Barry: Sun Prairie gives Big Eight a title shot

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John Barry
Thursday, November 9, 2017

Clinton’s last-second loss to Lake Country Lutheran in a WIAA Division 5 state quarterfinal game last Friday ended any area hopes for a state title.

You have to go back to 2012 to find the last time an area team made the trek to Camp Randall. Walworth Big Foot lost in overtime to Somerset in a Division 4 state championship game.

In 2010, Brodhead/Juda lost to Kewaunee in the Division 4 state title game.

The last time an area team won a state title was 2009, when Big Foot whooped Kewaunee 42-13 to win the D4 crown.

The Big Eight Conference’s title drought is even longer.

The league hasn’t had a state finalist since Sun Prairie lost to Hartland Arrowhead in the 2012 Division 1 championship game, and it has not taken home a gold ball since the Cardinals won the D1 crown in 1995.

Will the drought end in 2017? It might.

Sun Prairie is one win away from a trip to Camp Randall and might be good enough defensively to put an end to the nation’s longest winning streak. Kimberly has won 68 straight games heading into Friday night’s semifinal game against Appleton North. The Papermakers rallied to beat North 38-31 in a regular-season game earlier this year.

Sun Prairie continues to dominate defensively. The Cardinals have allowed only 78 points in 12 games heading into Friday’s semifinal game against Muskego.

I’ve been hard on the Big Eight this season, because from top to bottom I think the conference had a down year. Plus, the league’s playoff record over the last several years is not good.

Hopefully Sun Prairie can reverse the fortunes and shred the Papermakers in the title game.

As for my own postseason predictions, I’ve got six of my seven state championship teams still alive, and two of the seven title-game matchups i foretold are still possible.

In Division 2, I picked Waunakee to beat Waukesha West in the championship game and I’ll stick to that. In Division 3, I liked New Berlin Eisenhower to beat Green Bay Notre Dame, and that’s still a possibility.

Kimberly was my choice to win a fourth straight Division 1 crown and still is, while Lodi seems destined to come through for me in Division 4.

Clinton’s loss ended any hopes of an Amherst vs. Clinton title game in Division 5, but the Falcons were my pick coming in and are still alive.

Fond du Lac St. Mary’s Springs was everybody’s choice in Division 6 and should coast to a title.

I liked Edgar or Bangor in D7, but since they played each other in a quarterfinal game last Friday, my gut feeling said to go with Edgar to win it all. I should’ve gone with Bangor.

Friday’s semifinal games feature a lot of star power and strong traditions butting heads.

Hopefully the Big Eight can rise up once again.

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