The first round of the playoffs has concluded. Here's a look at Level 2 games, plus some notes on upcoming contests.
Division 1 - Group C
#1 Sun Prairie 35, #8 Madison Memorial 0: Sun Prairie outscores the Spartans 85-0 this season. Madison Memorial had a tumultuous season, but the Spartans will bring back a star-studded 2019 class and an incredibly deep 2020 group for a run next year.
#5 Kettle Moraine 28, #4 Verona 19: Verona had a late lead, but couldn't hang on or convert on fourth down as Kettle Moraine pulls a small upset on the road. The Wildcats had a disappointing season by their standards, but this is Verona and it's a program that reloads seemingly every year with another wave of three or four dozen seniors.
Level 2: #5 Kettle Moraine at #1 Sun Prairie: Kettle Moraine wasn't a secret coming into the playoffs, as they have played some tough competition already this year. That being said, the Cardinals will be one of the very best teams they've seen this year. Sun Prairie has seen some strong run-first teams this year, and Kettle Moraine favors that approach.
#2 Middleton 41, #7 Madison La Follette 8: La Follette was down to their third- and fourth-string quarterbacks by the end of the year, but the Lancers will have plenty to build upon for next year. Middleton's defense has been the real deal down the stretch in 2017.
#3 Madison West 21, #6 Sussex Hamilton 9: West and Hamilton were schematic clones offensively, and the Regents were able to find some rare playoff success, winning their second playoff game in the past 35 years.
Level 2: #3 Madison West at #2 Middleton: The rematch should be an absolute slobberknocker, with the Cardinals and Regents both physical, run-oriented squads. Expect a fast track on the turf at Otto Breitenbach, weather permitting. This is our Madison Taxi High School Game of the Week next week.
Other Division 1 Scores
#1 Kimberly 49, #8 Milwaukee Riverside 8: The longest winning streak in state history continues, now at 66 games, for the Papermakers.
#2 Franklin 45, #7 Janesville Craig 7: The Cougars had a new head coach this year and hung their hat on defense. Franklin is a state powerhouse, so Craig will have a little bit of experience now heading into the offseason of knowing what it will take to compete at that level.
Division 2 - Group B
#1 Waunakee 57, #8 Beaver Dam 0: Waunakee drops the Golden Beavers 102-0 in back-to-back weeks. Beaver Dam achieved a goal however in making it to the playoffs, and they can build on that moving forward with a relatively experienced squad next year.
#4 Slinger 20, #5 DeForest 7: Two very even, very similar teams went at it, and the Owls will earn the right to play Waunakee next week. DeForest had an up-and-down season, but the Norskis are a Badger North fixture and will return plenty for a run next year.
Level 2: #4 Slinger at #1 Waunakee: Slinger plays like several of the teams in the Badger conferences: strong running game, solid defense, stuff that Waunakee has dealt with each week with aplomb. Waunakee is playing with heavy expectations, as a favorite to make state in a crowded, top-heavy D2 field.
Division 2 - Group C
#1 Monona Grove 42, #8 Wilmot Union: Wilmot scored on the final play of the game, but the biggest news in this game is that Alec Ogden briefly left with an injury. The Silver Eagles will hope that it doesn't linger. Lucas Gerlach was the co-star in this production.
#4 Waterford 28, #5 Burlington 27 (OT): The two Southern Lakes rivals played a much closer game than the regular season.
Level 2: #4 Waterford at #1 Monona Grove: Monona Grove dispatched Waterford to begin their playoff run to state in 2016, so this is a Level 1 rematch from last year. That means that Waterford won't be unfamiliar to the caliber of athlete that Alec Ogden is. The question is, for Waterford or any Silver Eagles opponent, is whether or not they can stop Ogden's offense from putting up 40+.
#2 Waukesha West 42, #7 Germantown 21: It was tied at 14 at the half and again at 21, but a couple of long touchdowns got the Wolverines out of Level 1, avoiding a huge upset.
#3 Stoughton 28, #6 Oregon 7: Stoughton won its first-ever playoff game, hosting its first-ever football playoff game, and achieved a school-record nine victories by beating its close rival for a second time in 2017. Oregon is a tough team loaded with underclassmen. Expect them to be a defensive stud in 2018.
Level 2: #3 Stoughton at #2 Waukesha West: Fans are already salivating at the prospect of seeing the two best running backs in the state (arguably, of course) go head-to-head. Brady Schipper has scored three or more touchdowns in five straight games, while Peter MacCudden is one of the fastest players on a football field in Wisconsin. The Wolverines have one of the best Friday night atmospheres in Wisconsin. Enjoy the trip, Vikings fans!
Division 3 - Group C
#1 New Berlin Eisenhower 34, #8 Monroe 6: A tall order for the Cheesemakers, it was a reverse of last year's playoff roles. Monroe will look for backfield answers in the offseason after having an inconsistent offense for parts of the season, but expect a good product in 2017.
#4 Pewaukee 41, #5 Jefferson 21: The Eagles' defense couldn't contain a Pewaukee program riding high at the moment, and their season will end. Jefferson's season was a success at 8-2 overall, but the tough draw in a loaded D3 region with the top six seeds all being 6-3 or better made the task difficult for a deep run.
Level 2: #4 Pewaukee at #1 New Berlin Eisenhower
#2 Catholic Memorial 42, #7 East Troy 20: East Troy's powerful running game, bolstered by outstanding lines in a conference deep with linemen, wasn't enough to catch up to one of the state's powerhouse programs. While the Trojans will graduate plenty, there's an identity and brand with East Troy football to follow.
#3 Mount Horeb/Barneveld 56, #6 Evansville/Albany 7: Two teams entered, both on six-game winning streaks, but it was the Vikings with a blowout win over the Blue Devils. Evansville/Albany was a team rebuilding a bit after graduating over a dozen all-conference performers, but will now graduate a four-year starting varsity quarterback, Zach Mielke. Ron Grovesteen doesn't plan on going anywhere, so it would be silly to expect anything but another good season out of E/A next year.
Level 2: #3 Mount Horeb/Barneveld at #2 Catholic Memorial: One of the most intriguing games in the entire state, the Vikings have been on a roll since their loss to Waunakee in Week 3, having only one game really ever in doubt along the way in a seven-game winning streak. If MH/B can knock off Catholic Memorial, it would invite quite a few fans onto their bandwagon on their playoff journey in a fairly loaded regional.
Division 4 - Group C
#1 Lodi 38, #8 Mayville 31: Lodi entered the playoffs as one of the title favorites, but had to play incredible, come-from-behind football in the second half to avoid the biggest upset in the first round of the playoffs.
#4 Platteville 54, #5 Turner 42: Platteville outlasted Turner, as the Trojans put up points and yards in a losing effort. Turner bounced back strong and pushed a pretty good Platteville team in a big road test, but now the Trojans will graduate some of the best football players the program has ever seen. The cupboard won't be bare for Derek Diehl's crew, however. Turner football isn't an afterthought anymore.
Level 2: #4 Platteville at #1 Lodi: This may be a popular upset pick, given Lodi's struggles in Level 1 and Platteville's recent solid play. In reality, this will be one of the more interesting games in all of the state for Level 2. Lodi's Jacob Heyroth is a wrecking ball.
#2 Racine St. Catherin's 53, #7 River Valley 35: River Valley felt sort of underseeded to begin with, but they put up the points in a loss to an undefeated St. Catherine's squad.
#3 Lake Mills 42, #6 Lakeside Lutheran 26: The cross-town rivals played it close in the first half, but the L-Cats were able to pull away in the second half. Lakeside Lutheran's return to the playoffs met with a loss, but after so many close calls in trying to get in, this season was a giant leap forward.
Level 2: #3 Lake Mills at #2 Racine St. Catherine's: This entire D4 bracket was filled with good teams, and the big road trip from Lake Mills to Racine will see two outstanding quarterbacks battle it out for a trip to Level 3. Lake Mills has had unprecedented success these past two years, and with senior Ben Dunkleberger, look to extend the ride yet another week.
Division 5 - Group C
#1 Clinton 42, #8 Brookfield Academy 3: Clinton is a D-5 title favorite, and they flexed their muscle to begin the playoffs.
#4 Prairie du Chien 36, #5 New Glarus/Monticello 14: PdC didn't have any trouble stopping the multi-faceted attack of the Glarner Knights, en route to a playoff victory.
Level 2: #4 Prairie du Chien at #1 Clinton: Now, a long playoff road trip awaits PdC as they will take on top-seeded Clinton. This actually has the makings of a pretty good game. Clinton's incredible ground game will get a test this week.
#6 Westby 38, #3 Lancaster 29: Westby avenged a regular-season loss with a somewhat surprising upset.
Division 6 Scores
#4 Fennimore 15, #5 Pecatonica/Argyle 8 ... #1 Markesan 44, #8 Darlington 14. Level 2: #4 Fennimore at #1 Markesan
#2 Cuba City 36, #7 Pardeeville 0 ... #3 Mineral Point 47, #6 Brookwood 28. Level 2: #3 Mineral Point at #2 Cuba City
#5 Dodgeland 37, #4 Johnson Creek 28
#3 Manitowoc Lutheran 39, #6 Cambridge 14
#2 Racine Lutheran 69, #7 Belleville 7
Division 7 Scores
#1 Black Hawk 68, #8 North Crawford 0 ... #5 Iowa-Grant 22, #4 Ithaca 13. Level 2: #5 Iowa-Grant at #1 Black Hawk
#3 Wauzeka-Steuben/Seneca 16, #6 De Soto 0 ... #2 Potosi/Cassville 55, #7 River Ridge 10. Level 2: #3 Wauzeka-Steuben/Seneca at #2 Potosi/Cassville
Wisconsin Heights 26, Rockford Christian 19: Wisconsin Heights finishes up its second year in 8-man football with a 6-3 record. Because of their enrollment, the Vanguards won't get to play in the Jamboree, but next year the playoffs are in place for 8-player football, so after two years of program building, they'll get their shot at the playoffs again in 2018.
Waukesha South 34, Janesville Parker 20: Parker used the extra game to some benefit, particularly on the ground, but couldn't get the win. The Vikings had a down year after graduating all but three starters from 2016, so the extra experience should help them build towards 2018.
Beloit Memorial 33, Racine Park 21: Beloit Memorial gets its third win of the year, and builds on the momentum of getting a win last year to end a long losing streak and now picking up a couple of more this year. Coach Rodney Wedig took on an incredible challenge when he decided to coach the Purple Knights, and it appears that the effort he's putting in to the program is beginning to pay off.