We officially cruised right on by the halfway point of the high school football season Friday night.
That means it’s also officially safe to start thinking about postseason possibilities, especially since some teams around the state, including Madison Memorial, have already clinched a spot in the playoffs.
Our area teams have a little more convincing to do if they’re going to prove to me they’re ready to make a run to the state quarterfinals or further, like Lake Geneva Badger and Clinton have done in recent seasons.
But the first step, of course, is just getting to the postseason. So let’s take a look at who’s sitting pretty and who’s got work to do to get into the brackets when seeding meetings occur in a month.
We don’t have anyone in our coverage area that has clinched a playoff berth, but there are a few teams I feel comfortable in saying they’ll make the playoff field.
Janesville Craig rebounded from an ugly loss to Sun Prairie by winning, 17-10, on the road against Madison La Follette on Friday night.
That puts the Cougars at 4-1 and still in contention near the top of the Big Eight.
Craig should clinch a playoff berth this week at Madison East. After that, the Cougars will have an opportunity to show exactly how much noise they want to make.
Just how interesting will Madison Memorial at Craig be in Week 9? Can’t wait to find out.
Speaking of interesting games, how about Turner at Edgerton this coming Friday?
The winner will still be right on the heels of McFarland, though both have already lost to the Spartans. The victor also clinches its spot in the playoffs, though I feel comfortable in saying the loser of this game will find a win in Weeks 7-9 and join the party.
On the bubble
At 1-4 overall, it feels a little odd to lead off this section with Lake Geneva Badger, but the worst of the Badgers’ schedule is behind them. They can get to 2-2 with a win against Delavan-Darien this week, then would need to go 2-1 the rest of the way.
Elkhorn is in the opposite boat. The Elks sit at 2-1 but have their toughest opponents yet to come. I really liked the fight I saw in watching this team Friday night. They might be a year away yet, but that’s certainly not the way they are thinking or playing. After a couple tough years, good for them.
The Week 8 game featuring Badger at Elkhorn might just wind up being a de facto playoff game, with the winner making the playoffs and the loser on the outside looking in.
Work to do
Milton’s final four weeks are intriguing. The Red Hawks play at Watertown and host Monona Grove over the next two weeks. Those teams are a combined 9-1 overall and are unbeaten in the Badger South.
Basically, Milton needs to spring an upset against one of those teams before playing at Fort Atkinson (0-5, 0-3) and hosting Edgewood (1-4, 0-3) in the final two weeks.
Brodhead/Juda got off to a 2-0 start but has lost three straight. A home upset against East Troy this week would go a long way to getting the Cardinals back to the postseason.
Big Foot, on the other hand, started 0-3 but has won two in a row.
Neither the Chiefs nor the Cardinals have a very easy schedule left, and yet they need to go 3-1. They also play each other in Week 8, with the winner likely keeping postseason hopes alive.
Delavan-Darien (Southern Lakes) and Clinton (Rock Valley) pretty much have to win out, and that’s probably not happening.
Janesville Parker, Evansville/Albany and Whitewater are all 0-5. Barring four straight victories and a spot for a 4-5 team, these teams will simply need to keep working to lay the foundation for future years.
Probably put Orfordville Parkview here, too. This season has been a wacky one, with the Vikings only playing three games (0-3). They were forced to forfeit due to lack of players in Week 1 and saw a road game called off due to flooding.