Edgerton’s season ended a year ago with a 45-14 loss to Lakeside Lutheran in a WIAA Division 4 state quarterfinal game.
The only blemish this season was a 19-16 setback in the final seconds to Evansville in Week 2 of the Rock Valley Conference season.
The Crimson Tide could get a shot at redemption at one of those two teams next week.
Third-seeded Edgerton must first get past River Valley on Friday night in a Division 4 second-round game. If it does, the winner between top-seeded Evansville and Lakeside Lutheran awaits.
“Obviously it doesn’t mean anything if we don’t beat a very good River Valley team Friday, but I know our kids would like another crack at either one of those teams,” Edgerton coach Mike Gregory said. “Lakeside really took it to us last year, and Evansville was a game we felt like we should’ve won. It got away from us at the end.
“If it’s Evansville, it’s on the road. If it’s Lakeside, we get them at home. Either way, it would be a great redemption game for us. Lakeside ended our season last year, and losing to Evansville cost us an undisputed conference championship.”
The seven teams I picked to win state titles had little trouble advancing in round one. Kimberly, Hartford, DeForest, Catholic Memorial, Amherst, St. Mary’s Springs and Black Hawk/Warren (Illinois) all won by at least 31 points, and none of them allowed more than eight points.
My prediction of Sheboygan Falls advancing to the Division 4 state championship game fell flat. The second-seeded Falcons lost to seventh-seeded Winneconne 22-14.
However, since Catholic Memorial is expected to roll to the Division 4 title, it didn’t really matter who it was playing in the championship game. Sheboygan Falls, Freedom, Kiel, none of them stand much of a chance anyway.
The Big Eight Conference, which had six teams in the postseason, could be down to one after Friday night. Top-seeded and Big Eight champion Madison Memorial hosts fourth-seeded Middleton, while sixth-seeded Sun Prairie has the difficult task of playing at second-seeded Fond du Lac.
Here’s a look at three area playoff games:
Third-seeded Milton (9-1) at second-seeded Waunakee (9-1), Division 2, second round, 7 p.m. Friday, Waunakee High School—The winner advances to a state quarterfinal game at top-seeded Hartford or at home against fifth-seeded Holmen.
Milton and Waunakee both defeated common opponents Monona Grove, Stoughton and Baraboo during the regular season. Waunakee defeated Monona Grove for the second time this season, 21-6, in its playoff opener.
Injuries have plagued Waunakee all season, with several starters missing significant playing time.
“Waunakee’s not going to be as explosive a team as we saw last week with La Crosse Central, but they’re still very physical and very, very good defensively,” Milton coach Rodney Wedig said. “We’ve got to be able to sustain drives and control the clock.”
Caden Nelson is the catalyst for the Warriors. The junior quarterback has thrown for 1,295 yards and 25 touchdowns. Waunkee is averaging 40.8 points per game but has scored only 34 in its last two games, including a 35-13 loss to DeForest in Week 9 that cost the Warriors the Badger North Conference title.
Milton has scored 35 or more points in seven of its 10 games.
Running back Nick Huber went over the 1,000-yard mark for the season last week, while Jerry Jones is up to 677. Those two have combined for 26 rushing TDs.
Junior quarterback Evan Jordahl has thrown for 926 yards and 21 touchdowns.
“We’ve got to come out and set the tone early,” Wedig said. “We know how good Waunakee is and all about their tradition, but our guys won’t be intimidated. They’ll be ready to go.”
Best guess: Waunakee 20, Milton 14
Third-seeded Edgerton (9-1) at second-seeded River Valley (9-1), Division 4, round two, 7 p.m. Friday, River Valley High School—The winner advances to a state quarterfinal game at top-seeded Evansville or at home against fifth-seeded Lakeside Lutheran.
Brodhead/Juda lost to River Valley last Friday in a first-round game and to Edgerton during the Rock Valley season. Coach Jim Matthys said the two teams are very similar.
“It’s going to be a really good game,” Matthys said. “River Valley is big and physical like Edgerton. They’ve got very good linebackers. I think if Edgerton has an advantage, it’s going to be in the passing game. River Valley’s secondary is its weak spot.”
River Valley won the SWC title and its only loss this season was to Lancaster in a nonconference game.
Quarterback Will Bailey has thrown for 1,644 yards and 23 TDs.
“This is going to be the best team we’ve played this season, no doubt about it,” Edgerton coach Mike Gregory said. “They’ve got multiple weapons on offense and can run power or option with a lot of success.
“I’m hoping the fact that we play mainly high Division 4 and low Division 3 teams during the regular season helps us. I know River Valley plays a majority of Division 5 schools.”
Edgerton has won eight straight and in convincing fashion. The Crimson Tide have not been tested since a 24-14 win over Jefferson in Week 5.
Gregory hasn’t had to delve too far into his extensive playbook yet, with his team steamrolling the majority of its opponents, but knows that will likely change Friday.
“We’re going to be prepared for whatever we need to do to move the ball and execute offensively,” Gregory said. “We work on our passing game 20-25 minutes every practice, and I have a lot of confidence in it.”
Best guess: Edgerton 28, River Valley 20
Fifth-seeded Lakeside Lutheran (6-4) at top-seeded Evansville (9-1), Division 4, second round, 7 p.m. Friday, Evansville High School—If the Blue Devils win, they will host River Valley or Edgerton in a state quarterfinal game.
Evansville shared the Rock Valley Conference title with Edgerton, while Lakeside Lutheran was second in the Capitol North.
Matt Davis is the catalyst for Lakeside. The senior quarterback has thrown for 1,333 yards and 14 touchdowns and rushed for a team-high 547 yards and eight TDs.
“We’re playing a very good team,” Evansvile coach Ron Grovesteen said. “Our goal is to be a little bit better.
“They run an offense very similar to ours but with a little more option.”
Evansville is averaging 36.7 points per game and has scored 40 or more in seven of 10 games.
Tyr Severson has been on target all season for the Blue Devils. The junior quarterback has thrown for 2,134 yards and 25 touchdowns while completing 55 percent of his passes.
Senior wideout Sulley Geske has 40 receptions for 801 yards and is tied for the state lead with 15 touchdowns. He’s averaging 20 yards per catch.
Grovesteen likes the fact that the Blue Devils could possibly play three straight playoff games at home.
“It’s a nice luxury to have,” Grovesteen said. “Usually, we’ve been on the road. By playing at home, you stay in your same routine.”
Best guess: Evansville 34, Lakeside 21