GAME OF THE WEEK (Oct. 12–18)
PREP FOOTBALL: Lancaster (7–1, 4–0 SWC, #7 D5) at Platteville (7–1, 3–1 SWC, #9 D4), Friday, 7 p.m., WGLR (97.7 FM)
Just like a year ago, the Southwest Wisconsin Conference title won’t be decided until the final night of the regular season. A year ago Platteville routed Lancaster 34–7 to force a three-way share of the SWC crown. The Hillmen can write the exact same script with a win over the visiting Flying Arrows in Friday’s McDonald’s SWnews4U.com Game of the Week. This year's game will come down to which defense can make a stop, as both teams enter the contest with high-powered record-breaking offenses.
Lancaster enters the game ranked seventh in Division 5 and riding record-breaking rushing performances of senior fullback Evan Gates to a seven-game winning streak. Gates rushed for 238 yards and four TDs in last week’s 37–12 Homecoming win over Dodgeville and in the process became Lancaster’s all-time leading rusher. He now has 4,349 career yards, eclipsing Trevor Landon’s previous mark of 4,277, and 56 TDs. Earlier this year Gates broke single-game records with 50 carries, 387 yards rushing and 403 all-purpose yards in a 62–27 victory at Prairie du Chien and before that he matched a single-game school record with seven rushing touchdowns in a 56–34 non-conference win over Westby. Last year, Gates led the state in rushing with 2,287 yards (a single-season school record) and 27 TDs on 285 carries. He has rushed for 1,671 yards and 27 TDs on 226 carries so far this year.
The Arrows’ offense appears rather one-dimensional for the second year in a row, but only River Valley has been able to contain Gates (91 yards this year) the past two seasons. Senior quarterback Evan Straka is second on the team with 563 yards and six TDs on 79 carries. He has also completed 32 of 68 passes for 432 yards, 4 TDs and three interceptions. Damian Kauffman (48 tackles), Gabe Hudson (43 tackles, 8 TFL) and Ethan Klar (43 tackles, 8 TFL) led the Lancaster defense. Lancaster is averaging 37.8 points per game while allowing 14.5 per game. The Arrows’ only loss was an 18–13 loss to Fennimore in the season opener.
Meanwhile, Platteville and first year head coach Ryley Bailey enter Friday’s showdown ranked ninth in Division four, after posting back-to-back shutouts against River Valley and Dodgeville, after a stunning 21–14 loss to Prairie du Chien three weeks ago.
The Platteville offense is led by a pair of senior record breakers in quarterback Ethan Bernhardt and wide receiver Donovan Blevins. Bernhardt has completed 131 of 194 passes for 1,968 yards and single-season school record 29 TDs in Bailey’s wide open spread attack. Bernhardt has thrown touchdown passes to six different receivers this year and is also the school’s all-time leader with 48 TD passes.
Blevins, who missed much of last year with an ankle injury, broke Jesse Baker’s single-season touchdown reception record of 15 with a pair of TD grabs in Platteville’s 34–0 Homecoming victory over River Valley. Blevins leads the team with 48 receptions for 983 yards (only three off Baker’s single-season yardage record) and 16 TDs. He is also closing in on career records for receptions, receiving yards and TDs. Sophomore Trevor Heim (45 tackles, 3 sacks) and senior Coleman Brecke (39 tackles, 10.5 TFL) led the Hillmen defense, which has four shutouts this year. Platteville is averaging 40.3 points per game while allowing 10.9 points per game.
Other Week 5 area games (all games, Friday, 7 p.m.)
Richland Center (0–8, 0–4) at Dodgeville (3–5, 0–4)
River Valley (4–4, 2–3) at Prairie du Chien (8–1, 3–1)
Boscobel (1–7, 1–4) at Darlington (3–5, 2–3) — Darlington clinches a playoff berth with a win
Cuba City (6–2, 5–0, #4 D6) at Iowa–Grant (4–4, 2–3), WPVL (1590 AM) — Cuba clinches outright title with a win. IG needs a win to become playoff eligible
Southwestern (2–6, 0–5) at Mineral Point (6–2, 4–1)
Six Rivers Conference
River Ridge (4–4, 3–3) at Benton/Scales Mound (3–5, 2–4), WPVL (107.1 FM) — Ridge clinches a playoff berth with a win
Highland (3–5, 2–4) at Belmont (2–6, 0–6)
Shullsburg (1–7, 1–5) at Black Hawk (8–0, 6–0, #3 D7) — Black Hawk clinches outright SRC title with a win
Orfordville–Parkview (0–8) at Fennimore (6–2)
Necedah (1–7) at Pecatonica/Argyle (6–2)
Kickapoo/La Farge (1–7) at Potosi/Cassville (6–2)
PREP VOLLEYBALL: WIAA Regionals Quarterfinals, Tuesday, Oct. 17, 7 p.m.
The WIAA volleyball playoffs begin Tuesday night around the state. Here is a look at the first-round pairings of area teams.
DIVISION 2 ADAMS–FRIENDSHIP SECTIONAL
#1 Mount Horeb has a bye
#5 Sauk Prairie at #4 River Valley
#6 Monroe at #3 Richland Center
#7 Dodgeville at #2 Platteville, WPVL (1590 AM)
DIVISION 3, DODGELAND SECTIONAL
#16 New Glarus at #1 Cuba City
#8 Boscobel at #9 Marshall
#12 Parkview at #5 Darlington
#13 Deerfield at #4 Brodhead
#14 Fennimore at #3 Waterloo
#11 Prairie du Chien at #6 Belleville
#10 Cambridge at #7 Mineral Point
#15 Lancaster at #2 Wisconsin Heights
DIVISION 4 WAUZEKA–STEUBEN SECTIONAL
#16 De Soto at #1 Seneca
#9 Wauzeka–Steube at #8 Highland
#12 Ithaca at #5 Iowa–Grant
#13 Riverdale at #4 Southestern
#14 Belmont at #3 Benton, WPVL (107.1 FM)
#11 Cassville at #6 Potosi, KIYX (106.1 FM)
#10 North Crawford at #7 Kickapoo
#15 Shullsburg at #2 River Ridge, WGLR (97.7 FM)
PREP CROSS COUNTRY: Southwest Wisconsin Conference Championships, at Dodgeville, Thursday, Oct. 12, 4:30 p.m.
Dodgeville/Mineral Point is the favorite to repeat as boys’ champion. Prairie du Chien, Dodge–Point and Lancaster will challenge for the girls’ crown. Dodge–Point senior Juan Navarro and sophomore Henry Keith are the favorites for the boys’ individual title. They finished third and fourth respectively at last year’s conference meet. Defending champion Lancaster junior Lydia Murphy is the favorite to repeat as the girls’ individual champ. Also keep an eye on Prairie du Chien junior Amber Huser and Lancaster freshman Kristin Muench.
Participating teams include: Dodgeville/Mineral Point, Lancaster, Platteville, Prairie du Chien, Richland Center/Ithaca, River Valley.
PREP CROSS COUNTRY — Southwest Wisconsin Activities League Championships, at Iowa–Grant, Thursday, Oct. 12, 4:30 p.m.
Darlington is favored to repeat as SWAL champions in both the boys’ and girls’ races. Darlington junior Payton Heinberg is the reigning boys’ SWAL champion and is the front-runner to retain the crown. Fennimore sophomore Ian Barry missed his team’s last two meets, but may give Heinberg a run for his money. Darlington’s Reghan Komprood and Ilse Mendez, Albany’s Emma Guenther, Boscobel's Grace Glasbrenner and Fennimore’s Lauryn Bunn will lead the pack in the girls’ race.
Participating teams include: Albany, Boscobel, Darlington, Fennimore, Iowa–Grant, Pecatonica/Argyle, Riverdale, Southwestern/Cuba City/Benton.
PREP BOYS SOCCER: Dodgeville/Mineral Point (4–6–3, 4–2–1 SWC) at Platteville/Lancaster (6–6–4, 4–0–3 SWC), Thursday, Oct. 12, 5 p.m.
The Hillmen need a win in today’s Senior Night regular season finale to claim the outright Southwest Wisconsin Conference title. A tie would give the Platteville/Lancaster co-op a share of the crown with River Valley (7–4–2, 5–1–2), which wrapped up its conference schedule with a 7–3 victory over Dodge–Point on Tuesday. The Hillmen and senior goalie Michael Prestegard blanked the host Dodgers 3–0 in a makeup game on Saturday. Prestegard has four shutouts this year and will need another solid performance this afternoon to lead Coach Brandon Pink’s Hillmen to a conference title.