A number of high-profile games this week will help decide playoff berths and conference championship races, including a handful of smaller-school games pairing two ranked programs going head-to-head and one match-up of two undefeated teams.
- WisSports.net Coaches Poll Rankings
- Playoff Picture - Full Rundown for Week 6
- Game of the Week Preview - Stoughton at Oregon
⭐ Big Five Games - Week 6, 2018 ⭐
1. 📈 D1 #8 Madison Memorial (5-0) at Verona (3-2) - Big 8
2. 📈 D2 #6 Stoughton (5-0, 3-0) at Oregon (3-2, 2-1) - Badger South (GOTW Broadcast)
3. D3 #6 Mount Horeb/Barneveld (4-1, 2-1) at Reedsburg (4-1, 2-1) - Badger North
4. 📈 D7 #4 Fall River (5-0, 3-0) at D7 #9 Johnson Creek (5-0, 3-0) - Trailways Small
5. 📈 D7 #6 Potosi/Cassville (4-1, 4-1) at D6 #8 Pecatonica/Argyle (4-1, 3-1) - Six Rivers
HM: 📈 Beloit Turner (4-1) at Edgerton (4-1) - Rock Valley
📈= Playoff Implications
Big 8 (Rankings are WSN Coaches Poll)
⭐📈 D1 #8 Madison Memorial (5-0) at Verona (3-2): After this game, the Spartans will see the schedule let up with games against Beloit Memorial and Janesville Parker (combined one win) before finishing up against Janesville Craig in a potential Big 8 title tilt. First, they have to solve the complicated offense of the Verona Wildcats and emerging stars in the backfield like Haakon Anderson and Adam Bekx, which put Sun Prairie on their heels and was able to help beat Middleton in Week 2. If there's a game that could shake up the Big 8 picture this week, it's this one. Verona's defense has been no slouch this season either, led by linebacker Dylan Bourne, as the Wildcats try to get the fourth win and put themselves in a good spot playoff-wise. Madison Memorial dealt with the deliberate pace of Madison West last week, but Jason Ceniti and the Spartans offense showed some explosiveness before grinding out a win behind Kam Marshall in the second half. [🔊 Memorial Coach Mike Harris]
📈 Madison La Follette (3-2) at D1 #10 Sun Prairie (4-1): La Follette's schedule is pretty tough in the back half, with a season-ending date against Middleton still on the horizon as well as Verona in two weeks, and that's after playing Janesville Craig last week. Sun Prairie is on a four-game winning streak, and a win over La Follette would clinch them a playoff spot. The Cardinals also hope to stay in the conference title chase, since Madison Memorial has a big game against Verona this Friday. La Follette has been using a two-quarterback system this year on offense, but it's been their defense that's done some good work in recent weeks, which will be the key against the Cardinals. [🔊 La Follette Coach Scott Swanson] [🔊 Sun Prairie Coach Brian Kaminski]
📈 Janesville Craig (4-1) at Madison East (1-4): Madison East got into the win column by beating one Janesville school, and they'll need an even bigger effort to take down the Cougars this week. Craig is the only other team besides Madison Memorial that can claim to control their own conference title fate, as winning out would guarantee them a share of the league title. One game at a time, though, and a win would seal up a playoff spot for the Cougars. For Madison East, coach Jeremy Thornton got his first win as head coach of the Purgolders last week. This game will be played at Lussier Stadium.
📈 Middleton (3-2) at Janesville Parker (0-5): Middleton's ground game is tough for even the best defenses to stop, and Parker is coming off of a loss in which they let a halftime lead get away in losing to Madison East. The Cardinals' schedule ramps up after this, with Janesville Craig, Sun Prairie, and Madison La Follette to close out the season. Middleton will look for consistency to set up that tough final run on the schedule and try to get closer to the postseason. Parker, meanwhile, will try to extend their playoff hopes for another week with an upset bid.
Beloit Memorial (1-4) at Madison West (1-4): Both teams had playoff aspirations before the season began, and for one of those teams, those dreams could be a step away from becoming extinguished with a loss this week. Despite the records, there's a ton to play for, as Beloit looks to mark improvement from a two-win season last year and West, after a difficult early schedule, attempts to salvage a year with a roster primarily comprised of sophomores on varsity. While a loss doesn't end the playoff dream, it does mean neither team can clinch a playoff spot.
📈Playoff Implications: Madison Memorial has clinched a playoff spot. Sun Prairie and Janesville Craig, with wins, can clinch playoff spots this week. Madison La Follette, Verona, and Middleton all need a fourth win this week to (likely) get into the postseason field. Janesville Parker will be eliminated from playoff consideration with a loss. Beloit Memorial, Madison West, and Madison East can no longer control their own playoff fates if they suffer a loss the rest of the way.
Badger North (Rankings are WSN Coaches Poll)
⭐D3 #6 Mount Horeb/Barneveld (4-1, 2-1) at Reedsburg (4-1, 2-1): This will be one of the games in consideration for statewide Game of the Week status. If you like defense and big-time run games, this is a game for you. MH/B's pass game is what gave them the edge in coming back to beat Baraboo, and it'll be a key against a stingy Reedsburg defense. The Vikings have something going on defense as well, and are getting healthy at the right time. Reedsburg had a rallying point with the flooding in the community, and a close win over Sauk Prairie turned into a big win over Beaver Dam last week. Both teams enter this one with plenty of momentum. [🔊 Mount Horeb/Barneveld coach Bret St. Arnauld]
Baraboo (2-3, 2-1) at DeForest (3-2, 2-1): The other Badger North game of possible playoff consequence, the winning team will be just one more victory away from a playoff berth while the losing team will have to win two of their last three to get in. Baraboo has the most difficult stretch of their schedule at the moment, with last week's game against Mount Horeb/Barneveld and contests to come against Waunakee and the season finale against longtime rival Reedsburg. Baraboo's been battling in games against top competition, with halftime leads against Stoughton and Mount Horeb/Barneveld disappearing in the second half, but if they can put it together here, it would represent a giant leap forward for the program. For DeForest, it's one of the best defensive lines in the area, and the Norskies also have an explosive back in Evan Armstrong.
📈 D2 #1 Waunakee (5-0, 3-0) at Sauk Prairie (1-4, 1-2): Waunakee can clinch a playoff spot with a win here. Sauk Prairie had a tremendous defensive effort against Reedsburg two weeks ago, but got demolished by DeForest's skilled lines. The only possibly better line in the Badger might be Waunakee's, and that is going to be a big challenge for the Eagles.
Beaver Dam (1-4, 0-3) at Portage (0-5, 0-3): Well, 3-4 can get you into the playoffs, but with some tough games still left on the schedule for both teams, a loss all but ends the postseason dream. Both teams have struggled defensively. This actually may end up one of the better games in the area this week, given the records, and the stakes for keeping their respective playoff hopes alive.
📈 Playoff Implications: Waunakee wraps a playoff spot with a win this week. The losing team in the Beaver Dam-Portage game is almost certainly eliminated from playoff contention, although a few 3-4 teams got in last season, so they won't be scratched from the list--yet. The winners of the two 2-1 match-ups will get their third win, which puts them squarely on the bubble for the postseason, but they aren't implication scenarios... yet.
Badger South (Rankings are WSN Coaches Poll)
⭐📈 D2 #6 Stoughton (5-0, 3-0) at Oregon (3-2, 2-1): (Madison Taxi Game of the Week Broadcast): The Battle for 138 is renewed with plenty at stake for both teams. Oregon has lost to Mount Horeb/Barneveld and Monona Grove, two state-ranked teams, and only by a combined 25 points. Stoughton, meanwhile, has had to battle back in wins over Baraboo and Monroe. If Stoughton wins, they'll clinch a playoff spot and yet another win in this rivalry series after sweeping both games last year. If Oregon notches a victory, they'll still have a shot at a conference title should Monona Grove lose at some point. FULL PREVIEW HERE [🔊 Oregon Coach Dan Kissling] [🔊 Stoughton Coach Dan Prahl]
📈 Milton (2-3, 1-2) at Watertown (4-1, 3-0): The team records don't indicate what a solid match-up this is. Watertown will play Stoughton, Oregon, and Monona Grove to close out the year, and this will be the beginning of that tough stretch to close out the season. Milton didn't fare well against Oregon last week, but the Panthers have played a pretty tough schedule thus far and are pretty well-tested. Milton's defense will be another tough test for the Gosling's offense. Watertown clinches a playoff spot with a win.
📈 Monroe (0-5, 0-3) at D2 #5 Monona Grove (5-0, 3-0): Monroe led Stoughton at halftime last week before faltering late, and the Cheesemakers haven't really been a pushover this year. The offense has struggled at times, but they'll need to turn that around against a pretty good Silver Eagles defense. Monona Grove's propensity for scoring points is their trademark, but the defense is full of capable athletes across the board. Monona Grove clinches a playoff spot with a win, and Monroe can no longer clinch a playoff spot with a loss.
Edgewood (1-4, 0-3) at Fort Atkinson (0-5, 0-3): Fort Atkinson has struggled to score points this year, and despite the record, Edgewood has a decent defense in 2018. For Edgewood, after a nine-point loss to Watertown, things are starting to trend up a bit, although the Crusaders still have a few tough games coming up. The losing team in this game will not be able to clinch a playoff spot later in the year.
📈 Playoff Implications: Monona Grove, Stoughton, and Watertown can all clinch playoff spots with wins this week. Meanwhile, Edgewood, Monroe, and Fort Atkinson will all look to avoid their fourth loss, which puts the playoffs out of their own control. Edgewood vs. Fort Atkinson will guarantee one team is on the wrong side of that four-loss line.
Capitol North (Rankings are WSN Coaches Poll)
D4 #9 Lakeside Lutheran (4-1, 1-0) at Luther Prep (3-2, 0-1): This rivalry clash takes place earlier in the conference season this year, and has recently been the deciding game for who makes the playoffs. Lakeside has dynamic athletes all over the place, while Luther Prep has a ton of experience and battering rams along the lines and at the second level. This is one of the area's better games this week, given that each team is very experienced and played a difficult schedule to this point.
D4 #2 Lodi (5-0, 1-0) at Poynette (4-1, 0-1): Despite the setback against Lake Mills, Poynette's still sporting a good ground game and a defense that prior to last week was demoralizing opponents. Lodi, meanwhile, will be looking for a 20th straight win and doing it mostly the same way they did last year, sans one of the state's most outstanding athletes from a season ago. Sound defense and multiple ways to move the ball have been the key for the Blue Devils. Poynette, meanwhile, will opt for a more ground-and-pound approach and shorten the game somewhat.
Columbus (1-4, 0-1) at Lake Mills (4-1, 1-0): Columbus has played some very difficult games in the middle part of the season, and that continues when they see Lake Mills this week and Lodi next week. For Lake Mills, their schedule jumps up the final three weeks against the other 4-1 or 5-0 teams in the conference, so making it back to the playoffs could hinge on how this game turns out.
📈 Playoff Implications: None this week.
Capitol South (Rankings are WSN Coaches Poll)
📈 Marshall (1-4, 0-0) at New Glarus/Monticello (2-3, 1-0): The Knights can become playoff-eligible with a win over Marshall. The Cardinals' offense has been capable of big plays all year, and they'll need a few to open up conference play with a victory after facing mostly larger schools in non-conference play. New Glarus/Monticello has a number of talented players back from last year, both on the lines and in the skill positions, so it'll be a big challenge both ways.
Belleville (4-1, 0-1) at Waterloo (0-5, 0-1): The losing team here will no longer be able to clinch a playoff spot, Belleville saw a four-game win streak snapped last week, and to bounce back, they'll have to get past a hungry Waterloo program looking for win #1.
Cambridge (5-0, 1-0) at Darlington (1-4, 0-3) - Non Conference: The Blue Jays are rolling to start the year, and they'll get one last big non-conference test before the big road game against Belleville in Week 7. Darlington has struggled against a very tough schedule this year, including games against ranked powerhouses like Fennimore and Lake Country Lutheran, so the record is a bit deceiving. However, the Redbirds have lost four in a row while Cambridge has won five in a row. The Blue Jays are one of only a few teams statewide to start the season undefeated but not be ranked, and part of that is because Division 6 is very crowded in the top 15-20 teams statewide.
📈 Playoff Implications: New Glarus/Monticello becomes playoff-eligible with a win. The losing team between Belleville and Waterloo can no longer clinch a playoff spot, although it is very likely a 2-2 record would get either team in once we cross that bridge in Week 9.
Rock Valley (Rankings are WSN Coaches Poll)
⭐📈 Beloit Turner (4-1) at Edgerton (4-1): In the three-way tie for second place, this week begins the process to sort that out, as Turner's rock wall of a defense faces the potent Edgerton offense. Both programs are ascending in recent memory, with Turner dispelling years of poor records to establish themselves as a rock-solid contender, while Edgerton is making a big jump behind a wave of incoming talent in their next three classes. One of the area's very best games, matching the high-powered Tiders offense against the solid Turner Trojans defense, which limited McFarland to nine points a couple weeks ago.
📈 East Troy (4-1) at Brodhead/Juda (2-3): The records belie how good of a match-up this is. East Troy's Jake Dessart is closing in on 1,000 yards rushing already and he'll very likely get there, but Brodhead/Juda has played some teams very tough this year despite a three-game losing streak against the better teams in the Rock Valley.
Big Foot (2-3) at D3 #3 McFarland (5-0): The next stop on the Spartans' world tour is a home date with Big Foot. The Chiefs have played better the past two weeks, but they'll have to find a way to slow down a very strong passing attack in this one. McFarland's defense hasn't gotten its due yet, but that should play a part in any success they have this week, and for the rest of the regular season, as they can focus on the conference title with the playoffs in hand.
📈 Clinton (1-4) at Jefferson (3-2): What a difference a year makes. Last year, this decided the conference. This year, it's for playoff positioning, as both teams are looking to bounce back from Week 5 losses. Clinton had heavy graduation losses, while Jefferson has run into the two fastest-rising teams in the Rock Valley already in McFarland and Edgerton.
Whitewater (0-5) at Evansville/Albany (0-5): An elimination game of sorts, as neither team can clinch a playoff spot, but while 4-5 can get you into the playoffs, 3-6 almost certainly will not. Both teams are on long losing streaks dating to last season. Evansville/Albany is not that far removed from a string of three straight conference titles, and while the Blue Devils have had some big graduation losses the past two seasons, it's still a surprise to see them at 0-5. Whitewater is in a rebuilding phase, and got a win last year to move that process along.
📈 Playoff Implications: McFarland has clinched a playoff spot. The winner of Beloit Turner and Edgerton will clinch a playoff spot. East Troy can clinch a playoff spot with a win over Brodhead/Juda. The losing team in Evansville/Albany and Whitewater will be eliminated from postseason contention. If Clinton loses, they will not be able to clinch a playoff spot.
More Southern Wisconsin Games (Rankings are WSN Coaches Poll)
Trailways-Small: One of the state's biggest games this week is ⭐📈 D7 #4 Fall River (5-0, 3-0) at D7 #9 Johnson Creek (5-0, 3-0). Not only does the winner clinch a playoff spot, but takes over sole possession of first place in the conference [🔊 Johnson Creek Coach Tim Wagner]... One of Deerfield (0-5, 0-3) and Wayland Academy (0-3, 0-3) will notch their first win of the season. Wayland's losing streak is one of the state's longest. The losing team can no longer clinch a playoff spot.
Trailways-Large: Parkview (0-3, 0-2) visits Dodgeland (2-3, 0-2) as the Vikings seek their first win of 2018.
Southwestern: Prairie du Chien (4-1, 1-0) will take on Dodgeville (1-4, 1-0) in a battle for first place... River Valley (3-2, 0-1) and Lancaster (4-1, 1-0) is another big Southwestern Conference clash.
SWAL: See the Captiol South section for more on Darlington's game at Cambridge... 📈 D6 #4 Fennimore (5-0, 3-0) will square off with Southwestern (1-4, 0-2) this week... D6 #7 Mineral Point (4-1, 2-0) hosts Iowa-Grant (2-3, 2-1) in a very interesting game near the top of the conference standings.
Six Rivers: Saturday's contest, ⭐📈 D7 #6 Potosi/Cassville (4-1, 4-1) at D6 #8 Pecatonica/Argyle (4-1, 3-1), matches two teams whose only loss has been to conference-leading Black Hawk. Potosi/Cassville has already clinched a playoff spot, but Pecatonica/Argyle could join them with a win Saturday... Speaking of, 📈 D7 #3 Black Hawk (4-0, 3-0) will also play Saturday, hosting Belmont (0-5, 0-4), and clinches a playoff spot with a win.
Ridge & Valley: 📈 D6 #9 Wauzeka/Seneca (5-0, 2-0) hosts Wonewoc Center/Weston (0-4, 0-2) and can become playoff-eligible with a win.
Great 8 (8-Player): #3 Oakfield (5-0) will rematch with Elkhart Lake-Glenbeulah (1-4) this week. Oakfield took the first meeting 51-0 back on August 17... #7 Wisconsin Heights (2-2) will meet Gillett (3-2) in a non-conference game this week.
*each Great 8 team (Wisconsin Heights, Oakfield, Elkhart Lake/Glenbeulah, and Port Edwards) gains two additional wins due to forfeits by Abundant Life/St. Ambrose. Those are not factored into the records above.