GAME OF THE WEEK (Nov. 10–Nov. 16)
WIAA FOOTBALL PLAYOFFS: This week’s area games
#1 Darlington (12–0) vs. #1 Saint Mary’s Springs (12–0), at Waukesha North H.S., Friday, Nov. 11, 7 p.m. (WGLR 97.7 FM)
The second-ranked Redbirds steam-rolled through previously unbeaten Six Rivers Conference champion Pecatonica/Argyle (12–1) last Friday night 42–6 to advance to Friday’s WIAA Division 6 state semifinal against top-ranked Fond du Lac Saint Mary’s Springs.
The Redbirds and Ledgers are familiar foes having met in each of the last three years in the playoffs. Darlington defeated the Ledgers in a 2013 Division 6 state semifinal game 28–22, while St. Mary’s Springs has claimed the past two D6 state titles with 37–28 and 39–20 victories over the Redbirds.
“They’re an awesome team,” said Darlington head coach Scott Zywicki. “They don’t have any weaknesses that you can see. The big thing with them is their consistency. They have a large line with excellent athletes everywhere. They have a QB who delivers the ball on time and receivers who catch everything thrown their way, two running backs who are both thought and fast, and a defense that is physical and limits big plays. They have been battle-tested and have come out smelling like a rose. It’ll be quite a challenge for us.”
QB Blake Bauer has thrown for 1,655 yards and 13 touchdowns this season with just four interceptions. Fintan Floyd has rushed for 1,550 yards and 22 TDs, while Clay Schueffner has rushed for 903 yards and 19 TDs. Mitch Waechter has 42 catches for 649 yards and three touchdowns, and Josh Moul has 31 catches for 599 yards and five TDs.
The winner of Friday’s game earns a return trip to Camp Randall to face the winner of Eau Claire Regis (12–0) and Abbotsford (12–0) in the D6 state championship Thursday, Nov. 17 at 1 p.m.0
#2 Shullsburg (11–2) vs. Hilbert/Stockridge (12–0), at Middleton, Friday, Nov. 11, 7 p.m. (Xtreme 106.1 FM)
Shullsburg reached the state semifinals for the second time in school history with a 22–7 victory over Six Rivers Conference rival Highland in a WIAA Division 7 Level III playoff game last Friday night. Ironically, the first time was in 1996, when the Miners lost a WIAA Division 6 state semifinal contest to Hilbert, 35–15.
After playing at home through the first three rounds of the playoffs against conference foes, the Miners will leave the comforts of Badger Park and head to Middleton to face fourth-ranked and Hilbert/Stockbridge in a Level IV showdown at Middleton’s Breitenbach Stadium Friday at 7 p.m.
The undefeated Wolves hail from the 11-team Big East Conference and shared the league title with Ozaukee with an 8–0 conference record. They didn’t have to place Ozaukee, which lost to Saint Mary’s Springs in a Level 3 D6 playoff game last Friday, or third-place Cedar Grove–Belgium, which is still alive in the D5 playoffs, during the regular season.
The Wolves are led by dual-threat senior quarterback Jack Halbach, who has rushed for 978 yards and 16 TDs and thrown for 669 yards and 14 touchdowns this year. Running back Ben Lau leads the team with 1,146 yards rushing and 19 touchdowns.
“They will run out of the Wing-T part of the time an a funky spread part of the time,” said Shullsburd head coach Scott Matye. “We will have to play fast and physical and be able to tackle another running quarterback. On defense they really come to you. The last two teams they play ran a pistol offense, so we will be something different.”
Hilbert/Stockridge reached Friday’s state semifinal with a 20–10 victory over Cambria–Friesland last week.
The winner of Friday’s game advances to meet either Edgar (9–3) or defending state champion Bangor (12–0) in the D7 state championship game at Camp Randall Stadium on Thursday, Nov. 17 at 10 a.m.
#1 River Valley (9–2) vs. Two Rivers (10–2), at Hartland Arrowhead High School Friday, Nov. 11, 7 p.m.
The Southwest Wisconsin Conference tri-champion Blackhawks defeated third-seeded Lake Mills (8–4) 33–27 last Friday to advance to Friday’s WIAA Division 4 state semifinal game. Senior quarterback Elijah Alt accounted 310 yards of offense and five touchdowns in the win. He completed 13 of 16 passes for 154 yards and two touchdowns and also rushed for a game-high 156 yards and three TDs on 30 carries. Alt completed a 57-yard TD pass to Derek Wedige early in the first quarter then scored on a 41-yard run. He added a 7-yard touchdown pass to Ryan Wickman late in the second half to make it 19–7. After Lake Mills pulled within a point, Alt scored on runs of 4 and 1 yard in the fourth quarter to make it 33–20.
Two Rivers advanced to Friday’s state semifinal with a 24–21 victory over Kiel (8–4) last week. The Pirates finished second in the Eastern Wisconsin Conference at 5–2 behind Sheboygan Falls (7–0). Senior quarterback Dawson Kiphart completed 175 of 307 passes for 2,165 yards and 24 TDs with four interceptions.
WIAA SWIMMING: Division 2 State Championships, (at UW Natatorium),
Friday, Nov. 11, 6 p.m.
Platteville/Lancaster freshman Maddy Albert-Nelson will compete in the WIAA Division 2 state girls swimming state championships Friday night at the UW Natatorium in Madison. Albert-Nelson earned her spot with an eighth-place finish in the 100-yard butterfly at last Saturday’s WIAA D2 Baraboo sectional with a new freshman team record time of 1:01.83. She enters state as the 16th seed in the event.