Oregon (3-2, 2-1) at #9/UR Stoughton (5-0, 3-0) - 6:45pm Friday
Last Year: Stoughton edged Oregon in a defensive struggle, holding on for a 10-7 victory in the final week of the regular season. The Panthers could only muster 158 yards of total offense, including 58 on the ground. You can watch the game here.
Last Week: Stoughton shut out Monroe thanks to a stifling defense that gave up fewer than three yards per play and got 258 rushing yards on 40 attempts in an 18-0 win over last year's Badger South champions... Oregon pulled away from Milton in the second half, getting three touchdowns (two passing) from Cedric Girard and two rushing scores from Kardelle Phillips, in a 41-6 thrashing of the Red Hawks.
Season To Date: Stoughton is at 5-0 and has utilized some big plays to its advantage in an undefeated start to the season. The Vikings are #9 in the coaches' poll for D2. Stoughton was briefly ranked in the AP Large School poll at the beginning of the season... Oregon is 3-2, having scored first in losses to Mount Horeb/Barneveld and Monona Grove, but in each contest gave up 42 points unanswered.
Coaches' Corner: Both teams are playing without one of their top players. Stoughton will miss the services of Jordan DiBenedetto, who was injured two weeks ago and will not be back until late in the basketball season. Oregon, meanwhile, will be minus the services of Brett Wannebo. Each coach has touted the "next man up" mentality, and each team still features a dangerous playmaker in the fold. For Stoughton, that's Brady Schipper, and for Oregon, it's Kardelle Phillips. Both teams play a similar pace-of-play and offensive ideology, with the ground game opening up the pass game. On the other side, Oregon's strengths are in the back half of its defense, featuring John Klus, Ryan Michek, Sam Reynolds, and Matt Kissling at the second level with Jahlil Turner, Nolan Look, and Jack Sommers at the second level. Stoughton's strengths defensively likely reside up front, where they've been able to control the lines and limit the ability of opposing teams to run all season.
Three Keys: 1. Stoughton will need to sustain drives against the Panthers' swarming defense. The Vikings definitely have big-play ability, but Oregon has proven to be adept at swinging the momentum the other way all season long. If Stoughton can control the lines, they should have the ability to nickel-and-dime early as they did last year, then get the big plays in the second half. 2. Oregon's offense can hit the big play, but will be working against a stingy Vikings defense this week. If Oregon can't get to the 250-yard mark, it will be a long night. Portage was able to put up some points in the opener against the Vikings, thanks to good work on the ground in rolling up 325 yards and scoring 28 points. Since then, Stoughton has given up 255 yards (14 points), 102 (0), 7 points to Milton (yardage totals not available), and 170 (6). 3. In the battle of special teams, Sam McHone kicks for Stoughton, but has missed a pair of extra points this season. His made field goals are 23 and 24 yards... for Oregon, Jack Haufle has made a 24-yard field goal and is 14-17 on extra points. Last year's game was decided by a field goal. If one comes in this game, it will be when an offense stalls inside the 10.
Five Players To Watch: With Brett Wannebo out with injury, the playmaking on offense will fall now to Kardelle Phillips. Phillips, who also played linebacker last year, has 824 yards from scrimmage and eight touchdowns (five rushing, three receiving)... There aren't many running backs in southern Wisconsin with the speed of Brady Schipper, who is averaging nearly eight yards per carry, and has 814 yards from scrimmage to go with his nine touchdowns. Oregon's solid linebacker corps will be following his every move... Jahlil Turner is a two-way threat for Oregon, with nearly 40 yards per catch and a pair of scores on offense as a receiver, and a pick-six as well as two total interceptions and a pair of fumble recoveries on defense. Expect Turner to be in on several plays to the outside, when Stoughton tries to open up space for Schipper to run... Sam McHone has accounted for roughly a third of the receiving yards and total catches for the Vikings, and has even added a rushing touchdown and 53 yards on the ground for Stoughton. McHone is one of the players who will see the most-increased workload with Jordan DiBenedetto out for the rest of the season... Both teams have a roughly 2:1 run:pass ratio, but Cedric Girard has thrown for an average of 122 yards per game, and has tossed seven touchdowns against only two interceptions. With Wannebo missing the game due to injury, the passing game may be more involved, especially if Oregon falls behind early.
Listen to the game this Friday night at 7pm on The Big 1070!