Janesville69.1°

High school football playoffs still have questions

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Gazette staff
October 19, 2011
— In his 19 years as Janesville Parker’s football coach, Joe Dye thought he had seen it all.

That was before the 2011 WIAA postseason playoff picture unfolded.


Protests, injunctions and judicial litigation have made a mockery out of the current system.


Parker (6-3), which qualified for the playoffs in Week 5 of the regular season, didn’t find out until Tuesday afternoon that its Division 1 first-round opponent would be unbeaten defending state champion Waukesha West on the Wolverines’ field.


Dye expects the game to be at 7 p.m. Saturday. But even going into this morning, that was still only tentative.


The Vikings hoped to find out their first-round opponent last Saturday, but a formal protest filed by the Milwaukee Messmer/Shorewood co-op program and litigation in the Milwaukee County Court delayed the Division 1 and Division 2 pairings until Tuesday.


“As of right now, we’re preparing as if we’re going to play Waukesha West on Saturday,” Dye said. “I just spoke with their athletic director, and we’re in the process of exchanging film.


“But there is a lot of divisiveness yet to this whole situation and figuring out a time to play. Saturday’s schedule has a lot of pre-arranged activities taking place such as volleyball, soccer and statewide ACT testing.”


Whenever the Vikings play, they will have their hands full with the top-seeded Wolverines. Waukesha West is 22-1 over the past two seasons, including a 9-0 record this season and a Classic Eight Conference title.


Coach Steve Rux’s team is averaging more than 43 points a game. Other than a six-point win over perennial power Hartland Arrowhead, Waukesha West has beaten every opponent by at least three touchdowns.


Quarterback Joe Schobert leads the team in rushing and passing, averaging nearly 10 yards per carry while completing nearly 60 percent of his passes.


As Dye begins in earnest to get his Vikings ready for the school’s 15th playoff appearance in the last 16 years, he believes the WIAA’s legal matters are far from over.


“The football playoffs, and really high school athletics in general, are supposed to be about the kids,” Dye said. “And for a program like Milwaukee South, that’s not what it’s about. Their student/athletes did nothing wrong but yet are out of the playoffs even though they met the criteria that the WIAA established.”


South went 3-3 in the Milwaukee City Conference but was eliminated from the postseason when the judge upheld Milwaukee Messmer/Shorewood’s protest.


Meanwhile, other late action led the extensive reshuffling Tuesday of pairings for Divisions 3-7, which were announced Monday night.


In a major revision involving area Division 3 schools, second-seeded Walworth Big Foot (9-0) will host Edgerton (5-4), not East Troy, as previously announced. Instead, now as No. 4 seed, East Troy (7-2) will host Mount Horeb/Barneveld (6-3) on Saturday.


Third-seeded Madison Edgewood (7-2), which was to have hosted Edgerton, now draws Lodi (7-2) in a game at Middleton. The fourth game in that bracket remains the same—Delavan-Darien (5-4) at top-seeded Jefferson (9-0).


The change in those pairings was result of a Tuesday morning reaction from East Troy, whose only two losses were to unbeaten teams, Jefferson and Big Foot, putting the Trojans in line for a seed and first-round home game (which they did not receive in the original pairings).


“A protest is maybe too strong of a word, but rather an appeal,” East Troy coach Eric Sulik said of his school’s reaction to the original pairings. “It was never about not playing a good team, but we thought we should be seeded and have a home game.”



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