sp fenderson 8-26

Sun Prairie's Orlando Fenderson breaks the tackle of Middleton's Cole Ragsdale. 


(All games 7 p.m. Friday)


Madison La Follette (4-4, 4-4 Big Eight) vs. Sun Prairie (8-0, 8-0) at Cardinal Heights Upper Middle School

Both teams have a lot on the line here. La Follette must win to earn a guaranteed playoff berth; should they lose, the Lancers would have to hope for a fill-in selection as a sub-.500 conference finisher. And Sun Prairie, ranked No. 3 in the state by The Associated Press, would lock in a No. 1 playoff seeding and a presumably easier path on the road to Camp Randall Stadium.

These teams have recent history, as well. Last year, Sun Prairie earned a 31-7 win at La Follette in Week 9 — only to lose to the Lancers at home, 40-13, the very next week in their playoff opener.

This season, the Cardinals have been nothing short of dominant. They have averaged 41.4 points while allowing 5.1 points per game, and only 2.9 points after the first quarter. They have outrun opponents, 1,357 yards to 352, and out-passed them, 1,185 to 674. Jack Zander has completed 57 percent of his passes for 1,112 yards and 19 touchdowns, and senior running back Draven Peeples, who missed three early games, has averaged 99 yards rushing per game since. Wisconsin walk-on recruit Marty Strey, a senior linebacker, has 46 tackles, 14 for loss, along with two fumble recoveries.

La Follette beat winless Madison East last week, 28-13, to snap a four-game losing streak that followed a 3-0 start. The top rushers have been junior Kayvion James-Ragland (571 yards, seven TDs) and senior Jacob Hendrix (562 yards). Senior linebacker Gavin Parr has 96 tackles.


Janesville Craig (4-4, 4-4 Big Eight) at Verona (5-3, 5-3)

Craig needs a win to guarantee its first playoff berth since 2014, after its three-game winning streak was snapped by Madison West last week, 26-19. Verona is already in the playoffs but would like to wipe the slate clean after being dominated by Sun Prairie last week, 31-9, to snap a two-game winning streak.

Watertown (4-4, 3-3 Badger South) at Monona Grove (8-0, 6-0)

Watertown must pull off a colossal upset to clinch a playoff berth. Birds and low-flying aircraft are urged to steer clear of John Klement Stadium, as this game has been billed as a meeting of All-State quarterback candidates. Both stars have lived up to the billing. Monona Grove senior Alec Ogden has completed 69 percent of his passes for 2,003 yards and 25 touchdowns, with only two interceptions. Watertown senior QB Dylan Fagerland has thrown for 2,420 yards and 22 touchdowns at a 58.6 percent rate, but has been picked off 18 times. Monona Grove has averaged 50.5 points per game while allowing 24.0. Senior running back Jackson Thomsen has rushed for 930 yards and 17 TDs for MG, and Ogden has run for 501 yards and nine scores.

Oregon (5-2, 4-2 Badger South) at Monroe (4-4, 3-3)

The Panthers already have locked up a playoff berth, but 2016 league champion Monroe needs to win to guarantee a spot. Oregon looked sharp last week in a 35-7 throttling of Watertown, as senior Kardelle Phillips rushed for 141 yards and three touchdowns and senior quarterback Cedric Girard ran for one TD and threw for another score. … Monroe has righted its ship of late, winning two in a row after dropping four out of their previous five.

Beaver Dam (4-4, 4-2 Badger North) at Waunakee (8-0, 6-0), 7 p.m.

Both teams will be able to tune up for the playoffs, as they’ve locked in their berths, but the Golden Beavers would love to put the brakes on Waunakee’s steamroller in the regular-season finale. Coach Pat Rice’s Warriors have outpaced opponents by an average score of 55-6, including a rushing advantage of 1,618 to 602 and a passing edge of 1,349 yards to 700. Senior Javian Dayne has run for 1,116 yards and 18 TDs, and senior Nate Carter has completed 68 percent of his throws for 1,320 yards and 17 scores, with three interceptions.

Watertown Luther Prep (4-4, 2-4 Capitol North) at Lakeside Lutheran (5-3, 2-4)

The playoffs start early for the Phoenix and Warriors. The winner of Friday’s game gets to lock in a playoff spot, and the loser will almost certainly be left out of the field.

Cambridge (6-2, 3-0 Capitol South) at New Glarus/Monticello (5-3, 2-1)

Cambridge has clinched at least a share of the Capitol South title, but the Glarner Knights could earn a share — and a guaranteed playoff spot — with a victory.

Pardeeville (6-2, 4-1 Trailways Large) at Markesan (7-1, 5-0)

Both teams already have guaranteed playoff berths, but the Bulldogs can earn a tie for the Trailways Large Conference title with a win.

Oshkosh Lourdes (6-2, 5-1 Trailways Small) at Deerfield (3-5, 3-3)

The host Demons need to knock off the Knights to earn a locked-in playoff spot.


Wisconsin State Journal prep sports editor Art Kabelowsky has traversed the state to cover sports while working for daily papers in Fort Atkinson, Racine, La Crosse, Milwaukee and Baraboo.