Game Recap: Sun Prairie (2-0) 34, Middleton (1-1) 6
Sun Prairie, Wis. - On a room-temperature evening at Ashley Field, two longtime rivals met in an early-season match-up to help decide the early course of the Big Eight picture.
Sun Prairie landed the first punch, with Bryce McKenzie breaking off a 62-yard touchdown run to make it 7-0 only 31 seconds into the game. Middleton did answer, after they earned their second blocked punt in two weeks, with a tipped pass caught for a touchdown by Cole Ragsdale, to trim the deficit to 7-6.
Special teams again would factor in as the Sun Prairie Cardinals were able to convert field goals from 48 and 36 yards by Alex Oakley, rated as the #4 kicker in the senior class in the state of Wisconsin by WisSports.net. Those points gave Sun Prairie a 13-6 lead at the break.
Defense was a big factor in the second half, when Sun Prairie was able to force three interceptions down the stretch, and also was able to recover a late fumble to boot. Sun Prairie scored 21 points in the second half to win going away, 34-6, with fantastic efforts from their top three defenders. Josh Dinga had a pair of sacks and lived in the Middleton backfield all game long. Marty Strey had a pick-six, and Kadon Kauppinen added an interception at a critical juncture of the third quarter to help Sun Prairie pour it on against Middleton.
You can listen to the full broadcast below.
Offensive Player of the Game: Sun Prairie RB Bryce McKenzie - 17 carries, 171 yards, 1 touchdown
Defensive Player of the Game: Sun Prairie DE Josh Dinga - 2 sacks
Scholar-Athlete of the Game: Sun Prairie DE/LB Marty Strey - 1 int returned for a TD, Honor Roll
Play of the Game: McKenzie's burst to start the game from 62 yards out on the second play from scrimmage
Next Week: Middleton (1-1) vs West (2-0); Sun Prairie (2-0) vs Craig (1-1)
Sun Prairie 34, Middleton 6 (see above): Sun Prairie used a dominating defense to pull away in the second half after leading by 13-6 at halftime, forcing four turnovers.
Madison West 21, Madison Memorial 7: The Regents win the Burt Hable Clipboard, scoring twice in the second half to win.
Verona 30, Beloit Memorial 8: Verona's defense kept the Purple Knights in check. The Wildcats stay tied atop the conference.
Madison La Follette 30, Janesville Parker 0: La Follette led 24-0 at halftime and shut out the Vikings to improve to 2-0 and stay tied for first place.
Janesville Craig 42, Madison East 6: New Cougars coach Adam Bunderson gets his first win as a varsity head coach in a rout of the Purgolders.
Madison La Follette 2-0
Madison West 2-0
Sun Prairie 2-0
Janesville Craig 1-1
Beloit Memorial 0-2
Janesville Parker 0-2
Madison East 0-2
Madison Memorial 0-2
Next Week (all games on Thursday):
Madison West (2-0) at Middleton (1-1): A huge early game for both teams, Madison West could assert itself as a Big Eight team on the rise with a win over the injury-depleted Middleton Cardinals, who kept it within a score for two quarters-plus against Sun Prairie before faltering late last week.
Janesville Craig (1-1) at Sun Prairie (2-0): After the raucous atmosphere at Ashley Field in week two, can the Cardinals find the gear they reached in the second half of their game against Middleton against a young Janesville Craig team that is coming off of a lopsided win over Madison East?
Verona (2-0) at Madison Memorial 0-2): Our Madison Taxi Game of the Week takes us to Mansfield Stadium for a crucial early-season game between the Wildcats and Spartans. Can Verona's defense continue to lead the way, or will Memorial dig out of an early-season hole and jump back into the Big Eight fray?
Beloit Memorial (0-2) at Madison La Follette (2-0): Beloit Memorial got on the board against Verona late, their first points of the season. They'll get a chance this week against La Follette to improve upon their building momentum towards a mark in the win column, something that has eluded them since 2003 in Big Eight play.
Madison East (0-2) at Janesville Parker (0-2): Both teams are looking for consistency and one will come away with its first win of the season. They are both also trying to replace a majority of their starting lineups from last season.
Badger North and Badger South (final week of crossover games)
Waunakee 63, Watertown 0: Well, this was billed to be a big area match-up this week, but Waunakee's defense still hasn't allowed a point in 2017, shutting down the Gosling's spread attack to move to 2-0.
Mount Horeb/Barneveld 49, Oregon 20: The Vikings got another 49-20 win, this time over Oregon, who managed to get on the board relatively early before Mount Horeb/Barneveld cruised as the game approached halftime, when they led 35-7.
DeForest 27, Monroe 7: One of the eyebrow-raising scores tonight was the Norskies taking apart the defending Badger South champions one week after getting beat by ten against Oregon. Monroe is trying to replace much of its 2016 production.
Monona Grove 49, Portage 14: Alec Ogden spread it around, completing nine passes with four touchdowns to four different receivers, in a rout of Portage, still rebuilding under new head coach Bob Hepp.
Milton 27, Reedsbug 19: Perennial powers Milton and Reedsburg battled it out in a game close all throughout, with the Red Hawks getting a big win heading into Badger South play. Reedsburg, meanwhile, is still looking for win #1.
Fort Atkinson 37, Beaver Dam 19: The Blackhawks seem to have found their running game, one week after getting blown out by Waunakee. Beaver Dam traded blows early in this game but Fort Atkinson pulled away after a 24-12 halftime lead.
Sauk Prairie 26, Edgewood 7: A big first win for the Eagles this year as they make strides under interim coach (and former head coach) Scott Schutt.
Stoughton 33, Baraboo 14: So far, so good for the Vikings, who will enter conference play at 2-0. For the Thunderbirds, they will have played two of the better teams in the Badger South, so Baraboo will have been through the grind early on as they look for a first victory.
(Overall records; conference play begins next week)
Mount Horeb/Barneveld 2-0
Sauk Prairie 1-1
Beaver Dam 0-2
Monona Grove 2-0
Fort Atkinson 1-1
Week 3 (Games on Friday) - Conference Play Begins
Waunakee (2-0) at Mount Horeb/Barneveld (2-0): Our second Madison Taxi Game of the Week pits the two lone undefeated teams in the Badger North. Last year, this was a one-score win for Waunakee. The teams bring back a combined 28 all-conference players from last year. Waunakee has outscored opponents 112-0 thus far while MH/B has a 98-40 advantage.
DeForest (1-1) at Reedsburg (0-2): Both playoff teams from a year ago, a win here would be a critical notch in the belt to get to four wins and playoff eligibility.
Sauk Prairie (1-1) at Portage (0-2): Likewise, the path to four wins starts here for each school. Two veteran head coaches go at it in what could be an entertaining evening.
Baraboo (0-2) at Beaver Dam (0-2): One of these teams will get that first win out of the way and be 25% of the way to a playoff berth when the night is complete.
Monona Grove (2-0) at Oregon (1-1): How much did Oregon's experience in their two games against 2016 playoff teams to open the year help the team grow? Their secondary will be tested against the powerful Silver Eagles spread attack.
Monroe (1-1) at Milton (2-0): Milton is only two years removed from a perch atop the Badger South, while Monroe won it in undefeated fashion last year. Is Milton back, or will Monroe begin another run?
Fort Atkinson (1-1) at Watertown (1-1): Each team had solid wins against Beaver Dam, but were blown out (and shut out) against Waunakee. Will it be Fort Atkinson's ground game or Watertown's aerial assault that takes this Badger South-opening contest?
Edgewood (0-2) at Stoughton (2-0): Stoughton is dreaming big this season, but they'll have to get it started against the Crusaders, who have struggled a bit to start the year.
Capitol North and Capitol South (non-conference and crossover games)
Lodi 35, Wisconsin Dells 0 (Thursday): Lodi used its outstanding defense to shut out Wisconsin Dells on the road.
Platteville 41, Columbus 34: A very intriguing non-conference game, Platteville rallied to take down the Cardinals.
Poynette 48, Adams/Friendship 18: The Pumas took out some frustration on Adams/Friendship, who are now 0-3 since starting last year 9-0.
Luther Prep 35, Kettle Moraine Lutheran 12: Another tune-up for the Phoenix, they are quietly building their case for a playoff spot in non-conference play, ensuring that the Capitol North will be as deep as it will be fun each week later this year.
Elkhorn 32, Lakeside Lutheran 31: A little under the radar, this non-conference game featured a pair of playoff hopefuls.
Lake Mills 42, New Glarus/Monticello 21: One of the more-anticipated area match-ups saw Lake Mills continue their early-season dominance of Capitol South opponents, as they double up the Glarner Knights.
Belleville 45, Boscobel 12: 45 years after the State Line League Championship, Belleville gets a win over the Bulldogs to stay unbeaten.
Cambridge 49, Deerfield 6: The Blue Jays rout Deerfield to remain unblemished in the loss column.
Waterloo 6, Palmyra/Eagle 0: Sometimes, you only need one score to win. Palmyra/Eagle kept up the pressure late but Waterloo holds on.
Marshall 36, Parkview 31: An immensely entertaining game came down to the final drive, but Marshall got an interception to seal a last-minute win over Parkview for their first win of the season.
Lake Mills 2-0
Luther Prep 2-0
Lakeside Lutheran 1-1
New Glarus/Monticello 1-1
Week 3 (Non-conference and crossover games)
Lake Mills (2-0) at Mauston (1-1) (Thursday): Mauston is fresh off of a 35-14 shellacking of Laconia, but will have to find a way to slow down the L-Cats if they hope to get a Thursday night victory over Lake Mills.
Wisconsin Dells (1-1) at Belleville (2-0) (Thursday): South Central member Wisconsin Dells is coming off of a shutout loss to Lodi, but won't see a letup when they travel to Belleville this week. The Wildcats of Belleville are looking to springboard a winning record last year and their success so far in 2016 into a playoff berth down the road.
Luther Prep (2-0) at St. Mary's Springs (2-0): The Phoenix will see one of the very best teams in the entire state this week when they take on Springs, fresh off their 14-13 win over Amherst in a huge small-school showdown between top-ranked teams in D5 and D6 (Amherst and Springs respectively). Opportunity awaits for Luther Prep, but Springs is a powerhouse.
Nekoosa (0-2) at Lodi (2-0): Another South Central-Capitol North battle features Lodi looking for a 3-0 start to the season against Nekoosa, who lost last week to River Valley 44-8.
Poynette (1-1) at Southwestern (2-0): Southwestern, a D7 team in the SWAL, will get to face a larger school in Poynette. The Pumas shook off a last-second week one loss with a big week two win.
Marian Central Catholic (IL) (1-0) at Columbus (0-2): The Hurricanes took out Division 1 Oak Creek this week 33-25, so the Division 5 Columbus Cardinals are about to have their hands full when they welcome in Marian Central from Illinois.
New Glarus/Monticello (1-1) at Lakeside Lutheran (1-1): Each team suffered a setback last week, but this is still an interesting game. NG/M will try to right the ship with a multi-faceted running attack against Lakeside Lutheran in this crossover battle, while the hosting Lakeside Lutheran team makes its own case to be a team to watch out for come conference play.
Cambridge (2-0) at Horicon/Hustisford (1-0): It will have been a one-week layoff for H/H, but the Trailways Large squad will try to use that rest to their advantage against a resurgent Blue Jays squad that has had a pair of big wins to start the year.
Marshall (1-1) at Adams/Friendship (0-2): It's a South Central foe against a Capitol Conference opponent. This time, the Cardinals look to continue their momentum from a wild week two win against Adams/Friendship, struggling at the start of this season after going 9-0 in the regular season in 2016.
Wautoma (1-1) at Waterloo (2-0): The fifth and final match-up of South Central teams against Capitol Conference opponents, Wautoma lost to Berlin last week while Waterloo survived against Palmyra/Eagle.
East Troy 48, Big Foot 47: Back-to-back cardiac games for the Trojans, they again win a shootout, this time with the high-powered Chiefs of Big Foot. East Troy has now outscored opponents 95-89 in their two victories.
Jefferson 20, Evansville/Albany 13: The Blue Devils were unable to navigate a difficult schedule at the start of their schedule, losing both against Clinton and Jefferson. Meanwhile, the Eagles remain one of four 2-0 teams in the Rock Valley.
Clinton 48, Brodhead/Juda 7: An impressive win for the Cougars over perennial playoff participant Brodhead/Juda.
McFarland 37, Edgerton 14: After falling by five against East Troy in the opener, McFarland saved enough points to wallop Edgerton at home this week.
Turner 49, Whitewater 13: A better result this time out for Turner after some early trouble in week one, the Trojans continue to be a team that most of the rest of the conference figures to be in the mix at the end.
East Troy 2-0
Big Foot 1-1
Clinton (2-0) at Big Foot (1-1): Despite last week's one-point loss, Big Foot is a prime Rock Valley contender. They'll have their chance to show it against conference favorite Clinton in a home game.
Jefferson (2-0) at Brodhead/Juda (0-2): Records can be deceiving. This is not an easy road game for Jefferson. They'll look to their outstanding defense to keep the Cardinals in check here.
Turner (2-0) at Evansville/Albany (0-2): Turner will get a chance to show where they're at in terms of contending if they can dispatch of the defending conference co-champs on the road. The Blue Devils will try to overcome a tough early schedule to notch a first victory here.
East Troy (2-0) at Edgerton (0-2): Edgerton's strength is in the skill positions and underclassmen. East Troy's strength is in some very talented line play and its senior class. This could be yet another high-scoring game for East Troy.
McFarland (1-1) at Whitewater (0-2): For either team to make the playoffs, the path to the postseason starts here. McFarland has been impressive in its first two games, while Whitewater continues to find its way having played two very good opponents to start the year.
8-Player: Games are on Saturday (not included on this Friday recap)
Trailways: Parkview opens up conference play against Pardeeville. The Vikings have had a couple of wild first games to start the year... Johnson Creek will host winless Deerfield next Friday. They play Saturday afternoon against Living Word Lutheran... Wayland Academy will open up their season against Cambria-Friesland.