We're on to the state football quarterfinals. Here's a look at Level 3, loaded with great games throughout the state.
Division 1 - Group C
#1 Sun Prairie 38, #5 Kettle Moraine 14: The Cardinals started out slow, but got a late second quarter score to go up 10-0 into halftime and then rolled from there. Kettle Moraine had lost its three previous games by a combined ten points. Sun Prairie is now on its deepest playoff run since 2012, when they were state runners-up, and the Cardinals picked up playoff win #30 all-time.
#3 Madison West 30, #2 Middleton 27 (Audio Above): An instant classic. Middleton got on the board first before West answered with ten points in the second quarter to take a 10-7 halftime lead. James Pabst reeled off an 80-yard touchdown, which West answered on the next drive. Pabst took it to the house from 72 yards away on the next possession, bumping the margin to 20-16. West grabbed the lead again at 23-20 before Middleton drove, capped off by a Dion Huff score to lead 27-23 with 2:17 left. The Regents drove it 74 yards and scored on fourth and goal from the one with 15 seconds remaining to win, 30-27, and advance to Level 3. It's the deepest playoff run since 1981 for West, when they went 2-1 and finished as state runners-up.
Level 3: #3 Madison West (9-2) at #1 Sun Prairie (11-0): We did this game in Week 7 (audio below). Sun Prairie got running clock in a big win at Mansfield Stadium. How much have the teams grown since then? For one, Sun Prairie finally played a game out of conference, beating a solid Kettle Moraine squad. For two, Madison West has turned on the afterburners in the playoffs, beating Hamilton 21-9 before their exciting finish in a wild back-and-forth affair with Middleton last week. It's only been a month, but this feels like a much different contest going in than the battle for first place in the Big Eight only six weeks ago. This will be our Madison Taxi Game of the Week broadcast on The Big 1070.
Other Division 1 Quarterfinals: #2 Appleton North at #1 Bay Port... #2 Fond du Lac at #1 Kimberly... #4 Muskego at #2 Franklin (winner plays Sun Prairie-Madison West winner).
Division 2 - Group B
#1 Waunakee 28, #4 Slinger 7: Only 7-0 at halftime, Waunakee was able to put away the pesky Owls late. Slinger was likely the best team Waunakee had faced since September 1 (Mount Horeb/Barneveld).
#3 Hartford 31, #2 Menasha 28 (2 OT)
Level 3: #3 Hartford (9-2) at #1 Waunakee (11-0): Hartford played in the tough North Shore conference, which qualified six teams for the playoffs. Hartford scores nearly twice as frequently with the ground game, but yardage-wise it's a tad more balanced. Hartford has multiple receiving threats, and two running backs shoulder most of the load for the offense. Waunakee will get another great test, especially defensively, as the Warriors attempt to navigate a tricky playoff field.
Division 2 - Group C
#1 Monona Grove 40, #4 Waterford 14: It was a slow-ish start for the Silver Eagles, but despite being held to their lowest scoring total all year, they still managed to win comfortably.
#2 Waukesha West 35, #3 Stoughton 0: Banged-up Stoughton lost by the same margin as a year ago in Level 1 to the Wolverines. The Vikings finished their most successful playoff-era season in school history with their first-ever playoff win and a 9-2 record, the most wins in school history, all-time, in one season.
Level 3: #2 Waukesha West (11-0) at #1 Monona Grove (11-0): Last year's Level 3 game was insane (you can listen to it below). No reason this will expect to be any different. Peter MacCudden is one of the state's best running backs, and the Wolverines will be solidly tested by the Silver Eagles' tandem of Alec Ogden and Jackson Thomsen. This should be one of the best Level 3 games in the state, period.
Other Division 2 Quarterfinals: #2 Green Bay Southwest at #1 Menomonie (winner faces Waunakee/Hartford winner)... #3 Brookfield East at #1 Brookfield Central (winner faces Monona Grove/Waukesha West winner)
Division 3, Group C: #2 Catholic Memorial 26, #3 Mount Horeb/Barneveld 20: The Vikings' late rally wasn't enough to take down the defending champs. MH/B finishes at 9-2.
Division 4, Group C: #1 Lodi 47, #4 Platteville 21: The Blue Devils scored 28 points in the first quarter and won big over the Hillmen.
Division 4, Group C: #3 Lake Mills 30, #2 Racine St. Catherine's 13: Lake Mills takes down the previously-unbeaten Angels and now has a rematch with Lodi in their next game.
Division 4, Group C, Level 3: #3 Lake Mills (10-1) at #1 Lodi (11-0): In Week 5, Lodi won 55-25. This will be an interesting rematch between one of the state's best defenses and running backs, Jacob Heyroth, and one of the state's best quarterback-receiver duos, Ben Dunkleberger and Hayden Iverson.
Division 5, Group C: #1 Clinton 28, #4 Prairie du Chien 6
Division 5, Group C, Level 3: #2 Lake Country Lutheran (11-0) at #1 Clinton (11-0): Another unbeaten-at-unbeaten contest. Clinton's state-topping running game will get a pretty big test in Lake Country Lutheran.
Division 6, Group C Results: #1 Markesan 15, #4 Fennimore 7... #3 Mineral Point 14, #2 Cuba City 7.
Division 7, Group C Results: #1 Black Hawk 68, #5 Iowa-Grant 15... #2 Potosi/Cassville 56, #3 Wauzeka-Steuben/Seneca 18.
Saturday: 8-Player Football Jamboree at D.C. Everest
10am: Abundant Life/St Ambrose vs Siren
4pm: Oakfield vs Northwood/Solon Springs