2018 Week 7 High School Football Preview

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As the season hits the home stretch, there are big games in every area conference that will impact the top of the standings. Plus, several more area teams can wrap up playoff spots with wins this week, and there's also some playoff elimination head-to-head match-ups already with three weeks to go in the regular season.

⭐ Big Five Games - Week 7, 2018 ⭐

1. 📈 Lake Mills (5-1, 2-0) at D4 #9 Lakeside Lutheran (5-1, 2-0) - Capitol North

2. Edgerton (5-1) at D3 #9 East Troy (5-1) - Rock Valley

3. 📈 Janesville Craig (5-1) at Middleton (4-2) - Big 8

4. 📈 Watertown (5-1, 4-0) at Stoughton (5-1, 3-1) - Badger South

5. 📈 Cambridge (6-0, 1-0) at Belleville (5-1, 1-1) - Capitol South

Honorable Mention: 📈 Verona (4-2) at Madison La Follette (3-3) (🔊 Madison Taxi Game of the Week); Reedsburg (4-2, 2-2) at D2 #1 Waunakee (6-0, 4-0); 📈 Jefferson (4-2) at Beloit Turner (4-2); 📈  Platteville (5-1, 1-1) at Prairie du Chien (5-1, 2-0); D7 #2 Bangor (6-0, 3-0) at D7 #10 Potosi/Cassville (4-2, 4-2); 📈  8P #5 Gibraltar  (5-1) at 8P #7 Oakfield (5-1).

📈 = Playoff Implications

Big 8 (Rankings are WSN Coaches Poll)

📈 Janesville Craig (5-1) at Middleton (4-2): The Big 8 championship goes through Middleton the next two weeks, as the Cardinals will host the Cougars and then Sun Prairie next week. It's going to be an exciting battle in the trenches with Middleton's line trying to contain Craig's Keeanu Benton, while the Cougars and Cardinals will both run their outstanding running backs 20-30 times against talented defenses in what should be a strength-on-strength contest.

📈 Verona (4-2) at Madison La Follette (3-3): (🔊 Madison Taxi Game of the Week) Both teams are very young, starting tons of juniors or even sophomores this year, and that means that things can be a bit unpredictable at times. Both teams had vastly different results last week, as Verona upended previously-unbeaten Madison Memorial while La Follette was drubbed by Sun Prairie. Still, it'll be a match-up of two of the best backs in the area, with Verona's Haakon Anderson against La Follette's Kayvion James-Ragland. [🔊 Verona Coach Dave Richardson] [🔊 Madison La Follette Coach Scott Swanson]

Madison East (1-5) at D1 #8 Sun Prairie (5-1): Madison East's schedule continues to be difficult in the later stages, with a game still remaining against Verona yet later in the year. Sun Prairie demolished La Follette last week, but will be looking to keep their five-game winning streak alive with a win prior to the big match-up with Middleton in Week 8. A loss for Madison East eliminates them from playoff contention.

Beloit Memorial (1-5) at Madison Memorial (5-1): Madison Memorial will probably be a little frustrated by the loss to Verona last week, and that could mean a big bounce-back game against Beloit Memorial, as the Purple Knights are on the verge of playoff elimination in this one, and would be eliminated with a loss.

Madison West (2-4) at Janesville Parker (0-6): Madison West will need a win here plus one more to have a shot at the playoffs--no easy task since they face conference-leading Janesville Craig and Sun Prairie in the final two weeks. Parker has been eliminated from playoff contention.

📈 Playoff Implications: Madison Memorial, Sun Prairie, and Janesville Craig have clinched a playoff spot. Janesville Parker has been eliminated from playoff contention. Verona and Middleton, although likely already in, can clinch a playoff spot with wins in their games. Madison La Follette can likely get into the playoffs with one more win. Madison East and Beloit Memorial would be eliminated from playoff contention with a loss.

Badger North (Rankings are WSN Coaches Poll)

Reedsburg (4-2, 2-2) at D2 #1 Waunakee (6-0, 4-0): Waunakee won't see another team with a winning record after this week until the playoffs, and neither will Reedsburg. Still, this is important on a number of fronts. It'll give the Warriors something new to prepare for this week, since the Beavers' flexbone offense is fairly unique to the Badger Conference. Meanwhile, Reedsburg will have to find ways to score points against the Warriors' defense, which has given up 19 points total in six games. [🔊 Waunakee Coach Pat Rice]

📈 DeForest (4-2, 3-1) at Beaver Dam (2-4, 1-3): If Beaver Dam can control the line of scrimmage and pick apart the Norskies for big plays, that would keep them from being on the wrong side of the playoff bubble. DeForest has been rolling since losing to Waunakee in Week 3, and with Mount Horeb/Barneveld coming up next, it would be in the Norskies' favor to clinch a playoff spot here. Of the 45 points DeForest has allowed in Badger North play, 31 of them were to Waunakee, and 14 of those were later in the fourth quarter as the Warriors salted the game away.

📈 Portage (0-6, 0-4) at D3 #5 Mount Horeb/Barneveld (5-1, 3-1): Portage would be eliminated with a loss from playoff contention while Mount Horeb/Barneveld would clinch a playoff spot with a win. Portage has struggled to contain offenses this year, getting rolled for 196 points in four conference games. Mount Horeb/Barneveld is putting up 34 points per Badger North outing, but that's including the beatdown they took against Waunakee.

Sauk Prairie (1-5, 1-3) at Baraboo (2-4, 2-2): There's some playoff stakes here: Sauk Prairie won't be able to clinch a playoff spot with a loss, while Baraboo, with Waunakee and Reedsburg up after this one, needs to get a win to get back on track towards a playoff spot. The Thunderbirds have the conference's third-best scoring defense, but the gap from third to second in the league is the same as from the third to the seventh.

📈 Playoff Implications: Waunakee has clinched a playoff spot. DeForest and Mount Horeb/Barneveld clinch playoff spots with wins. While 3-4 may not get a team into the playoffs, Baraboo and Reedsburg can get their third conference win this week. Portage will be eliminated from playoff contention with a loss. Sauk Prairie and Beaver Dam, with a loss, would no longer be able to clinch a playoff spot.

Badger South (Rankings are WSN Coaches Poll)

📈 Watertown (5-1, 4-0) at Stoughton (5-1, 3-1): The Badger South pecking order gets decided in the next few weeks, and this is the first of a few high-profile Badger South showdowns. Stoughton's humbling loss last week could be a positive, since it pulled the bandaids off of a couple of big issues for the Vikings the past few weeks: finishing drives and losing the turnover battle (something they normally win). Meanwhile, Watertown's lone loss was to Waunakee by 30, but they've out-scored the four Badger South opponents they've had by an average of 25 points per game. Stoughton would clinch a playoff spot with a win.

D2 #5 Monona Grove (6-0, 4-0) at Milton (2-4, 1-3): Milton's season is on the brink while Monona Grove continues to work towards yet another Badger South title. The Silver Eagles have been getting it done with some good defensive work, but especially great line play, which seems to be the constant in the area this year for the teams that are at the top of the standings. Milton did bring back some talent up front, so this could be a good challenge for them.

📈 Oregon (4-2, 3-1) at Edgewood (2-4, 1-3): A rivalry renewed. For the second straight week, the Oregon Panthers will face a big rival of theirs, and after a Homecoming win over Stoughton, they'll have to take care of the frisky Crusaders, who are playing great defense this year with a shutout already to their credit. Oregon would clinch a playoff spot with a win.

Fort Atkinson (0-6, 0-4) at Monroe (0-6, 0-4): One of these teams will get their first win of the season and keep their slim playoff hopes alive, while the other will be eliminated from playoff consideration and start playing for next year. Both teams are fairly young and have smaller varsity rosters than their Badger South brethren, so a win here could be good momentum for the players sticking it out through a tough season.

📈 Playoff Implications: Monona Grove and Watertown have clinched playoff spots. Stoughton and Oregon can clinch playoff spots with wins. The losing team in Fort Atkinson and Monroe is eliminated from postseason consideration.

Capitol North (Rankings are WSN Coaches Poll)

📈 Lake Mills (5-1, 2-0) at D4 #9 Lakeside Lutheran (5-1, 2-0): The Battle for Lake Mills will also give the winning team a pass to the playoffs, and keep the winning team in the hunt for a conference title. Lake Mills has figured some things out on offense to go with an already-solid defense, while Lakeside has been strong all season, including in their lone loss to Lake Country Lutheran. Both teams have played difficult schedules to this point. This one will be one of the biggest games in the state in Week 7. [🔊 Lake Mills Coach Dan Ferkovich]

📈 D4 #2 Lodi (6-0, 2-0) at Columbus (1-5, 0-2): Until the last couple of years, this was a game on par with just about any rivalry game in the state, with huge stakes and usually a precursor to a Level 3 run. This year, Lodi will try to extend their state-long winning streak and clinch a playoff spot in the process, while this game is Columbus' season. A loss means no playoffs for the Cardinals.

Poynette (4-2, 0-2) at Luther Prep (3-3, 0-2): Speaking of this being the season, expect a playoff-type atmosphere in Watertown for this one. The losing team can no longer clinch a playoff spot, and two weeks ago that seemed unfathomable given that these squads were a combined 7-1 after Week 4. Luther Prep is big and physical and Poynette likes to control the pace with a good ground game and sound defense.

📈 Playoff Implications: The winner of Lake Mills and Lakeside Lutheran clinches a playoff spot. Lodi clinches a playoff spot with a win. Columbus is eliminated from postseason consideration with a loss. The losing team between Poynette and Luther Prep can no longer make the playoffs.

Capitol South (Rankings are WSN Coaches Poll)

📈  Cambridge (6-0, 1-0) at Belleville (5-1, 1-1): Much like last year's game, conference title implications are all over this one, as well as playoff ramifications for both. Cambridge has looked strong in taking on solid competition this year, led by all-state caliber players in the backfield and on defense. Belleville, meanwhile, has a road-grader front and some outstanding two-way players leading the charge for them. Should be one of the better games in the area on Friday. Both teams are playing for playoff eligibility with a win. A loss for Belleville means they can't clinch a playoff spot. [🔊 Cambridge Coach Mike Klingbeil]

📈  Marshall (2-4, 1-0) at Waterloo (0-6, 0-2): Lots on the line for both. Waterloo can't make the playoffs with a loss, while Marshall will be playoff-eligible with a win. Marshall's defense got the job done last week in a win over NG/M, and they'll need another solid outing to (likely) put themselves into the playoffs.

New Glarus/Monticello (2-4, 1-1) at Iowa-Grant (2-4, 2-2) - Non-Conference: NG/M won this game last year 26-14, part of a late-season swoon by Iowa-Grant as they also lost close games to both Mineral Point and Darlington before rallying and advancing all the way to Level 2 of the playoffs. However, Iowa-Grant graduated plenty of production from a year ago, and the Knights are bringing back some of their top players from the past two seasons, so even as a non-conference road game, it sets up as mildly intriguing given that the records are even and the teams are familiar with one another.

📈 Playoff Implications: Cambridge, Belleville, and Marshall can all become playoff-eligible with a win. Waterloo is eliminated with a loss. Belleville won't be able to clinch a playoff spot with a loss.

Rock Valley (Rankings are WSN Coaches Poll)

Edgerton (5-1) at D3 #9 East Troy (5-1): Another big-time big game in the Rock Valley, Edgerton's rapid ascension will get a big test with East Troy and their big ground game this week. In what could be one of the highest-scoring games in the state this week, the winner will stay a game back of McFarland should they slip up against the weaker part of their schedule, but more importantly give one of these teams a leg up in D3 seeding meetings should they be placed in the same pod.

📈 Jefferson (4-2) at Beloit Turner (4-2): The undercard is still a big battle as both teams are fighting to clinch a playoff spot, and for Jefferson, wins now are critical because going in as a 5-4, 6-3 team at best would put them on the road against one of D3's best teams come playoff time, while a 7-2 finish could get them a more favorable Level 1 match-up. Beloit Turner lost by two to McFarland, and then by a bucket of points to Edgerton. This could be another exciting game in the RVC.

D3 #3 McFarland (6-0) at Clinton (1-5): This year's conference leader meets last year's conference champion in a game that could mark the official passing of the torch. Clinton graduated an outstanding senior class a year ago, and while a loss would eliminate them from the playoffs, the Cougars have done well under first-year coach Jacob Sandiford in terms of being competitive with younger or inexperienced players.

Brodhead/Juda (2-4) at Whitewater (1-5): If Brodhead/Juda wants to make the playoffs, the first step is to snap a four-game losing streak against a team that snapped their own long losing streak last year with a win, Whitewater.

Evansville/Albany (0-6) at Big Foot (2-4): The Chiefs have playoff aspirations, but they'll need to win the next two weeks to get there. Evansville/Albany has pride to play for now that the playoffs are out of reach, but they've been in some absolute battles again this year.

📈 Playoff Implications: McFarland, East Troy, and Edgerton have clinched playoff spots. Jefferson and Beloit Turner's winner will clinch a playoff spot, although both have four wins and are likely in. Whitewater and Clinton are eliminated from playoff contention with losses. Brodhead/Juda and Big Foot can no longer clinch a playoff spot with a loss. Evansville/Albany is eliminated.

More Southern Wisconsin Games (Rankings are WSN Coaches Poll)

Trailways-Small: 📈 Lourdes (5-1, 3-1) at Cambria-Friesland (3-3, 3-1) is for a playoff spot this week. The winning team also stays within a game of the conference lead... 📈 Deerfield (1-5, 1-3) at D7 #9 Fall River (5-1, 3-1) has plenty at stake for both schools. Deerfield is eliminated from playoff contention (most likely) with a loss, while Fall River clinches a playoff spot with a win... D7 #5 Johnson Creek (6-0, 4-0) at Randolphy (3-3, 2-2) is a solid conference match-up. Johnson Creek Coach Tim Wagner was named the Packers Coach of the Week this past week.

Trailways-Large: For our lone area team, 📈 Horicon/Hustisford (5-1, 3-0) at Parkview (0-4, 0-3) represents a last chance for the Vikings to stay in the playoff hunt, but Parkview will have to take down the conference-leading Marshmen to get it done. Horicon/Hustisford clinches a playoff spot with a win.

Southwestern: It only takes three wins to get in out of this conference, so 📈  Platteville (5-1, 1-1) at Prairie du Chien (5-1, 2-0) has playoff implications since PdC can clinch a playoff spot with a victory. 

SWAL: See the Capitol South section for more on Iowa-Grant at New Glarus/Monticello... D6 #4 Fennimore (6-0, 4-0) will host Boscobel (0-6, 0-3) in an elimination game for the Bulldogs... The game of the week in this conference is 📈 D6 #5 Mineral Point (5-1, 3-0) at Cuba City (3-3, 3-1), with the winner clinching a playoff spot... Darlington (1-5, 0-3) at Southwestern (1-5, 0-3) is an elimination game.

Six Rivers: After wrapping up a playoff spot last Saturday in a win over Belmont, D7 #3 Black Hawk (5-0, 4-0) will host River Ridge (2-4, 2-2) this week... D6 #6 Pecatonica/Argyle (5-1, 4-1) hosts Shullsburg (2-4, 1-4) on Saturday... and D7 #10 Potosi/Cassville (4-2, 4-2) has a huge non-conference match-up with D7 #2 Bangor (6-0, 3-0) this Friday, as Potosi/Cassville's only losses are to other ranked teams in D6 and D7 from the Six Rivers.

Ridge & Valley: 📈 D6 #7 Wauzeka-Steuben/Seneca (6-0, 3-0) at Belmont (0-6, 0-5) is a non-conference game for the only ranked team in the league... 📈 Ithaca (4-2, 3-0) can clinch a playoff spot with a win over Riverdale (3-2, 2-2).

South Central: 📈 Mauston (5-1) can clinch a playoff spot by beating Westfield (0-6, 0-2).

Great 8 (8-Player): This week's offerings include 📈 #5 Gibraltar  (5-1) at #7 Oakfield (5-1) in what could be essentially a playoff game in its own right, as the two teams are in a three-way tie for the final playoff spot... Meanwhile, Phillips (2-4) is at #10 Wisconsin Heights (4-2).

*each Great 8 team (Wisconsin Heights, Oakfield, Elkhart Lake/Glenbeulah, and Port Edwards) gains two additional wins due to forfeits by Abundant Life/St. Ambrose. Those are not factored into the records above.

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