Prep football photo: Madison West's Jaden Stephens scores against Verona

Madison West's Jaden Stephens reaches for the end zone after avoiding the tackle attempt of Verona's Jacob Walton during the Regents' 23-17 victory over the Wildcats on Friday.

Larry ILes Creativefoto.net

All games 7 p.m. Friday

GAME OF THE WEEK

Madison La Follette (3-1, 3-1 Big Eight) vs. Madison West (3-1, 3-1) at Mansfield Stadium

After a 36-0 loss at Middleton in Week Three, coach Brad Murphy’s Regents righted the ship in a big way last week with a 23-17 victory over previously unbeaten Verona. As usual, senior running back Jaden Stephens led the way, rushing for 115 yards and two touchdowns, catching two passes for 31 yards and intercepting a pass.

Coach Scott Swanson’s Lancers are looking for a similar bounce-back this week after suffering their first loss of the season when previously winless Madison Memorial downed La Follette 28-26. The loss wasn’t due to a lack of rushing power, as junior quarterback Ray Broughton picked up 152 yards and one touchdown and junior running back Kayvion James-Ragland ran for 141 and two scores.

GAMES TO WATCH

Lodi (4-0) vs. Lake Mills (4-0) at Campus Field

It should be a heck of a Capitol North Conference season opener as the Blue Devils, ranked first in The Associated Press’ state poll for medium-sized schools, take on No. 6 Lake Mills. Lodi coach Dave Puls has made defense the trademark of his program, and the Blue Devils have lived up to that challenge this year, giving up 6.3 points and 178 yards per game. Senior linebacker Max Barreau leads the defense with 20 tackles, six for loss. But Lodi will face a unique challenge in Lake Mills senior quarterback Ben Dunkleberger, whose individual offensive numbers (1,095 yards passing with 14 TDs, 648 yards rushing with nine TDs) more than double Lodi’s season defensive totals. Hayden Iverson has caught 27 passes for 627 yards and 11 scores.

Middleton (3-1, 3-1 Big Eight) at Verona (3-1, 3-1)

Coach Tim Simon’s Middleton team seems to be putting its pieces together after a rash of early injuries contributed to a 34-6 loss at Sun Prairie in Week Two. The Cardinals have scored at least 36 points a game in their other three outings, routing Janesville Craig last week, 42-7. Seniors James Pabst (229 yards) and Dion Huff (203 yards) have led the running game and senior quarterback Davis Roquet has thrown for 578 yards and six TDs. Verona seemed to lose its punch, especially on offense, in last week’s home loss to Madison West. Aaron Young threw for 151 yards and two TDs, but the Wildcats were held to 42 yards rushing while allowing 252 yards on the ground. Senior defensive back Bui Clements returned a fumble for a touchdown against West.

Stoughton (4-0, 2-0 Badger South) at Monroe (2-2, 1-1)

The Vikings have looked better and better from week to week, scoring at least 33 points in every game and dismantling a tough Milton team last week, 35-7. Brady Schipper has returned from an early injury to run for 512 yards, and Jordan DiBenedetto has added 231 yards rushing. The two have combined for 11 TDs. Defending conference champion Monroe pulled out a 29-28 victory at Watertown last week as Dempzy Foley ran for a 2-yard touchdown with 56 seconds left and Jordan Montgomery ran for a 2-point conversion. The offensive outburst righted the Cheesemakers’ ship, as Monroe had scored seven points in each of its previous outings, losses to DeForest and Milton.

Jefferson (4-0, 4-0 Rock Valley) vs. Clinton (4-0, 4-0) at Clinton Middle School

Not only does the winner hold on to at least a share of the Rock Valley lead with a victory, the winner also will clinch a WIAA playoff berth. Coach Steve Gee’s Eagles stormed past Walworth Big Foot last week, 45-22, and have gotten 521 yards rushing and seven TDs from senior running back Evan Anfang. The Cougars have averaged 46.8 points per game while allowing an average of 14.0 per game, and senior running back Zach Krause has already rushed for 926 yards and eight TDs. The other co-leader in the Rock Valley, Beloit Turner (4-0, 4-0), also can clinch a playoff berth with a victory at Big Foot.

NOTABLE

Sun Prairie (4-0, 4-0 Big Eight) vs. Beloit Memorial (1-3, 1-3) at Jacobson Field, Beloit: Sun Prairie can clinch a WIAA playoff berth with a victory over the Purple Knights, who broke a 33-game Big Eight Conference losing streak with a 26-6 victory over Madison East last week.

Portage (2-2, 2-0 Badger North) at Waunakee (4-0, 4-0): Waunakee, ranked third overall among state large schools by The AP and No. 1 against WIAA Division 2 entries, has outscored its opponents by an average of 50.5-8.0 this year. So the good feelings earned by Portage with a 2-0 conference start might be shortlived. But the winner will hold sole possession of the conference lead. Waunakee running back L.O. Johnson sat out last week's victory over DeForest with a foot injury.

Dodgeville (3-1) at Prairie du Chien (4-0): This will be an explosive Southwest Wisconsin Conference season opener, as the Dodgers have averaged 30.7 points per game and the Blackhawks have averaged 27.3.

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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.