The last time the 2009 Walworth Big Foot football team stepped on the field together was on the turf at Camp Randall Stadium in the WIAA Division 4 state championship game.
Big Foot rolled past Kewaunee 42-13 that night to give coach Rodney Wedig and his talented team the program’s first state title.
Saturday afternoon, many of those players and coaches will gather at Big Foot Athletic Fields. They will not only commemorate the 10-year anniversary but also get a peek at several of the new athletic facilities—including the brand new artificial turf on the football field and the state-of-the-art shock pad underneath that reduces concussions and increases the life of the turf.
Big Foot hosts Clinton in a Rock Valley Conference game at 2 p.m., but plenty of activities are planned for both before and after the game.
Gates will open at 12:30 for those purchasing a ticket to the game, with a free lunch provided.
At 1:45 p.m., Big Foot athletic director Tim Collins will dedicate and rename the football press box in honor of the late Jim Haeni, a long-time Big Foot athletics supporter who passed away in January of this year.
Players and coaches from the 2009 state championship team will gather after the game for dinner and a look back at the magical postseason run.
“I think it’s great that TC (Collins) put this together,” said Wedig, now the head football coach at Milton High School. “The fact that it’s on a Saturday is even better, because it will give a lot more people a chance to go. I’m really looking forward to seeing everybody.”
Wedig’s Red Hawks squad hosts Oregon on Friday night, which will allow him to attend the Big Foot festivities.
“It’s hard to believe that it has been 10 years, but I still keep in touch with a lot of the players and coaches,” Wedig said. “And I can’t wait to see the renovations.”
A $7.8 million referendum passed last November by 33 votes to construct and equip an outdoor athletic facility. The football field not only features artificial turf but will eventually will be encircled by a nine-lane track that will be surfaced and lined by the time the spring track and field season begins.
“This has been six years in the making,” Collins said. “And even though we played one game already on the turf against East Troy, this is officially our first game where everything was lined up and ready to go.
“Hellas Construction completed Phase I of the overall referendum project with renovations to the football/soccer stadium plus practice fields, adding Hellas’ Matrix®turf, plus home bleachers, new concession/restrooms, sports lighting, arched entry gates with ticket booth and parking lot.
“The turf that we’ll be playing on now is the same turf that the Dallas Cowboys, Houston Texans and Jacksonville Jaguars play on. Hellas put all the turf in for those teams, too.”
Saturday should be a day to remember. Here’s a look at several area high school games as we pass the midway point in the season:
Janesville Parker (0-4) at Madison East (1-3), 7 p.m. Friday, Breese Stevens Field—The Vikings will be looking to snap a 20-game losing streak. Parker’s last win was against East in Week 3 of the 2017 season.
The Purgolders picked up win No. 1 of the season last Friday in a 28-9 victory over Beloit Memorial.
Quarterback Phil Roh III has thrown for 598 yards and five touchdowns.
Parker played well in spurts in its loss to Madison La Follette last Saturday, but an inconsistent offense continues to plague the Vikings. Parker is averaging only 7.8 points per game.
“Heading into East, we are simply looking to build on the positives from the La Follette game,” Parker coach Clayton Kreger said. “With that, we had a few mistakes that really cost us, and we are emphasizing on cleaning that up.
“When we get tired or get down on the scoreboard, some of our kids lose their focus/discipline. We will continue to work on that moving forward. As we always tell our kids ... ‘the little things matter,’ and the teams that take care of them are the most successful.”
Best guess: East 20, Parker 7
Madison La Follette (3-1) at Janesville Craig (1-3), Big Eight, 7 p.m. Friday, Monterey Stadium—The Lancers will look to complete the city sweep as they travel to Janesville for the second straight week.
La Follette, who is led by quarterback Ben Probst and tailback Jaylend Brown, suffered its only loss in Week 2 to unbeaten Madison Memorial.
Probst has thrown for 767 yards and 13 touchdowns, while Brown has rushed for 413 yards and three TDs.
Craig’s offense figures to be bolstered by the return of Eric Hughes. The senior quarterback missed last week’s loss at Sun Prairie with a concussion. The Cougars managed only 100 yards of total offense in his absence last week.
Craig beat La Follette 17-10 last year.
Best guess: La Follette 27, Craig 13
East Troy (3-1) at Evansville (4-0), Rock Valley, 7 p.m. Friday, Evansville High School—The Blue Devils, after finishing 0-9 a year ago, can clinch a playoff berth with a win.
East Troy fell from the ranks of the unbeatens last week when McFarland rallied late to upset the Trojans 15-14.
Mac Dudkiewicz is the catalyst for the Trojans. The senior quarterback has thrown for 1,027 yards and 10 touchdowns and is leading an offense that is averaging 22.8 points per game.
“They like to put the ball in the air, no doubt about it,” Evansville coach Ron Grovesteen said of East Troy. “You’ve got to try and contain them, and that’s a big challenge. I don’t think you can completely stop them, but what we have to do is work hard and stay away from the big play.”
Evansville has been firing on all cylinders offensively. The Blue Devils are averaging 39.2 points per game behind a balanced offensive attack that has 12 rushing and nine passing TDs.
Quarterback Tyr Severson has thrown for 892 yards and nine touchdowns, with six of those scoring strikes going to one of the state’s top receivers in Sulley Geske. The senior has 17 catches for 290 yards.
Grovesteen said clinching a playoff spot was not talked about.
“They’re all big games in our conference, and this one is no different,” Grovesteen had. “We’re not looking ahead to anything right now other than playing a very good East Troy team Friday night.
“It’s Parents Night for us and a chance to play in front of our home crowd. This team has been really good about focusing on the task at hand and working hard.”
Best guess: Evansville 34, East Troy 13
Burlington (4-0, 2-0) at Lake Geneva Badger (3-1, 1-1), Southern Lakes, 7 p.m. Friday, Badger High School—The Badgers need a win to keep from falling two games back in the Lakes standings.
The Demons have been an offensive juggernaut, scoring at least 41 points in every game.
Tailback Zach Wallace has rushed for 731 yards and 12 touchdowns and is averaging 9.5 yards per carry.
Quarterback Dalton Damon is a dual threat. The senior has thrown for 572 yards and five TDs and has rushed for 419 yards and seven TDs.
Badger’s offense has also been proficient, averaging 26.0 points per game.
The Badgers have rushed for 1,260 yards and are averaging more than seven yards a carry.
Best guess: Burlington 27, Badger 14
(7 p.m. starting time)
Madison La Follette at Janesville Craig
Janesville Parker at Madison East
Middleton at Beloit Memorial
Verona at Sun Prairie
Madison Memorial at Madison West
Whitewater at McFarland
Jefferson at Edgerton
Beloit Turner at Brodhead/Juda
East Troy at Evansville
Oregon at Milton
Monroe at Fort Atkinson
Madison Edgewood at Stoughton
Monona Grove at Watertown
Burlington at Lake Geneva Badger
Elkhorn at Wilmot
Union Grove at Delavan-Darien
Westosha Central at Waterford
Orfordville Parkview/Albany at Markesan
Clinton at Walworth Big Foot, 2 p.m.