2018 Week 8 High School Football Preview

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There are several conference title scenarios in play this week, from the logjam atop the Big 8 to a possible outright champion in the SWAL, and plenty in-between as teams jockey for playoff positioning and perhaps an outside shot at a piece of a conference title. Here's our Madison-area Week 8 high school football preview.

⭐ Big Five Games - Week 8, 2018 ⭐

1. D1 #8 Sun Prairie (6-1) at Middleton (5-2)

2. D6 #4 Fennimore (7-0, 5-0) at D6 #5 Mineral Point (6-1, 4-0)

3. 📈 D5 #9 Cambridge (7-0, 2-0) at Marshall (3-4, 2-0)

4. Oregon (5-2, 4-1) at Watertown (6-1, 5-0)

5. D3 #4 Mount Horeb/Barneveld (6-1, 4-1) at DeForest (5-2, 4-1)

Honorable Mention

📈 = Playoff Implications

Big 8 (Rankings are WSN Coaches Poll)

D1 #8 Sun Prairie (6-1) at Middleton (5-2): Our Madison Taxi Game of the Week, the Battle of the Cardinals will have major conference title implications. Sun Prairie clinches a share of the Big 8 title with a win and a Madison Memorial loss, while Middleton can thrust themselves back into the Big 8 title discussion if they can find a way to slow down red-hot Sun Prairie, winners of six in a row.

📈 Madison West (3-4) at Janesville Craig (5-2): A massively important game for both teams. West needs a win to get into the playoffs, and with Sun Prairie looming next week, this is arguably the more "winnable" game. The Regents will have to contend with a very talented Janesville Craig line on both sides, and playmakers in the secondary as well. Craig can stay a game back of the conference leaders in the Big 8, and will have a shot at one of them in Week 9, Madison Memorial, to possibly put them in a position to share a conference crown.

📈 Madison La Follette (3-4) at Madison East (1-6): The Lussier Cup is a big game for La Follette. A win likely puts them in the playoffs, even if they don't beat Middleton to clinch a spot in Week 9. After battling hard but losing to Verona, the Lancers will take on the young but improving Purgolders.

D1 #10 Verona (5-2) at Beloit Memorial (1-6): Verona's been on a roll the past two weeks, and as their health improves late in the year, it sets the Wildcats up for a two-week run against two teams that won't be in the playoffs this year. Beloit Memorial's playoff hopes are dashed, but the Purple Knights can still play for a win or two to mark slow but steady progress from the Big 8 cellar towards a playoff push in 2019.

Janesville Parker (0-7) at Madison Memorial (6-1): Both teams are at opposite ends of the conference spectrum. Memorial can clinch a share of the Big 8 title with a victory on Friday night and a Sun Prairie loss, while Parker will try to get their first win against one of the Memorials to close out the season (Beloit next week).

📈 Playoff Implications: Madison Memorial, Sun Prairie, Janesville Craig, Middleton, and Verona have clinched a playoff spot. Janesville Parker, Madison East, and Beloit Memorial have been eliminated from playoff contention. Madison La Follette and Madison West need to each win one of their final two games to (likely) get into the playoffs, and win their final two to clinch a playoff spot.

Badger North (Rankings are WSN Coaches Poll)

D3 #4 Mount Horeb/Barneveld (6-1, 4-1) at DeForest (5-2, 4-1): Both teams have clinched playoff spots, but the winner stays still a game back of Waunakee and also builds their playoff resume. MH/B passes a little bit better, and DeForest has a pretty strong running back to counter what the Vikings bring to the table, but both defenses have been great at times and this appears to be one of the area's best match-ups this week.

📈 Baraboo (3-4, 3-2) at D1 #1 Waunakee (7-0, 5-0): Waunakee can clinch a share of the Badger North with a win, while Baraboo can clinch a playoff spot with a victory of their own. Waunakee will have to face yet another top-notch running back this week in Mike Wech, and also contend with top-notch tight end Caden Blum.

📈 Reedsburg (4-3, 2-3) at Portage (0-7, 0-5): Reedsburg's playoff push begins here. With two non-conference wins in the Badger Crossover games, the Beavers are in a good position to make the playoffs even if they lose one of their final two games, but why take that chance? Portage is searching for wins this year, but this will be a tough week to accomplish that.

Beaver Dam (2-5, 1-4) at Sauk Prairie (1-6, 1-4): The losing team is eliminated from playoff contention, while the winning team can dream a little longer, since a 3-4 record has a small chance of getting in to the playoffs this year.

📈 Playoff Implications: Waunakee, DeForest, and Mount Horeb/Barneveld have clinched a playoff spot. Portage has been eliminated from playoff contention. Baraboo has earned a third win, putting them on the playoff bubble at the moment. They'll have to beat Waunakee or Reedsburg to clinch a spot. Reedsburg needs to win out to clinch a playoff spot. The losing team between Sauk Prairie and Beaver Dam is eliminated.

Badger South (Rankings are WSN Coaches Poll)

📈 Stoughton (5-2, 3-1) at D2 #4 Monona Grove (7-0, 5-0): Last year, this game decided the Badger South champ. This year, it still might, but Stoughton has dropped two in a row after starting the season on a five-game winning streak, albeit against sub-.500 competition. Monona Grove's defense has been playing lights out. Can they slow down a Stoughton offense that can move the ball even against good defenses? Stoughton clinches a playoff spot with a win.

Oregon (5-2, 4-1) at Watertown (6-1, 5-0): The Badger South has two loaded match-ups this week, and this one is probably the more fascinating of the two given that Oregon's already played a rugged schedule, including Monona Grove, but Watertown hasn't exactly had it easy either, suffering a loss to Waunakee. On the field, Oregon's defense will be the key against a Goslings offense that can score from anywhere.

Monroe (1-6, 1-4) at Edgewood (2-5, 1-4): The losing team is eliminated from playoff contention. Both teams have very slim playoff hopes, but they need to keep them alive.

Milton (2-5, 1-4) at Fort Atkinson (0-7, 0-5): Like Monroe and Edgewood, Milton's fleeting playoff hopes are at stake against winless Fort Atkinson, a short drive down 26.

📈 Playoff Implications: Monona Grove, Oregon, and Watertown have clinched playoff spots. Fort Atkinson has been eliminated. Stoughton can clinch a playoff spot with a win. The loser of Monroe and Edgewood will be eliminated, and if Milton loses, they would also be eliminated.

Capitol North (Rankings are WSN Coaches Poll)

📈 Lake Mills (5-2, 2-1) at D4 #2 Lodi (7-0, 5-0): Lodi survived an upset bid last week, and they'll get another strong candidate to end their streak this week when Lake Mills arrives fresh off of a loss to their cross-street rival. Lodi has been solid but unspectacular thus far, while Lake Mills has had two games against difficult competition without finding consistent offense, and five games where things seemed to be moving in the right direction, especially in the pass game. Lake Mills can clinch a playoff spot with a win.

Luther Prep (4-3, 1-2) at Columbus (1-6, 0-3): Luther Prep needs a win to keep their playoff hopes alive. Columbus will have a chance to prove their mettle against a playoff hopeful again this week.

Poynette (4-3, 0-3) at D4 #9 Lakeside Lutheran (6-1, 3-0): Poynette has lost three straight after starting 4-0, and now can't make the playoffs. In the spoiler role the rest of the way, the task will be tall against a Warriors squad that will be challenging Lodi in Week 9 for a conference title. In the meantime though, this is a match-up of two pretty good defenses.

📈 Playoff Implications: Lodi and Lakeside Lutheran have clinched playoff spots. Poynette and Columbus have been eliminated. Lake Mills clinches a playoff spot with a win, while Luther Prep is eliminated with a loss.

Capitol South (Rankings are WSN Coaches Poll)

📈 D5 #9 Cambridge (7-0, 2-0) at Marshall (3-4, 2-0): The winning team clinches both a share of the conference title and a playoff spot. Marshall's offense has been big in spots this year, and they'll need to find some of that playmaking against a Cambridge squad that has some big-time talent at key two-way positions. After a 1-4 non-conference season, Marshall has rallied back to not only likely make the playoffs, but is now playing for a league title to boot.

📈 Waterloo (0-7, 0-3) at New Glarus/Monticello (3-4, 1-1): NG/M becomes playoff-eligible with a win. Waterloo is looking for their first victory of the season, after nearly getting it last week.

Cuba City (3-4, 3-2) at Belleville (5-2, 1-2): Both teams suffered frustrating losses to teams clinching playoff berths last week, and they'll have this week to take it out on each other and add to a potential playoff resume as they square off in non-conference play.

📈 Playoff Implications: Cambridge and Marshall are both playoff-eligible, and the winner of their game clinches a playoff spot as well as a share of the Capitol South title. Waterloo has been eliminated. New Glarus/Monticello becomes playoff-eligible with a win.

Rock Valley (Rankings are WSN Coaches Poll)

East Troy (5-2) at Jefferson (5-2): The last stage of sorting out the pecking order in the conference at the top, it'll be power on power, strength on strength as each team asserts themselves ahead of the Division 3 playoffs. A win here might move a team closer to a home playoff game.

📈  Big Foot (3-4) at Brodhead/Juda (2-5): Brodhead/Juda's playoff hopes likely ended last week with a loss to Whitewater, but to keep them alive, they'll have to snap a five-game losing streak against Big Foot. The Chiefs are a win away from a likely playoff berth, and two wins away from clinching a playoff spot.

📈  Clinton (1-6) at Turner (4-3): Turner can clinch a playoff spot with a win over Clinton. The short drive marks a game that was much different a year ago, as the upstart Trojans battled hard against the eventual conference champion Clinton Cougars. Now, Clinton is playing for pride while Turner needs a win to clinch a spot, although they are likely already in.

Whitewater (2-5) at D4 #10 Edgerton (6-1): Whitewater has won two in a row, while Edgerton has won six in a row. One of those streaks ends on Friday night.

D3 #3 McFarland (7-0) at Evansville/Albany (0-7): Speaking of streaks, how about these teams going in polar opposite directions. McFarland can clinch a share of a conference title with a win this week.

📈 Playoff Implications: McFarland, East Troy, Jefferson, and Edgerton have clinched playoff spots. Turner can clinch a playoff spot with a win. Big Foot can get a fourth win and get likely on to the postseason with a victory. Whitewater and Brodhead/Juda will be eliminated with losses. Clinton and Evansville/Albany are eliminated.

More Southern Wisconsin Games (Rankings are WSN Coaches Poll)

Trailways-Small: Lourdes Academy (7-1, 5-1) 42, D7 #5 Johnson Creek (6-1, 5-1) 41 ... 📈 Cambria-Friesland (3-4, 3-2) at D7 #9 Fall River (6-1, 4-1): Cambria-Friesland can clinch a playoff spot with a win, while Fall River can jump into a three-way tie for the conference lead entering the final week.

Trailways-Large: 📈 Pardeeville (4-3, 2-2) at Horicon/Hustisford (6-1, 4-0): Horicon/Hustisford can get a share of the conference title with a win, while Pardeeville can become playoff-eligible with a victory.

Southwestern: 📈 D5 #10 Prairie du Chien (6-1, 3-0) at Lancaster (5-2, 2-1): Prairie du Chien can clinch a share of the conference title with a win, while Lancaster clinches a playoff spot with a victory... 📈 River Valley (5-2, 2-1) at Richland Center (1-6, 0-3): River Valley clinches a playoff spot with a win.

SWAL: See the Capitol South section for Cuba City at Belleville ... D6 #4 Fennimore (7-0, 5-0) at D6 #5 Mineral Point (6-1, 4-0) is for the SWAL title. Fennimore would win outright, while Mineral Point would clinch at least a share... 📈 Iowa-Grant (2-5, 2-2) at Darlington (2-5, 1-3): Iowa-Grant becomes playoff-eligible with a win.

Six Rivers: D7 #2 Black Hawk (6-0, 5-0) at Highland (4-3, 2-3): Black Hawk clinches a share of the conference title with a win, while Highland can inch closer to a playoff spot with a win... D6 #6 Pecatonica Argyle (6-1, 5-1) at River Ridge (2-5, 2-3): Like Highland, River Ridge can inch closer to a playoff spot with a win... Belmont (1-6, 0-5) at D7 #7 Potosi/Cassville (5-2, 4-2): P/C is coming off of a huge win over Bangor.

Ridge & Valley: D6 #7 Wauzeka-Steuben/Seneca (7-0, 4-0) at Ithaca (5-2, 4-0): (Saturday) This is for a share of the conference title... De Soto (6-2, 4-1) 44, Wonewoc Center/Weston (0-7, 0-4) 0.

South Central: 📈 Wisconsin Dells (3-4, 2-1) at Wautoma (4-3, 2-1): The winner clinches a playoff spot.

Great 8 (8-Player): Port Edwards (2-5) at Oakfield (6-1) ... Wisconsin Heights (5-1) at Phillips (3-4).

*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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