Week 7 high school football preview: Postseason on the line for Craig

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John Barry
Thursday, October 3, 2013

There may be a government shutdown crippling the U.S. economy right now, but there was no shutting down the offenses for Oconomowoc and Wisconsin Lutheran last Friday night.

The two teams combined for 166 points in the highest-scoring football—yes, that's a football score—game in state history. Oconomowoc, behind 493 yards of total offense from senior quarterback Canton Larson, hung on for an improbable 84-82 win. And no, there was not an overtime needed to decide this barnburner.

Here are a few crazy facts from the game:

-- The teams combined for 24 touchdowns, or one every two minutes. That's 3.46 points per minute.

-- Wisconsin Lutheran was leading 8-7 after one quarter, which means the teams piled up 151 points in the final three.

-- Wisconsin Lutheran scored 11 touchdowns and opted to try for the two-point conversion on each one—converting eight times.

-- Only five of the 24 touchdowns covered 50 yards or more.

-- The loss snapped Wisconsin Lutheran's 22-game Wisconsin Little Ten Conference winning streak, and it was Oconomowoc's first win over the Vikings since 2001.

Speaking of ridiculous numbers, how sore was Brandon Toman's arm last Saturday morning? The Madison Memorial quarterback threw for 583 yards and five touchdowns in a 52-42 loss to Sun Prairie. The 583 passing yards were the second-most in state history behind the 612 put up by Southwestern's Jeff Skemp in 2002.

Gregory, Grovesteen honored

Ron Grovesteen and Mike Gregory are the deans when it comes to Rock Valley Conference football coaches.

Grovesteen has been the head coach at Evansville for the past 30 years, while Gregory is in his 14th season at Edgerton.

Both coaches were recently honored.

The football field at Evansville High School is now officially Ron Grovesteen Field, and a special ceremony commemorating the event will be held on Friday, Oct. 11.

The Green Bay Packers named Gregory the Wisconsin High School Coach of the Week for the week ending Sept. 22.

Gregory received the honor after his team defeated Jefferson on Sept. 20, in a key Rock Valley North Conference game. It was the first time the Crimson Tide had defeated the Eagles since joining the Rock Valley North six years ago. Edgerton is 5-1 on the season, including 4-0 in the Rock Valley North, and in sole possession of first place.

For winning the award, Gregory will receive several items and privileges, including a $1,000 donation to the school's football program from the Packers and the NFL, as well as recognition of the award on the Packers.com, wissports.net and Wifca.org.

Grovesteen has led Evansville to nine Rock Valley titles and 18 WIAA playoff appearances, including four appearances in a state semifinal game. He ranks 19th on the state's all-time win list with 239 and could move into the top 15 by the time the season is over. Evansville is 3-3 on the season and needs wins in two of its last three conference games to qualify once again for the postseason under Grovesteen.

Two deserving honors for two classy and deserving coaches.

Here's a look at three key area games Friday:

Madison Memorial (5-1) at Janesville Craig (2-4), 7:30 p.m., Monterey—It's win or go home for the Cougars. A loss eliminates Craig from postseason contention. The Spartans have already clinched a playoff berth and are looking to secure a high seed in their final three Big Eight Conference games.

Memorial suffered its first loss of the season last Friday against unbeaten Sun Prairie despite the 583 yards passing and five touchdowns from Toman. The high-powered Spartans are averaging 33.2 points per game.

Craig counters with an offense that is averaging 34.0 points per game, but the defense is giving up 35.5. The Cougars had a 16-14 lead over Madison La Follette last Friday before the Lancers raced away to a 41-23 victory.

The Cougars will need a balanced attack Friday to keep up with the Spartans. Craig is averaging 264 yards per game on the ground but has only managed 485 yards passing in six games.

Best guess: Memorial 28, Craig 20.

Brodhead/Juda (5-1, 3-0) at Jefferson (5-1, 3-1), 7 p.m.—This Rock Valley crossover game counts for Jefferson in the Rock Valley North standings but not for Brodhead/Juda in the Rock Valley South. The Eagles would be postseason eligible with at least a .500 conference record and can earn an automatic bid with a win.

Brodhead/Juda has already qualified for its state-record 22nd straight postseason appearance. The Cardinals might not have the one superstar that seems to emerge each year from the program, but there is plenty of talent on the roster.

Despite averaging 32 points a game, the Cardinals are not as explosive as some past teams. But defensively, Brodhead/Juda is rock solid. The Cardinals are allowing only 14.7 points per game.

Jefferson is all about Garrett Blaeske. The junior tailback is seventh in the state in rushing with 1,104 yards, and he has 13 touchdowns. He is averaging 7.3 yards per carry.

Best guess: Jefferson 27, Brodhead/Juda 14.

Middleton (5-1) at Sun Prairie (6-0), 7:30 p.m., Friday—The Big Eight title and Cardinal bragging rights are on the line as these two conference powerhouses collide.

Middleton has one loss and has already qualified for the postseason, but this team seems to be a shell of the explosive teams from the past. Middleton has five wins against teams that are a combined 7-23. In its only true test of the season, Middleton lost 31-14 to Memorial. I'm guessing the fun stops Friday night for Middleton.

Third-ranked Sun Prairie held off Memorial last Friday and moved into prime position to take the Big Eight's No. 1 seed into the playoffs.

Sun Prairie tailback Noah Diaz is fourth in the state in rushing with 1,200 yards and leads a potent offense. The defense is led by University of Wisconsin recruit Craig Evans and blue-chip prospect Devin Webster, a 6-foot-2, 300-pound roadblock in the middle of the line.

Best guess: Sun Prairie 35, Middleton 7  

High school football

Games Friday

(7 p.m. starting times unless indicated)


Madison Memorial (5-1) at Janesville Craig (2-4), 7:30 p.m.

Janesville Parker (2-4) at Verona (2-4), 7:30 p.m.

Madison East (0-6) at Madison West (2-4), 7:30 p.m.

Middleton (5-1) at Sun Prairie (6-0), 7:30 p.m.

Beloit Memorial (1-5) at Madison La Follette (5-1), 7:30 p.m.


(Crossover games)

(Games count in Rock Valley North standings but not in South)

Whitewater (4-2, 2-2) at Walworth Big Foot (6-0, 3-0)

Orfordville Parkview (0-6, 0-3) at East Troy (2-4, 1-3)

Clinton (3-3, 1-2) at Edgerton (5-1, 4-0)

Brodhead/Juda (5-1, 3-0) at Jefferson (5-1, 3-1)

Palmyra-Eagle (2-4, 1-2) at McFarland (2-4, 1-3)

Evansville/Albany (3-3, 2-2) at Beloit Turner (2-4, 1-2)


Oregon (1-5, 0-3) at Fort Atkinson (5-1, 2-1)

Monona Grove (6-0, 4-0) at Stoughton (3-3, 1-2)

Monroe (0-6, 0-3) at Madison Edgewood (4-2, 3-1)

Reedsburg (5-1) at Milton (2-4), crossover


Burlington (4-2, 2-2) at Delavan-Darien (2-4, 1-3)

Union Grove (1-5, 1-3) at Elkhorn (3-3, 2-2)

Lake Geneva Badger (5-1, 4-0) at Wilmot (4-2, 3-1)

Westosha Central (0-6, 0-4) at Waterford (4-2, 3-1)

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