(All games 7 p.m. Friday)
GAME OF THE WEEK
Division 1 semifinal
Sun Prairie (12-0) vs. Muskego (9-3) at Hartland Arrowhead
Coach Brian Kaminski’s team, ranked second among Division 1 schools, has been dominant all season, winning each game by at least 22 points with an average score of 40.5 to 6.5. Eleven of their 12 wins have come against fellow Big Eight Conference teams, save for a 38-14 win over Wales Kettle Moraine in the second round of the playoffs.
Muskego, the only No. 4-seeded team still alive in the playoffs, has held its own in the deep and tough Classic 8 Conference, including a 21-14 win over Kettle Moraine in Week 5 en route to a third-place finish. Coach Ken Krause’s team has kicked things up to a new level in the playoffs, including last week’s 24-21 upset victory over Franklin that saw the Warriors wipe out a 21-0 halftime deficit.
Muskego runs an old-fashioned, Wing-T offense that heavily favors the run. So when junior quarterback A.J. Makinen threw a 35-yard touchdown pass to junior back R.J. Bosshart to tie Franklin with 2:33 remaining, it was only Muskego’s second TD pass of the year. Junior Lucas Amaya kicked the winning field goal from 37 yards out with 11 seconds to play.
The Warriors have attempted only 75 passes (6.3 per game). That might be a disappointment for a hungry Sun Prairie defense that has 21 interceptions, one for every 12 attempts by opponents. The defensive line, and the linebacker crew led by senior Marty Strey (78 tackles and 12 sacks), will have its hands full with a Muskego rushing attack that averages 315.8 yards per game (to 102.5 yards passing). Senior Cody Krause has run for 1,238 yards and 11 touchdowns, and Bosshart has 907 yards and 17 scores.
Sun Prairie senior Draven Peeples has rushed for 1,008 yards in nine games, scoring 16 of the Cardinals’ 29 rushing touchdowns. Senior quarterback Jack Zander has thrown for 1,839 yards and 27 touchdowns, with five interceptions. Junior Cooper Nelson has 31 catches for 707 yards and is one of five Cardinals receivers with four or five TDs. Senior Alex Oakley is one of the state’s best kickers, making seven of nine field-goal tries and all 49 of his extra-point kicks.
GAMES TO WATCH
Division 2 semifinal
Waunakee (12-0) vs. Green Bay Southwest (11-1) at Calder Field, Menasha
Southwest’s Fighting Trojans, coached by Tim Birr and Pat Wallace, are no strangers to the playoffs, with nine trips in the last 10 years. However, the only other time Southwest made it to the semifinals was 2011.
It took pure grit for Southwest to hold off Menomonie in a 16-14 quarterfinal victory last week. The Fighting Trojans managed only 109 yards of offense, and junior quarterback Nick Howard completed only one of nine passes for 10 yards. But he ran for a 6-yard touchdown that was the only score of the second half, and Southwest used four sacks and three turnovers — including junior Josh Yasha’s second pick, with less than a minute to play — to lock up the victory.
Despite his struggles against Menomonie, Howard has thrown for 2,004 yards and 22 scores, while rushing for 605 yards and six TDs. Senior Joshua Komis has run for 1,287 yards and 17 TDs.
Whether on paper or on the field, Waunakee — the state’s top-ranked Division 2 team — has been a fearful force for opponents to deal with. Coach Pat Rice’s team has averaged 51.3 points per game while allowing 6.2, recording five shutouts and winning each game by at least 21 points.
The Warriors have rushed for 2,896 yards and 50 touchdowns, with senior Javian Dayne totaling 2,000 yards on 234 carries (an 8.5 average) with 29 touchdowns. Senior L.O. Johnson, the reigning state champion in the 100-meter dash, has 567 yards and 10 scores. Senior Nate Carter has completed 64.2 percent of his passes for 1,942 yards and 24 more scores, with six interceptions.
It adds up to a season total of 4,858 yards, an average of 405 yards per game. Defensively, Waunakee has given up only 751 rushing yards and 1,188 passing yards for an average of 162 yards per game, with 15 interceptions. The Warriors’ top six defenders have combined for 78 tackles for loss. Junior lineman Reed Ryan has 14 sacks and senior lineman Nolan Thole has 12.
Division 4 semifinal
Greendale Martin Luther (8-4) vs. Lodi (12-0) at Waukesha North
Seeded No. 6 in its eight-team playoff quadrant, coach Rick Hoppert’s Spartans are the lowest-seeded team still alive among the 28 semifinal teams. Martin Luther, the third-place team in the Metro Classic Conference, has made the playoffs eight times since 2005, but had won just two games in that span before beating University School of Milwaukee, Kiel and Two Rivers by a combined score of 107-58 this year.
The Spartans opened a 25-3 halftime lead before struggling in the second half of last week’s 31-23 victory at Two Rivers. Junior quarterback Nik Mueller threw for three first-half touchdowns and a total of 214 yards, giving him 1,243 yards and 15 touchdowns on the season. Junior Darios Crawley-Reid picked up 140 yards and two TDs last week, giving him 2,108 yards and 37 touchdowns on the year. Crawley-Reid also leads the defense with 91 tackles, seven for loss, and three interceptions.
Lodi hung a 35-0 hurting on Lake Mills last week, the second time the Blue Devils have beaten the L-Cats — who lost to nobody else all year. The defense bottled up triple-threat quarterback Ben Dunkleberger, holding Lake Mills to 27 yards rushing and 118 yards passing, with three turnovers — including two interceptions by senior Dominic Scola. Junior linebacker Austin Soehle had eight tackles and 1.5 sacks, and senior Max Barreau delivered seven tackles, one sack and two forced fumbles.
And the offense didn’t need to look anywhere but the chugging legs of senior Jacob Heyroth, who rushed for 392 yards and four touchdowns on 35 carries (an 11.2-yard average) against the L-Cats. He now has 2,617 yards and 34 touchdowns on the season, and Lodi averages 313.5 yards rushing, 394.9 yards overall and 40.9 points per game.
Division 7 semifinal
Black Hawk (12-0) vs. Fall River (11-1) at Middleton
Coach Cory Milz and his Six Rivers Conference champion Warriors have averaged 50.9 points per game, while allowing 8.3 per game. Black Hawk’s average halftime lead has been 35.7 to 2.7. Senior Brody Milz has rushed for 1,498 yards and 25 touchdowns and junior Colby Argall has added 1,292 yards and 23 scores. Both average about 10 yards per carry. Milz also leads the defense with 126 tackles and 6.5 sacks.
Coach Joe Zander’s Fall River Pirates lost only to Wild Rose in a non-conference Week 2 game, and since have outscored opponents by an average of 29.4 to 12.8 per game. Junior Davyn Braker has rushed for 1,108 yards and 14 touchdowns, and junior Luke Figol has thrown for 792 yards and 11 TDs and rushed for 565 yards and 13 more scores.
The winner will meet either Bangor (12-0) or Abbotsford (10-2) in the state final at 10 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 16, at Camp Randall Stadium.
— Art Kabelowsky