thrown for 288 yards.

East Troy (3-0, 3-0 Rock Valley) at McFarland (3-0, 3-0)

The biggest regular-season game a McFarland team has played in some time will take place Friday, on a field the Spartans hadn’t been able to use until this week due to construction at the school. Coach Paul Ackley’s McFarland team has found different ways to win, scoring 57 points against Edgerton and 35 against Jefferson, but hanging on for a 9-7 win over league contender Beloit Turner last week. Derek Schwarting has thrown for 388 yards and six TDs, and Tysen White has run for 274 yards and four scores. Senior linebacker Carson Werwinski leads the defense with 36 tackles.

East Troy has been steady in its three victories, winning by at least 20 points and allowing only three touchdowns. Trojans quarterback Jake Dessart has averaged 11.1 yards per run, totaling 744 yards and eight scores.

GAMES TO WATCH

Sun Prairie (2-1, 2-1) at Janesville Craig (3-0, 3-0)

Another gigantic Week Four showdown in the Big Eight sends coach Brian Kaminski’s Cardinals, the reigning WIAA Division 1 runners-up, to take on a fired-up Craig team at Monterey Stadium. After a 32-26 opening loss at Madison Memorial, the Cardinals have rolled past Beloit Memorial and Janesville Parker by a combined 84-7 score. Quarterback Richie Gilles has thrown for 378 yards, and Cooper Nelson has more than half the Cardinals’ receiving yards (and five TDs) on 15 catches.

Craig hasn’t slipped a bit thus far, rolling over Beloit and Parker and holding off Verona. Like the Cardinals, the Cougars’ final six games include four opponents with winning records. The Cougars’ star is senior lineman Keeanu Benton, a University of Wisconsin recruit who will jam up the middle with his size (6-4, 285 pounds) and mobility. Tressin Kussmaul has run for 273 yards and five TDs.

Verona (2-1, 2-1) vs. Madison West (1-2, 1-2)

After its impressive Week Two win over Middleton, coach Dave Richardson’s Wildcats fell out of a share of the league lead with a 26-20 loss at Janesville Craig. Quarterback Adam Bekx already has thrown for 576 yards and three TDs, and the Wildcats’ top three running backs have produced 440 yards and 5.6 yards per carry.

West, under coach Brad Murphy, looked good in a tight opening loss to La Follette and a Week Two victory over East. But last week, the Regents fell 40-0 to Middleton. With Verona this week, Madison Memorial next week and Janesville Craig and Sun Prairie waiting ahead, it’s time for the Regents to regain their focus.

DeForest (2-1, 1-0 Badger North) at Waunakee (3-0, 1-0)

The Norskies opened Badger North play with a 40-0 victory over Reedsburg, as Gabe Finley and Logan Hackl combined to run for 185 yards and five TDs and the defense allowed 61 total yards.

But the play of Waunakee, the defending WIAA Division 2 state champ, left others in the Badger North simply shaking their heads. The Warriors, ranked second among state large schools by The Associated Press, stormed to a 46-0 rout of previously unbeaten Mount Horeb/Barneveld — which was missing star running back Malik Winston. Combined, coach Pat Rice’s team has outscored its three opponents by a combined 149-7. Jarrett Wulf has thrown for 510 yards and five TDs.

Mineral Point (2-1, 1-0 SWAL) at Darlington (1-2, 0-1 SWAL)

The Pointers opened league play last week with a 50-14 win over Boscobel, with quarterback Isaac Lindsey throwing for 265 yards and five scores. In non-conference play, the Pointers have lost to Hartland Lake Country Lutheran and defeated Dodgeville.

Coach Travis Winkers’ Darlington team lost its SWAL opener last week at Cuba City, 27-20, and needs to knock off the potent offense of the Pointers to remain a viable contender for the conference title. The Redbirds also beat Glenwood City and lost to Hartland Lake Country Lutheran in non-conference play, with each final a shutout. Quarterback Blake Whalen has run for 175 yards and two TDs and passed for 213 yards and three scores.

— Art Kabelowsky

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