Upon further review: Unbeatens will meet in third round playoff games

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Eric Schmoldt
Saturday, October 28, 2017

And then there were 56.

Eight teams left in each of the seven divisions of the WIAA football playoffs.

The state quarterfinals often spark some of the best matchups of the entire postseason.

For one, obviously you've got some of the best teams in the state going toe-to-toe. But also, this is the "championship game" of each seeded pod, and if you feel like your team was mis-seeded, this is the last chance to prove it.

This year's state quarterfinals should provide plenty of drama.

They include three games between unbeaten teams, including the one team left that's right in our backyard.

Top-seeded Clinton hosts second-seeded Lake Country Lutheran at 7 p.m. Friday. Both teams are 11-0.

Lake Country Lutheran scores 44 points per game. Clinton boasts the state's top rushing attack. The Cougars are allowing just over 10 points per game. The Lightning barely allow seven per game.

Sound fun? Yeah, we think so, too.

All eyes will certainly be on senior running back Zach Krause for Clinton. He was the state's leader in rushing heading into the second round of the playoffs but finished with just 95 yards after tweaking an ankle in the second quarter.

Krause did score two touchdowns, including one on a 55-yard pass play, after the injury, so hopefully that bodes well for his prognosis moving forward.

Another battle of undefeated programs will be right up the road in Monona Grove. And you can bet there will be some tension in this one.

Waukesha West went unbeaten through the always-tough Classic Eight Conference, and many around the state believed it should be the favorite to win the Division 2 state title when the playoffs began.

Yet, when the brackets came out, the coaches in that pod had given Monona Grove, unbeaten out of the Badger South, the top seed.

So it's Waukesha West at Monona Grove this week for all the bragging rights.

And while the winner of that game will likely be a favorite choice to hoist a gold ball at Camp Randall (though there are still three other unbeaten teams in D2), many feel that the Division 7 state quarterfinal between Bangor and Edgar is the de facto state title game.

They were ranked Nos. 1 and 2, respectively, in the final WisSports.net polls but then got lumped into the same bracket.

Bangor is the top seed and host on Friday.

Here are five other musings heading into the third week of the postseason:

It'll be third-seeded Madison West at top-seeded Sun Prairie to see who gets to represent the Big Eight Conference this year in the state semifinals. West avenged a 36-0 Week 2 shutout to Middleton by winning 30-27 on Friday and now gets another crack at the Cardinals, who beat West 37-7 in Week 7.

Kimberly scored 21 fourth-quarter points to be Fond du Lac 35-28 in Week 1, keeping the nation's longest winning streak alive. The streak is now at 67 straight heading into a rematch with Fondy next Friday.

Stevens Point lost in the second round Friday but probably feels like it played three playoff games. It won its first-round game 48-47 in OT over Hudson. On Friday, it took four overtimes for top-ranked Bay Port to move on with a 57-51 win.

Just five No. 1 seeds have lost so far, so most of the brackets are pretty chalky. The weirdest one that isn't? In Division 4, sixth-seeded Martin Luther will travel to fourth-seeded Two Rivers.

Dave Wedeward has still got it, folks. The long-time former Gazette sports editor reached out to writer John Barry before the playoffs began and told Barry to keep an eye on fifth-seeded Stratford in Division 5. On Friday, Stratford knocked off top-seeded Stanley-Boyd 38-0.

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