GAME OF THE WEEK (Oct. 15–21)
Friday night forecast: 41 degrees, partly cloudy, wind NNW 5 mph
The playoffs start a week early for Zephyrs and the Cardinals in this week's McDonald's Game of the Week.
Benton/Scales Mound travels to Highland's Tyler Field on Friday with a playoff berth on the line for both teams. The winner becomes playoff eligible and qualifies for the WIAA 224-team postseason field, while the loser will miss the playoffs this season.
The Zephyrs kept their playoff hopes alive by ruining Belmont's postseason chances with a 29–28 Six Rivers Conference victory last Friday night at Benton's Swift Park. Senior quarterback Kyle Wienen ran for two touchdown and threw for two others to lead Benton/Scales Mound to its first victory since week three. A win this Friday would give the Zephyrs their first playoff berth since 2010.
Senior Kyle Pulvermacher rushed for 115 yards on 20 carries in the win. Jalen Phillips caught four passes for 64 yards, including his first two touchdowns of his career.
"We need to have a great focused week of practice," said Zephyrs head coach Matt Wiederholt. "It's going to be one heck of a game. It's the last game of the season so there is nothing left to save."
Meanwhile, the Cardinals kept their playoff hopes alive with a wild 56–49 come-from-behind victory over Shullsburg last Friday night. Junior quarterback John Ross Linscheid scored from 16 yards out with three seconds remaining to lift Highland to victory, completing the comeback from a 34–14 halftime deficit. The Cardinals outscored the Miners 22–8 in the fourth quarter and 42–15 in the second half. Linscheid finished the game with 317 yards and six touchdowns rushing and 123 yards passing and one more score.
OTHER WEEK 9 PREP FOOTBALL MATCHUPS
Lancaster (4–4, 3–1 SWC) at Platteville (3–5, 2–2), Friday 7 p.m., WGLR 97.7 FM
Lancaster is playing for an outside shot at a sixth straight conference crown. With a win and a Prairie du Chien loss to River Valley, the Arrows would finish in a three-way tie as league champions with PdC and Valley. The Hillmen are fighting for their playoff lives. They must win to become playoff eligible.
River Valley (7–1, 3–1) at Prairie du Chien (6–2, 4–0), WPRE (980 AM, 104.3 FM)
Prairie du Chien (ranked ninth in Division 5) can claim the outright SWC title with a win in the battle of Blackhawks. River Valley (ranked eighth in Division 5) can grab a share of the title with a victory. PdC claimed at least a share of its first conference football title since 1988 by scoring 15 points in the final three minutes to stun Lancaster 45–44 last week.
Richland Center (0–8, 0–4) at Dodgeville (0–8, 0–4), Friday, 7 p.m.
Iowa–Grant (5–3, 4–2 SWAL) at Darlington (8–0, 5–0), Friday, 7 p.m., WEKZ (93,7 FM)
The Redbirds (ranked number one in Division 6) can cap an unbeaten regular season and claim a third-straight outright SWAL title with a win. The Panthers are looking to improved their playoff seeding with a huge upset. Iowa–Grant qualified for the postseason with a 22–12 win over Fennimore two weeks ago.
Cuba City (7–1, 5–1) at Boscobel (3–5, 1–5), Friday, 7 p.m.
The Cubans (ranked ninth in Division 6) can grab a share of the SWAL crown with a win and a Darlington loss to Iowa–Grant.
Mineral Point (6–2, 4–2) at Southwestern (2–6, 2–4), Friday, 7 p.m.
Mineral Point clinched a playoff berth with last week's 35–18 win over Boscobel.
Fennimore (3–5, 2–4) at Riverdale (1–7, 0–6), Friday, 7 p.m.
Both teams have already been eliminated from playoff contention. This will be Riverdale's last football game in the SWAL. The Chieftains are moving to the Ridge and Valley for football beginning next fall.
Pecatonica/Argyle (8–0, 7–0 Six Rivers) at Shullsburg (3–5, 2–4), Friday, 7 p.m.
The undefeated Vikings (ranked second in Division 6) claimed the Six Rivers title a 40–0 shutout of second-place Cassville last Friday. Shullsburg has already been eliminated from postseason contention.
Belmont (2–6, 2–5) at Cassville (5–3, 5–2), Friday, 7 p.m.
The Comets look to bounce back from last week's loss to Pec/Argyle. They have already clinched a postseason berth.
River Ridge (0–8, 0–7) at Black Hawk (5–3, 4–3), South Wayne, Friday, 7 p.m.
Caston (4–4) at Potosi (6–2), non-conference, Friday, 7 p.m.
The Chieftains, ranked eighth in Division 7, have won six straight games since back-to-back losses to Pec/Argyle and Cassville to open the season.
Royall (2–6, 0–5 SBC) at Hillsboro (6–2, 3–2), Friday, 7 p.m.
RIDGE & VALLEY
Wonewoc–Center (2–6, 2–3 RVC) at Ithaca (8–0, 5–0), Friday, 7 p.m.
The undefeated Bulldogs are ranked fourth in Division 7.
Kickapoo/La Farge (2–6, 2–3) at Weston (3–4, 3–2), Friday, 7 p.m.
Wauzeka/Seneca (0–8, 0–5) at De Soto (6–2, 4–1), Friday, 7 p.m.
Montello/Princeton/Green Lake (6–2) at North Crawford (2–6), non-conference, Friday, 7 p.m.
WIAA regional quarterfinals, Tuesday, 7 p.m.
The WIAA regional playoffs for all divisions begin Tuesday night. For a list of first-round matches clink on the link. http://www.swnews4u.com/section/113/article/28907/
Cuba City (26–6–3, 10–1 SWAL) at Darlington (13–7–3, 5–6 SWAL), Thursday, 7:15 p.m.
The WIAA playoffs begin on Tuesday, but there are conference titles to be won before then. The Cubans can claim a share of the SWAL crown with a victory over the Redbirds. Cuba City pulled into a first-place tie with Southwestern with a 25–16, 25–20, 25–8 sweep of the Wildcats on Tuesday, Oct. 6.
Southwestern (20–1–1, 10–1 SWAL) at Riverdale (10–16, 4–7 SWAL), Thursday, 7:15 p.m.
The Wildcats can claim a share of the SWAL crown with a victory over the Chieftains. Southwestern and Riverdale have not met this year.
Cassville (9–12–2, 4–7 Six Rivers West) at River Ridge (18–1–1, 10–1 SRW), Thursday, 7:15 p.m.
The Timberwolves claimed at least a share of this year's Six Rivers West title with a victory over Belmont on Tuesday night. Ridge, which has now won 13 straight matches, can claim the outright title with a win over the Comets. Benton (18–5–1, 10–2) is holding out hope of a Cassville upset as the Zephyrs can earn a share of the SRW title with a River RIdge loss. Benton closed out the regular season Tuesday with a 3–1 win over Cassville.
PREP CROSS COUNTRY:
SWC Cross Country Championships, at Richland Center, Today, 5 p.m.
Teams: Dodgeville/Mineral Point, Lancaster, Platteville, Prairie du Chien, Richland Center/Ithaca, Richland Center
The Platteville boys and Dodgeville/Mineral Point girls are the favorites to claim this year's team titles. Platteville senior Vince Momot and Lancaster freshman Lydia Murphy are the front-runners for this year's individual championships.
SWAL Cross Country Championships, at Darlington, Today, 4:30 p.m.
Teams: Albany, Boscobel, Cassville, Darlington, Fennimore, Iowa–Grant, Pecatonica/Argyle, Riverdale and Southwestern/Cuba City/Benton
The Redbirds are favored to repeat as team champions for both the boys and girls. Darlington has won both team titles for seven straight seasons under Hall of Fame coach Arnie Miehe. Boscobel senior Dakota Kauffman and Darlington senior Jaden Komprood will battle it out for the boys' individual title. Albany sophomore Emma Guenther and Boscobel junior Mackenzie Kauffman are the girls' favorites.