The Wisconsin Football Coaches Association is in the first year of a grant program designed to supplement high school football budgets on the health and well-being of student-athletes participating.
As long as the head coach was a member of the WFCA, any school in the state had a chance to apply for a grant that would be given to schools with a yearly or three-year average budget under $3,000.
Four area programs met the criteria and were awarded WFCA Grants prior to the beginning of the 2019 season.
Janesville Parker, Delavan-Darien, Brodhead and Beloit Turner all received the allotted $3,000 and were able to provide equipment and other materials for their programs that would not have been otherwise affordable.
Parker’s grant includes a Pro 3 solution machine—which uses ozone gas to disinfect equipment and uniforms.
“We were very pleased to get the grant,” Parker coach Clayton Kreger said. “We’re just trying to keep our kids safe from skin infections, etc.
“They come in 3-4 times a year and clean all of our equipment.”
Delavan-Darien was awarded $3,000 for a tackling wheel, shortboard and manshields, while Turner received a mobile tackling dummy.
Brodhead, which shares a co-op with Juda, used it’s $3,000 grant for a number of equipment upgrades, including a medium tackle wheel and numerous tackling dummies.
“This was a great boost for our program, especially at the middle school level,” Brodhead coach Jim Matthys said. “Our freshmen were able to get new jerseys, and our middle school got equipment such as tackling dummies and a tackle wheel that they’ve never had and that certainly was never in our budget because of cost.
“My assistant Brent Bockhop applied when the opportunity first came out to do so, but we didn’t know what to expect.
“Now that we’ve gotten the grant, I can’t begin to tell you what a positive impact it’s had at all levels. We’ve now got the equipment where all our drills, especially at the middle school level, don’t have to be one-on-one all the time because we didn’t have enough equipment to go around.”
A total of 64 schools applied for a WFCA Grant. Of those 64 schools, 42 schools were deemed “eligible” for the grant.
Originally, the WFCA Grants were going to be capped at $60,000 year, but because of a large number of schools meeting the criteria for the grant, the WFCA awarded more than $96,000 in grant money.
The grants are certainly a win-win for everybody involved, because let’s face it, not everybody is on the same playing field when it comes to what some programs can and can’t afford.
Here’s a look at four area games on tap for Friday night, including a key early-season match-up in the Southern Lakes:
Sun Prairie (1-1) at Janesville Parker (0-2), Big Eight, 7 p.m. Friday, Monterey Stadium—The Vikings have not beaten the Cardinals since 2008 and don’t figure to break the streak this year.
Sun Prairie lost its conference opener to Madison Memorial but still figures to finish in the upper half of the standings and secure another playoff berth.
“Our emphasize will be on taking care of the football, and not giving up the long pass plays because Sun Prairie has a fast defense and a great passing attack on offense,” Parker coach Clayton Kreger said.
Sun Prairie quarterback Brady Stevens has thrown for 438 yards and six touchdowns in two games.
Parker continues to struggle putting points on the board. The Vikings have 14 points in two games.
“Not much to say other than last Friday we suffered a very disappointing loss,” Kreger said of the 27-7 loss to crosstown rival Janesville Craig. “With that many turnovers, it is just hard to overcome and come out on top.”
Best guess: Sun Prairie 47, Parker 6
Janesville Craig (1-1) at Verona (2-0), Big Eight, 7 p.m. Friday, Verona High School—The Cougars will have their hands full with one of the state’s best, if not the best, offense.
Verona has scored 102 points in two games, including 61 against a good Middleton team last Friday.
“You watch them on film and it’s scary,” Craig coach Adam Bunderson said of Verona offense. “They can hurt you in so many ways.
“We’ve got to know our assignments defensively, eliminate the mental mistakes and try to run some clock offensively. We know we’ll have to play the perfect game to have a chance, but that’s a challenge our kids are looking forward to.”
Craig is led by quarterback Eric Hughes, who has five of the team’s seven touchdowns this season.
Best guess: Verona 49, Craig 13
Edgerton (1-1) at Brodhead/Juda (1-1), Rock Valley, 7 p.m. Friday night, Brodhead High School—The winner stays a game behind in the standings, with unbeatens Jefferson and Evansville also playing each other Friday night.
Edgerton rallied late against Evansville last Friday but was stunned at the end when Tyr Severson scored from two yards out with nine seconds left in the Blue Devils’ 19-16 win.
Crimson Tide quarterback Drew Hanson has thrown for 353 yards and three touchdowns in two games, while receiver Skylar Gullickson has caught 14 passes for 137 yards and a TD.
“Because of our youth and inexperience at a couple of positions, Edgerton is going to have an advantage,” Matthys said. “But I think we can compete if we avoid the turnovers and mental mistakes.”
Brodhead/Juda bounced back from a Week 1 loss to Evansville with a shutout win over Clinton last week.
Best guess: Edgerton 28, Brodhead/Juda 13
Lake Geneva Badger (2-0, 0-0) at Wilmot (2-0, 0-0), Southern Lakes, 7 p.m. Friday, Wilmot High School—Two of the preseason Lakes favorites meet to kick off the conference season.
Zack Watson is the catalyst for the Panthers. The senior quarterback has thrown for 232 yards, rushed for 197 and been responsible for five of the team’s seven TDs.
Badger opened with impressive nonconference wins over Greendale and Kenosha Bradford.
Badgers running back Cole Gabor-Pullen has rushed for 318 yards and three touchdowns and is averaging 12.2 yards per carry.
Best guess: Wilmot 28, Badger 20
(7 p.m. starting time)
Sun Prairie at Janesville Parker
Janesville Craig at Verona
Madison East at Madison Memorial
Beloit Memorial at Madison La Follette
Madison West at Middleton
Clinton at Whitewater
East Troy at Walworth Big Foot
Edgerton at Brodhead/Juda
Jefferson at Evansville
Beloit Turner at McFarland
Fort Atkinson at Milton
Monroe at Monona Grove
Stoughton at Oregon
Lake Geneva Badger at Wilmot
Delava-Darien at Elkhorn
Waterford at Union Grove
Westosha Central at Burlington
Pardeeville at Orfordville Parkview