GAME OF THE WEEK (Sept. 24–30)
Benton (14–3–1) at River Ridge (13–1–1), at Patch Grove, Thursday, Sept. 24, 7:15 p.m.
The league-leading Zephyrs (14–3–1, 6–0 Six Rivers West) travel to Patch Grove to face reigning conference champion River Ridge (13–1–1, 5–1) tonight at 7:15 p.m. in a key Six Rivers West showdown. Benton (6–0 in SRW) handed the Timberwolves (5–1 in SRW) their only loss of the season and grabbed the upper hand in the race for this year's conference title with a five-set victory (25–17, 22–25, 25–13, 24–26, 15–11) on Sept. 1.
Sophomore Emma Lawrence had 19 kills, 22 digs and four blocks in Benton's win over Ridge three weeks ago. Senior Montanna Burmeister passed out 44 assists in the win.
Senior Bridgette Myers had 19 kills, 14 assists, eight digs and three aces to lead the Timberwolves in the loss. Classmate Amber Patterson had nine kills and nine blocks in the match.
Lawrence and Myers will once again be the focal point of tonight's rematch. Lawrence has 224 kills, 239 digs, 67 total blocks and 37 aces — all team highs — in 18 matches this year. Freshman Sophie Dougherty is second on the team with 96 kills, more than 100 less than Lawrence. She also has 34 blocks. Burmeister leads the team with 414 assists and has 177 digs in coach Russell Hamm's 5–1 attack.
Myers, the reigning Six Rivers West Player of the Year, leads the Timberwolves with 208 kills, 109 assists, 100 digs and 16 aces in 15 matches this year. Freshman Langmeier Taylor has 93 kills, 143 assists and 73 digs in Ridge's 6–2 lineup. Patterson has 63 kills and a team-high 42 blocks this year.
Benton went 2–2 Saturday to third at its own five-team invitational, behind SWAL-leading, undefeated Southwestern and Warren, Ill. River Ridge is fresh off a 25–16, 25–12, 25–21 sweep of Cassville on Monday after winning the four-team Cassville Quadrangular on Saturday.
Mineral Point (4–1, 2–1) at Iowa–Grant (4–1, 3–0), Friday 7 p.m., WEKZ (93.7 FM)
Friday night forecast: 68 degrees, mostly cloudy, wind 3 mph NE
Coach Gary Allen's Panthers will look to stay unbeaten against the one-loss Pointers. Iowa–Grant could take another step toward legitimacy with a win over Point, or fall a game off the blistering pace set by league-leading Darlington (5–0, 3–0 SWAL). Iowa–Grant travels Darlington on the final night of the regular season, but the Panthers have Fennimore, Cuba City and Friday's game with Mineral Point as potential hurdles in the way before then.
Senior halfback Brayden Johnson, who didn't even play football a year ago, is the key to I–G's offensive attack that is averaging 38.0 points per game through the first five games. Johnson leads the conference in both rushing and scoring with 908 yards and 15 touchdowns on 166 carries. Junior quarterback Caleb Hill has completed 33 of 62 passes (53.2 percent) for 496 yards, five TDs and three interceptions. His favorite target is converted quarterback Isaac Anderson, who has used his lanky 6-foot, 4-inch frame to haul in 14 passes for 289 yards and four TDs. Sophomore linebacker Clayton Kite leads the defense with 36 total tackles.
The Panthers are coming off a 30–6 win at Southwestern. I–G opened conference play with back-to-back blowouts of Boscobel, 56–12, and Riverdale, 49–6, but the conference freebies are over now for Allen's club.
Last Friday, coach Andy Palzkill's Pointers thumped Riverdale 48–12 in a nice bounce-back win after getting trounced by Darlington 57–21 on Sept. 11.
Three-year starting quarterback Scott Pittz is the heart-and-soul of the Pointer spead attack. He has completed 21 of 48 passes for 375 yards, six TDs and four interceptions. He has also rushed for a team-high 305 yards and 11 TDs on 52 carries. A year ago he passed for 2,724 yards and 25 TDs in 11 games.
OTHER WEEK 6 PREP FOOTBALL MATCHUPS
Lancaster (2–3, 1–0 SWC) at River Valley (5–0, 1–0), Friday, 7 p.m., WGLR 97.7 FM
Platteville (1–4, 0–1) at Richland Center (0–5, 0–1), Friday, 7 p.m., Xtreme 107.1 FM
Dodgeville (0–5, 0–1) at Prairie du Chien (3–2, 1–0), Friday, 7 p.m., WPRE (980 AM, 104.3 FM)
Boscobel (2–3, 0–3 SWAL) at Darlington (5–0, 3–0), Friday, 7 p.m.
Cuba City (4–1, 2–1) at Riverdale (1–4, 0–3), Friday, 7 p.m.
Southwestern (1–4, 1–2 SWAL) at Fennimore (2–3, 1–2), Friday, 7 p.m.
Black Hawk (4–1, 3–1 Six Rivers) at Cassville (3–2, 3–1), Friday, 7 p.m.
Highland (2–3, 2–2) at Pecatonica/Argyle (5–0, 4–0), Saturday 2 p.m., WPVL (1590 AM), WEKZ (93.7 FM), www.south78radio.com
Benton/Scales Mound (3–2, 2–2) at Potosi (3–2, 3–2), Friday, 7 p.m.
Belmont (2–3) at New Lisbon (4–0), Friday, 7 p.m. (Non-conference)
River RIdge (0–5, 0–5) at Shullsburg (1–4, 1–4), Saturday, 2 p.m., Xtreme 107-1, 102.1 FM
Cashton (2–3, 1–2 SBC) at Hillsboro (5–0, 2–0 SBC), Friday, 7 p.m.
Ridge & Valley
North Crawford (0–5, 0–3 RVC) at Wonewoc–Center (1–4, 1–1), Friday, 7 p.m.
Weston (2–3, 2–1) at Wauzeka/Seneca (0–5, 0–2), Friday, 7 p.m.
Kickapoo/La Farge (2–3, 2–1) at Ithaca (5–0, 2–0), Friday, 7 p.m.
Mineral Point at Southwestern, Tuesday, Sept. 29, 7:15 p.m.
Jane Wills' undefeated Wildcats (15–0–1, 5–0 SWAL) will look to stay unbeaten in SWAL play when they host third-place Mineral Point (11–7, 4–2). The Pointers hope to pull off the upset and get back in the race for this year's SWAL title.
Prep Cross Country:
Fennimore Invitational, Saturday, Sept. 26, 8:30 a.m.
The Golden Eagles will host an 18-team invitational Saturday morning. Belleville, Boscobel, Brookwood, Cashton, Cassville, Hillsboro, Lake Mills, Lancaster, Lodi, New Glarus, Richland Center, Riverdale, Tri-State Home, Viroqua, Wauzeka-Steuben, West Salem and Western Dubuque are all scheduled to participate.