Football weekend: Conference titles, Monterey Rock on line in Week 9
It's championship Friday for a number of conferences in the state.
That list includes three area conferences.
And although Edgerton and Monona Grove have already clinched undisputed titles in the Rock Valley North and Badger South, respectively, the races in the Rock Valley South, Big Eight and Southern Lakes will come down to regular-season finales.
- Unbeaten and second-ranked Walworth Big Foot will look to make it seven straight Rock Valley South titles and can extend its conference winning streak to an incredible 47 straight with a win over Brodhead/Juda (7-1, 4-0). The Cardinals can win their first conference title since 2006 if they can go on the road and find a way to slow down the heavily-favored Chiefs.
- Unless winless Madison East can pull off the biggest upset in state history Friday night, Sun Prairie will join Monona Grove and Edgerton as an undisputed conference champion. The unbeaten and fourth-ranked Cardinals can clinch the Big Eight title wth a win over the Purgolders. Madison La Follette could share the conference crown with Sun Prairie with a win over Middleton, but needs a miracle victory from East for that to happen.
- The Southern Lakes race is the most interesting of the bunch. Lake Geneva Badger, Wilmot and Waterford all have one conference loss and can create a three-way tie for the title with a win Friday. Wilmot and Badger should grab a share of the conference crown as the Panthers host winless Westosha Central and the Badgers play at 1-7 Union Grove. Waterford can make it three straight Southern Lakes titles with a home win over Delavan-Darien (4-4, 3-3). The Comets can clinch a postseason bid with a road upset.
Here's a look at three key area games:
Janesville Craig (3-5) at Janesville Parker (2-6), 7:30 p.m., Monterey Stadium—With neither city team eligible for the postseason, this longtime rivalry game loses some of its luster. However, the chance to display the coveted Monterey Rock in the school's trophy case for the next year, along with a lifetime of bragging rights for the senior players, still makes this the Game of the Year for both programs.
The Cougars laid an egg last Friday in a 31-7 loss to Middleton. Craig had a chance to keep its playoff hopes alive with a win but generated nothing offensively until Tom Gabower's touchdown run late in the fourth quarter helped it avoid the shutout.
Craig has been dynamic on the ground all season—averaging 254 yards a game—but the passing game has been inconsistent, at best. The Cougars have thrown for only 659 yards in eight games, with six interceptions and only three touchdown passes.
Parker did little right in losing 35-0 to Sun Prairie last Friday. The Vikings managed only three first downs for the game and had negative yards of total offense midway through the fourth quarter.
Although the season has been a disappointment for Parker, tailback Dai-Von Vance-Jenkins has a chance to rush for 1,000 yards. The senior needs 120 yards against the Cougars to reach the 1,000-yard mark for the season. Vance-Jenkins also has scored nine of Parker's 17 touchdowns.
Parker's passing game remains non-existent. The Vikings have thrown for only 166 yards in eight games, or about 20 yards per game.
Best guess: Craig 34, Parker 20.
Brodhead/Juda (7-1, 4-0) at Walworth Big Foot (8-0, 4-0), 7 p.m.—As usual, these two Rock Valley South powerhouses will play each other for the conference title. The Chiefs have won 47 straight conference games and are vying for a seventh straight Rock Valley South title.
Although Brodhead/Juda is averaging 31.9 points per game, the defense has been the difference this season. The Cardinals are allowing only 11.8 points per game and have held four opponents to seven points or less. The defense has not allowed a point in the third quarter all season, but has not played an offense as dynamic or explosive as Big Foot's.
Ho-hum. Another season and another dominating run through the Rock Valley by the Chiefs. Big Foot has posted five shutout wins this season and every conference game has been over by halftime. The Chiefs have outscored opponents a ridiculous 269-16 in the first half this season.
The offense is averaging 42.75 points per game despite the starters playing sparingly in the second half.
Tailback Tim Long has rushed for 1,195 yards and 17 touchdowns for the Chiefs.
Best guess: Big Foot 31, Brodhead/Juda 7.
Burlington (4-4, 2-4) at Elkhorn (4-4, 3-3), 7 p.m.—The Elks need a win to qualify for the postseason for the first time since 2008. The Demons, who can finish above .500 for the season, were eliminated from the playoffs with a loss last Friday because they will not finish at least. 500 in the conference.
Burlington's downfall this season has come in the second half of games. The Demons have been outscored 101-51 in the second half, including 49-6 in the third quarter.
Elkhorn must find a way to increase its productivity offensively. The Elks are averaging less than 12 points and are managing only 164 yards of total offense per game.
The Elks' defense has kept the postseason hopes alive. Other than a 35-0 loss to Wilmot in week five, every conference game has been decided in the fourth quarter.
Best guess: Burlington 20, Elkhorn 13.
High school football
(7 p.m. starting times unless indicated)
Janesville Craig (3-5) at Janesville Parker (2-6), 7:30 p.m.
Middleton (6-2) at Madison La Follette (7-1), 7:30 p.m.
Beloit Memorial (1-7) at Madison Memorial (5-3), 7:30 p.m.
Madison East (0-8) at Sun Prairie (8-0), 7:30 p.m.
Madison West (4-4) at Verona (4-4), 7:30 p.m.
ROCK VALLEY NORTH
Whitewater (4-4, 2-4) at East Troy (3-5, 2-4)
Evansville/Albany (5-3, 4-2) at Edgerton (7-1, 6-0)
Jefferson (6-2, 4-2) at McFarland (3-5, 2-4)
ROCK VALLEY SOUTH
Brodhead/Juda (7-1, 4-0) at Walworth Big Foot (8-0, 4-0)
Orfordville Parkview (0-8, 0-4) at Clinton (4-4, 2-2)
Palmyra-Eagle (2-6, 1-3) at Beloit Turner (2-6, 1-3)
Stoughton (4-4, 2-3) at Milton (2-6, 2-3)
Madison Edgewood 6-2, 4-1) at Fort Atkinson (7-1, 4-1)
Monroe (0-8, 0-5) at Oregon (1-7, 0-5)
Mount Horeb/Barneveld at Monona Grove (crossover)
Burlington (4-4, 2-4) at Elkhorn (4-4, 3-3)
Delavan-Darien (4-4, 3-3) at Waterford (6-2, 5-1)
Lake Geneva Badger (6-2, 5-1) at Union Grove (1-7, 1-5)
Westosha Central (0-6, 0-8) at Wilmot (6-2, 5-1)