High school football weekend
Week one of the prep football season brought few surprises.
Teams that were expected to flourish, flourished. Teams that were expected to sputter, sputtered.
So what did we learn, if anything, from the opening weekend?
-- The Rock Valley North is going to be competitive. Edgerton, Evansville/Albany, Whitewater and Jefferson posted impressive wins in week one but will be severely tested in week two. Edgerton hosts a talented Lodi team; Evansville/Albany makes the 15-mile trek to play Rock Valley South juggernaut Brodhead/Juda; and Whitewater travels to Columbus to play an up-and-coming Cardinal team that throttled Orfordville Parkview last week.
-- The rebuilding project at Milton is not going to happen over night. The Red Hawks, under first-year coach Bill O'Leary, ran into Badger North powerhouse DeForest in their opener and found out implementing a new offense and defense takes time—especially against a veteran-laden team.
-- The two best teams in the Big Eight may have met in week one. Defending Division 1 runner-up Sun Prairie had to hold on to beat Madison West, 14-12. The Regents held the high-powered Cardinals scoreless in the second half.
-- Lake Geneva Badger appears to be as good as advertised in the Southern Lakes, while Delavan-Darien scored a season's worth of points in its opener with a 70-52 win over East Troy.
Here's a look at three area games of note.
Madison West (0-1) at Janesville Craig (1-0), 7 p.m., Monterey Stadium—The Cougars piled up 42 points in their conference opener against Madison East last Friday. The Regents might not allow 42 points all year. That's how good their defense is.
Craig, despite four turnovers, rushed for nearly 400 yards last week. The Cougars got 150 yards rushing from Trevon Hall and three touchdowns from D.J. Weburg but were never able to pull away from the pesky Purgolders—who were winless a year ago.
Senior quarterback Tom Gabower completed only 2 of 10 passes last week and will have to find his rhythm if the Cougars are going to have any success moving the ball. One-dimensional will not get it done against the Regents.
As well as West played defensively in nearly pulling the upset over Sun Prairie, the Regents were woeful on offense. Of course, much of that can be attributed to Sun Prairie's outstanding defense. West quarterback Terrell McFadden, making his first varsity start, struggled as West had less than 200 yards of total offense.
Best guess: West 20, Craig 7.
Janesville Parker (0-1) at Madison Memorial (1-0), 7 p.m., (Mansfield Stadium)—A loss would be the seventh straight for a Parker program that has qualified for the postseason in 15 of the last 17 years. A win cements Memorial's status as a serious playoff contender.
Parker ran wild on La Follette a week ago, including 209 yards rushing from senior tailback Dai-Von Vance-Jenkins. Unfortunately for the Vikings, the passing game was non-existent. Parker finished with only 34 yards passing and had zero completions in the second half.
Penalties compounded the problems for Parker last week. The Vikings finished with 13, including 10 illegal procedure calls.
If it's true that teams make the most improvement from week one to week two, then Parker needs to be the role model. An 0-2 start would seriously dampen any playoff hopes the Vikings have.
With Joe Ferguson at the controls, the Spartans were pass-happy the last three years. In last week's impressive win over Middleton, Memorial switched gears and rushed for 334 yards in a 31-14 dismantling.
The Spartans' one-two punch of Trevis Miller and Quan Cunnigan combined for 301 yards on the ground.
Best guess: Memorial 35, Parker 20.
Evansville/Albany at Brodhead/Juda, 7 p.m., (Brodhead High School)—These longtime Rock Valley rivals parted ways on the regular-season block schedule when Evansville moved to the Rock Valley North and Brodhead to the Rock Valley South. Playing a nonconference game keeps the rivalry going.
“We've always been two very competitive teams that were only 15 miles apart, so Brian Cashore (Evansville's athletic director) and I decided that we should do whatever we can to keep playing each other,” said Jim Matthys, the current Brodhead principal and former athletic director and football coach. “Now we're set up to play one another the next four years before we start playing each other again under the (conference) block schedule in five years.”
Evansville got three touchdowns from Ryan Cashore in rallying past Union Grove in its opener last week. The Blue Devils allowed only 56 yards rushing but surrendered 181 yards through the air. Brodhead/Juda will certainly test the young and inexperienced secondary.
The Cardinals held off River Valley in their opener thanks to a defense that allowed only 136 yards of total offense. Brodhead/Juda won despite not scoring in the second half.
Best guess: Brodhead/Juda 21, Evansville/Albany 13.
High school football
Janesville Craig 1 0
Sun Prairie 1 0
Madison Memorial 1 0
Verona 1 0
Madison La Follette 1 0
Janesville Parker 0 1
Middleton 0 1
Beloit Memorial 0 1
Madison East 0 1
Madison West 0 1
(7 p.m. starting times)
Madison West at Janesville Craig
Janesville Parker at Madison Memorial
Beloit Memorial at Middleton
Madison La Follette at Madison East
Verona at Sun Prairie
Milton at Sauk Prairie
Fott Atkinson at Portage
Monroe at Waunakee
Monona Grove at Baraboo
Stoughton at Reedsburg
Oregon at Mount Horeb/Barneveld
Evansville/Albany at Brodhead/Juda
Delavan-Darien at Big Foot
Elkhorn at East Troy
Lodi at Edgerton
Orfordville Parkview at Belleville
Whitewater at Columbus
North Boone (Ill.) at Clinton
Southwestern at Beloit Turner
Palmyra-Eagle at Iowa Grant
Mukwonago at Lake Geneva Badger
Marshall at Jefferson
Lakeside Lutheran at McFarland