While most of our station's play-by-play coverage involves the Big 8, Badger, Capitol, and Rock Valley conferences, there are schools within Dane County and across southwestern and south-central Wisconsin that fall within The Big 1070's broadcast signal. Since those communities are served by radio stations more local to them, we don't go as in-depth as we do for the schools we carry broadcasts for. However, we will explore some of the football programs in the greater Madison area as part of our preview series in 2018.
2017 Conference Standings and Season Summary:
Teams Covered: Oakfield, Wisconsin Heights, Abundant Life/St. Ambrose
Oakfield became one of two teams in the state to finish undefeated in 2017 in 8-player football, along with Newman Catholic. The Oaks finished 9-0 behind a balanced passing and rushing attack, never scoring fewer than 40 points in any game. Abundant Life/St. Ambrose was a late add to the Jamboree field, ultimately falling in their final game of the season. After a good run of success early on, the Challengers ran into better competition as the season progressed, finishing 5-4. Wisconsin Heights wasn't eligible for the Jamboree and won't be eligible for the playoffs due to enrollment requirements, but piled up nearly 2,000 yards rushing in nine games. Two of their losses came to undefeated Oakfield, while their third loss in a 6-3 season came by one point to Phillips.
Wautoma won the league with a 5-0 conference mark, including a narrow 28-22 win over second-place Mauston, who finished the season with a 4-1 league record. Wautoma lost in the first round of the WIAA playoffs to Xavier in a high-scoring 65-34 game. The Hornets have been seven times since their 2008 state title. Mauston rebounded nicely from a 1-3 start to reel off five straight victories, but lost to Wautoma in Week 9 and fell to eventual state runner-up St. Croix Central 48-24 in Level 1, Mauston's third straight year in the playoffs. Nekoosa went 3-2 to finish third in the South Central, losing to perennial power Osceola in Level 1 49-20, the third straight year Nekoosa has made the postseason. Wisconsin Dells played in only eight games in 2017, finishing 2-3 in the conference. The Chiefs fell just one win short of their first playoff trip since 2012. What a difference a year makes for Adams-Friendship: after a 9-1 record in 2016, Adams-Friendship didn't win a game in 2017, their lone win coming via forfeit. Westfield forfeited their 2017 season, but appear ready to play a 2018 schedule with better numbers in the program. The Pioneers made the playoffs as recently as 2013, going 1-1 in D5.
Badger was the conference champion at 9-2, using a prolific ground game to roll to the second round of the playoffs. One of their losses was to Kenosha Bradford, who they beat in Level 1. Badger fell to Franklin in Level 2, 24-17, to end their 12th consecutive playoff appearance. Waterford bookended a solid season with blowout losses, dropping their opener 55-0 to Franklin and then falling in Level 2 to Monona Grove, 40-14. Waterford finished one game behind Badger, who they lost to in Week 3, 6-1 in the Southern Lakes and 8-3 overall. Burlington came in third place, with a 5-2 league record, and lost in Level 1 to Waterford 28-27 in their first trip back to the playoffs since 2014. Wilmot qualified for the playoffs with a 4-3 conference mark, their eighth straight trip to the postseason, but finished the season at 4-6 overall following a first-level playoff exit, losing to Monona Grove 42-12. In their five losses prior to the playoffs, Wilmot's largest margin of defeat was 11 points, facing playoff squads like Kenosha Bradford and Badger (seven points), Franklin (one point), and Waterford and Burlington (11 points). Westosha Central (3-4) fell a game short of returning to the playoffs for the first time since 2010, while Union Grove (2-5), Delavan-Darien/Williams Bay (1-6), and Elkhorn (0-7) round out the conference standings.
Ridge & Valley
Wauzeka-Steuben/Seneca rolled to a 6-0 record in the Ridge & Valley behind a dominant rushing attack and standout defense, which pitched a trio of shutouts in 2017. They fell in the playoffs to Potosi/Cassville, 56-18, in Level 2, but notched the first-ever playoff win in Wauzeka-Steuben history by beating De Soto 16-0 in Level 1. (Seneca had won 13 playoff games in school history prior to 2017, including a runner-up finish in D7 back in 2011 in the state title game). Ithaca earned a 5-1 second-place finish in the conference, losing 21-6 to Wauzeka-Steuben/Seneca in Week 8. The Bulldogs ran into Brady Peat and Iowa-Grant in the first round of the playoffs, but still extended their playoff streak to 11 seasons. De Soto is the third-place team in the conference, at 4-2, but lost each of their conference games by a single score. De Soto played in several low-scoring games, with only one contest eclipsing 37 combined points (a 38-26 win over North Crawford). Their season ended with a playoff loss to Wauzeka-Steuben/Seneca, 16-0, having also lost earlier in the year to the conference champs 15-8. Their incredible playoff streak dates back to 1996, a 22-year run. It was also the 33rd playoff appearance for De Soto. North Crawford made it back-to-back playoff trips with a 3-3 conference record, falling in Level 1 to eventual state runner-up Black Hawk. However, North Crawford lost all of their non-conference games, including a back-and-forth battle with Belmont at the Six Rivers Classic at UW-Platteville to open the season. A three-pack of teams, Wonewoc/Weston, Riverdale, and Kickapoo/La Farge all finished at 1-5, with their lone conference wins representing their only victories on the season.
After winning state in 2013, it seemed that Black Hawk was on track for another title, but fell to Bangor in the state title game, 37-14. A Week 4 battle with third-place finisher Pecatonica/Argyle was the closest game of the playoffs for the Warriors, but Black Hawk stopped a two-point conversion in the fourth quarter to win on the road 22-20. Potosi/Cassville put together a 6-1 conference record, good for second place in the Six Rivers, and went 9-3 overall. Their three losses were to the two teams in the D7 state championship: Black Hawk (twice) and Bangor. Pecatonica/Argyle extended their playoff streak to eight seasons, tied with Black Hawk for the second-longest streak in the conference. While their season ended with a Level 1 loss to Fennimore, 15-8, it's notable they almost upset Black Hawk in Week 4. Three teams tied for fourth place, but only River Ridge advanced to the postseason (where they lost to Potosi/Cassville 55-10) with a 3-4 conference record and 4-6 overall. It was their first trip to the playoffs since 2010, when they were up in Division 5. Both Highland and Benton/Scales Mound won their Week 9 contests to put themselves in line for a playoff bid at 3-4, but didn't quite make the final 224. They finished the season at 4-5 overall. Shullsburg's lone 2017 win was over Belmont, as they finished 1-6 and 0-7 respectively in the conference. Belmont picked up a win over North Crawford at the Six Rivers Jamboree at UW-Platteville to start the season with a win, 21-18.
Mineral Point and Cuba City were co-champs of the SWAL in 2017 with 5-1 conference records, although Cuba City won the head-to-head regular season match-up. Mineral Point went 9-3 overall, falling in Level 3 of the playoffs to Markesan 47-26. The Pointers avenged their only regular-season loss of the season to Cuba City with a Level 2 win, 14-7. Mineral Point's other loss was in the season opener against eventual D5 runner-up Lake Country Lutheran. Cuba City started the year 0-2 with losses to Platteville and Lancaster, but then reeled off six straight wins, including a decisive 36-7 victory over SWAL co-champ Mineral Point. During the winning streak, Cuba City gave up only 25 points in six contests, and despite losing two of their final three games of the year, to Iowa-Grant and Mineral Point, only allowed 52 points over their final nine games. Fennimore came in third in the conference, at 4-2, losing to both Mineral Point and Cuba City. Markesan knocked Fennimore out of the playoffs in Level 2 with a 15-7 win. Fennimore's defense gave up 72 points in the losses to Mineral Point and Cuba City, and 90 points in their other nine games. Iowa-Grant tied for fourth in the conference with a 3-3 record, but beat Cuba City to clinch a playoff spot in a win-or-go-home scenario. Then, Iowa-Grant beat Ithaca in Level 1 before falling to Black Hawk in Level 2 of the playoffs. Brady Peat ran for over 2,000 yards on the season. Darlington had made it to the D6 championship game four years in a row, bringing home the silver trophy each time, and started the season 0-5, with two losses by a single point, two other losses by a combined 11 points, and only one blowout loss. A non-conference win over Capitol South co-champ Cambridge sparked a four-game winning streak to get the Redbirds into the playoffs, where Markesan began their sweep of SWAL teams with a 44-14 win over Darlington in Level 1. The playoff trip was the 10th in a row for Darlington. Boscobel finished the season at 1-8, with the lone win coming over Southwestern (0-6 in the conference).
Four teams made it to the postseason from this six-team conference. Platteville lost only once during the regular season, a 21-14 decision to Prairie du Chien. The Hillmen scored 10 points in the fourth quarter in their win over Lancaster to help eventually earn a share of the SWC title. Platteville lost to eventual state champion Lodi 47-21 in Level 2 after winning in high-scoring fashion over Beloit Turner in Level 1 54-42, as Platteville made their eighth straight playoff appearance. Lancaster also lost one other time during the regular season, the opener against Fennimore, 18-13, and lost to Westby in Level 1 38-29. It was Lancaster's 25th straight playoff appearance, a run that has included seven state titles and four runner-up finishes in 11 trips to state. After the tie for first at 4-1, Prairie du Chien and River Valley tied for third at 3-2 apiece. Prairie du Chien missed the playoffs in 2016, and had made only one appearance since 2010 otherwise, but got a playoff victory before losing to Rock Valley champ Clinton in Level 2 of the playoffs. After a 6-0 start, Prairie du Chien lost three of their final four games, including a 40-0 shutout to River Valley in a game River Valley needed to win to get into the playoffs for the 10th straight year. Speaking of River Valley, they exited in Level 1 of the playoffs to Racine St. Catherine's 53-35, but had a mostly up-and-down season prior to that, finishing at 5-5 overall. Dodgeville fared relatively well in the non-conference portion of their schedule, going 3-1, but went only 1-4 in the conference, their lone win coming over winless Richland Center in SWC play.
Teams Covered: Parkview, Johnson Creek, Deerfield, Fall River, Wayland Academy
We'll get the Trailways Large out of the way first: Parkview had a handful of competitive games, but a lack of numbers and some solid competition in the Trailways combined to hand the Vikings a winless season, finishing 0-9. The closest they came was a rally to within four points in the fourth quarter against Marshall, only to fall 36-31 in Week 2. In the Trailways Small, Fall River finished two games up on first place with a 7-0 league record. They'd fall in the state semifinals to eventual runner-up Black Hawk, with their only other loss coming to Wild Rose, a team they beat in Level 3 of the playoffs 8-7. Prior to 2017, Fall River had never advanced past Level 2 in six all-time playoff trips. Johnson Creek tied for second with Lourdes Academy, finishing 5-2 in conference play before a first-round playoff exit with a loss to Dodgeland, 37-28. It was their third straight playoff appearance. Deerfield got into the playoffs for the first time since 2014 with a 4-3 conference record, but fell to a fellow Trailways member, Lourdes Academy, in the first round, 38-20. Deerfield beat Lourdes in double overtime the week prior at the end of the regular season, 38-36. Wayland Academy, a boarding school, doesn't play non-conference games, but went winless in Trailways play.
2017's Top Games: With dozens of games to pick from across multiple conferences, it's hard to highlight all of the deserving contests. In 8-player, certainly one of the intriguing local area contests was September 9th, when Wisconsin Heights scored in overtime to defeat Abundant Life/St. Ambrose 56-48. In the Southern Lakes, Elkhorn had a wild 32-31 win over Lakeside Lutheran with a score in the final minutes and a two-point conversion to put the Elks ahead. Also in Week 2, Wilmot nearly pulled a major upset, scoring twice but failing to convert on the two-point conversion after their second touchdown in the fourth quarter in a 14-13 loss to Franklin. Moving to the western side of the state, an interesting game at the Six Rivers Jamboree had Belmont battle North Crawford for a back-and-forth Week 1 21-18 victory. Over in the Six Rivers, Black Hawk needed a stop on a two-point conversion to escape an upset at the hands of Pecatonica/Argyle, 22-20, in Week 4. Prairie du Chien scored a touchdown with 42 seconds left and got the two-point conversion to take down Darlington in a non-conference game in Week 2, 19-18. Darlington played in several tight games, another one coming in Week 6 when they scored with just over a minute remaining to beat Cambridge 15-13. In Level 2 of the WIAA Playoffs, Mineral Point scored twice in the fourth quarter to exact revenge on Cuba City for a lopsided regular-season loss, 14-7. Another Prairie du Chien last-minute score, this time with 28 seconds left, gave them a 28-21 win over Arcadia in Week 4. Deerfield's double-overtime win over Lourdes Academy certainly qualifies as a top game, a 38-36 win, but Lourdes would get Deerfield back the very next week in the playoffs.
All-Conference Honors: In the Southern Lakes, Badger RB Will Keller was named the offensive player of the year, while Waterford DB Aaron Chapman was named the defensive player of the year. Both are seniors. Ridge & Valley honorees include seniors Noah Allen of Wauzeka-Steuben/Seneca (RB-OPOY), Caleb Johnson of Riverdale (LB-DPOY), and Garrett Groom of Wauzeka-Steuben/Seneca (Lineman of the Year). For the Six Rivers, senior Brody Milz won both the OPOY and DPOY awards at RB and LB respectively, while Pecatonica-Argyle senior Josh Lehman picked up LOY. In the SWAL, senior Brady Peat earned OPOY honors for his 2,000-yard season at RB, while senior Paul Burrows of Cuba City got DPOY. The lineman of the year in the SWAL was Mineral Point senior Eric Heisner. Over in the SWC, All-State RB Evan Gates of Lancaster, a senior, scooped up OPOY honors, while Platteville senior LB Zach White was named DPOY. Offenisive LOY went to Platteville senior Ian Carter, while Lancaster senior Dalton Gardner was the defensive LOY in the SWC. Finally, in the Trailways-Small, Fall River's junior duo of QB Luke Figol (OPOY) and Keegan Wodill (OLOY) picked up some hardware, while Johnson Creek senior DL Seth Roberts earned the DLOY award and shared DPOY with Deerfield senior DL Nick Vander Grinten.
All-State Honors: Black Hawk linebacker Brody Milz earned a spot on the WFCA All-State team after leading the Warriors to the state championship game. Lancaster's Evan Gates had a monster season, as the running back piled up over 2,000 yards rushing even though the Flying Arrows only played ten games. Also in the SWC, Platteville's Donovan Blevins racked up 1,317 receiving yards en route to a first-team nod for the all-state team. Oakfield's Brandon Williams was one of only a handful of 8-player athletes to make the all-state team, and he made it as a utility player after scoring eight return touchdowns (three punt, three kick, two interception) to go with 15 touchdowns receiving.
A Quick Look Ahead: We will offer coverage of all Wisconsin high school football throughout the season on Football Friday Night. We will also recap weekly scores here on The Big 1070 and thebig1070.com throughout the season for conferences in southern Wisconsin.
Some interesting games in the first couple of weeks in southern Wisconsin include Week 1 match-ups between Mineral Point and D5 runner-up Lake Country Lutheran, the annual Lancaster-Fennimore clash, and the Six Rivers Jamboree at UW-Platteville on the opening Saturday of the season, which will have Belmont taking on North Crawford, Black Hawk battling Southwestern, and Pecatonica/Argyle squaring off with Highland (the last one a conference game). Darlington gets their shot at Lake Country Lutheran in Week 2, which will also have Wisconsin Dells heading to Lodi, Platteville hosting Columbus at Pioneer Stadium, and a solid conference game between Black Hawk and Potosi/Cassville.
2018 High School Football Preview Schedule
Late June/Early July: 2017 In Review
Mid-July: Team-by-team previews
Early August: Conference previews
Coming Next: July 9: Badger South 2017 In Review
Daily High School Sports Content Schedule
June 28: Throwback Thursday - Top 2017 Games #5: Waunakee 14, Brookfield Central 13
June 29: Capitol South 2017 In Review
July 2: Capitol North 2017 In Review
July 3: Rock Valley 2017 In Review
July 4: Football Friday Night announced for 10th Season
July 5: Throwback Thursday - Top 2017 Games #4: Stoughton 30, Oregon 27
July 6: Greater Madison Area 2017 In Review
July 9: Badger South 2017 In Review
July 10: Badger North 2017 In Review
July 11: Big Eight 2017 In Review
July 12: Throwback Thursday - Top 2017 Games #3: Cambridge 25, Belleville 19
July 13: 2017 High School Football In Review
July 16: Start of Team-by-Team Previews
Julu 19: Throwback Thursday - Top 2017 Games #2: Madison West 30, Middleton 27
July 26: Throwback Thursday - Top 2017 Games #1: Lodi 17, St. Croix Central 10
August 6: Start of Conference Previews
August 13: Prep Report and Game of the Week content begins