Football weekend: High school season reaches midway point
Hard to believe, but week five marks the midway point of the high school football season.
And for a number of area teams, week five also means a chance to become playoff eligible.
The WIAA criteria for becoming playoff eligible is simple. A .500 conference record is the standard for playoff eligibility. That doesn’t guarantee a postseason berth, but 95 percent of the time a .500 conference record will get a team into the playoffs. A better than .500 conference record is the automatic qualifying standard.
For a team like Clinton, which hasn’t qualified for the postseason since 2000, the WIAA’s decision to not count Rock Valley South crossover games in the conference standings is paramount in the Cougars’ bid for a playoff berth. Clinton is 1-0 in the Rock South heading into Friday’s game at Brodhead/Juda (3-1, 1-0), but would be 1-1 if crossover games counted in the South after losing to unbeaten Jefferson. The Cougars also have a crossover game at Edgerton (3-1, 2-0) on Oct. 4. In previous years, a loss to Edgerton would have forced Clinton to win four of five Rock South games to be playoff eligible. With South powerhouses Walworth Big Foot and Brodhead/Juda on the schedule, that’s a tall order.
This season, even if Clinton loses to Big Foot and Brodhead/Juda, wins over Orfordville Parkview and Beloit Turner will punch the Cougars’ playoff ticket.
The Big Eight is the only area conference where teams can clinch a playoff berth Friday night. Sun Prairie, Madison Memorial and Madison La Follette are all 4-0 in the Big Eight, although La Follette hosts Sun Prairie which means only one of those two teams will earn the automatic playoff berth this week.
Monona Grove hasn’t lost to a team from the Badger South in four years. Will the streak end Friday at Madison Edgewood? The Crusaders are a high-octane offense, but the Silver Eagles get University of Wisconsin recruit Jaden Gault back after missing two games with a knee injury and should be able to control clock and the game with their vaunted rushing attack.
Here’s a look at three area games of note Friday:
Edgerton (3-1, 2-0) at Jefferson (4-0, 2-0), 7 p.m., Friday—The winner takes over sole possession of first place in the Rock Valley North. Edgerton is playing its fourth straight undefeated team.
Edgerton blasted previously unbeaten Whitewater last Friday thanks to a quick-strike offense and a swarming defense. The Crimson Tide will need both if it hopes to pull the upset.
Ricky Williams is fifth in the state in rushing and needs 212 yards to hit the 1,000-yard mark for the season, but Edgerton proved against Whitewater that it is far from a one-man team. Coach Mike Gregory unveiled the (Tim) Tebow Package on offense earlier this season with all-everything senior Lucas Gregory lining up under center, and look for the Tide to utilize the formation even more Friday night.
Jefferson counters with tailback Garrett Blaeske, who is seventh in the state in rushing with 762 yards on the season. The Eagles are averaging 41.2 points per game.
Best guess: Jefferson 27, Edgerton 21.
Clinton (3-1, 1-0) at Brodhead/Juda (3-1, 1-0), 7 p.m., Friday—The winner of this Rock Valley South clash will likely join six-time defending South champion Walworth Big Foot at the top of the standings. The loser will have to win two of its last three South games to qualify for the postseason.
Clinton is 1-1 since losing Jacob Marchillo, one of the conference’s top playmakers, to injury in game two. The Cougars lost in week three to unbeaten Jefferson but bounced back with a big Rock Valley South win over Palmyra-Eagle last Friday.
Derek Severson has rushed for 435 yards and thrown for 150 for Clinton.
Brodhead/Juda rebounded from its first loss of the season to Edgerton with a convincing win over Beloit Turner last Friday in opening the Rock Valley South schedule.
The Cardinals are averaging 30.2 points per game and allowing just 12 points a game.
Best guess: Brodhead/Juda 28, Clinton 7.
Elkhorn (3-1, 2-0) at Wilmot (2-2, 1-1)—The surprising Elks will try and keep pace with Lake Geneva Badger (3-1, 2-0) in the Southern Lakes.
Defense continues to be the story for Elkhorn. The Elks held high-scoring Delavan-Darien to 13 points in last week’s win and have allowed only 56 points in four games this season.
Wilmot has struggled offensively, averaging only 11 points per game, but is stout defensively. The Panthers have allowed only 14 points per game.
Best guess: Wilmot 21, Elkhorn 13.
High school football
(7 p.m. starting times unless indicated)
Beloit Memorial (0-4) at Janesville Craig (1-3),, 7:30 p.m.
Janesville Parker (1-3) at Madison East (0-4),, 7:30 p.m.
Madison La Follette (4-0) at Sun Prairie (4-0), 7:30 p.m.
Middleton (3-1) at Madison West (1-3), 7:30 p.m.
Madison Memorial (4-0) at Verona (2-2), 7:30 p.m.
ROCK VALLEY NORTH
Edgerton (3-1, 2-0) at Jefferson (4-0, 2-0)
Evansville/Albany (2-2, 1-1) at Whitewater (3-1, 1-1)
McFarland (2-2, 1-1) at East Troy (1-3, 0-2)
ROCK VALLEY SOUTH
Beloit Turner (1-3, 0-1) at Walworth Big Foot (4-0, 1-0)
Clinton (3-1, 1-0) at Brodhead/Juda (3-1, 1-0)
Palmyra-Eagle (1-3, 0-1) at Orfordville Parkview (0-4, 0-1)
Oregon (1-3, 0-1) at Milton (0-4, 0-2)
Monona Grove (4-0, 2-0) at Madison Edgewood (3-1, 2-0)
Stoughton (1-3, 0-2) at Monroe (0-4, 0-1)
Baraboo at Fort Atkinson (crossover)
Union Grove (1-3, 1-1) at Delavan-Darien (1-3, 0-2)
Elkhorn (3-1, 2-0) at Wilmot (2-2, 1-1)
Lake Geneva Badger (3-1, 2-0) at Westosha Central (0-4, 0-2)
Waterford (2-2, 1-1) at Burlington (3-1, 1-1)