This week Brookwood. The last time the Falcons visited the hill, they arrived in Level 3 with a 10-1 record & lost 47-12. This year they visit with a record of 4-5 & a 4th-place finish in the Scenic Bluff Conference. All five of their losses were to playoff qualifiers. Now before we get too far ahead of ourselves, this is really all you need to know…in three of those games (Desoto, Bangor & Shullsburg) they were outscored 117-0. Thanks for playing.
The biggest concern that the ‘Birds have is looking back in the mirror at them. If it is possible for a team to look sloppy with a 47-0 victory, we did last week at IG. There has been a concern all year long about not losing focus during a season where the biggest questions were how long would the starters play in the 1st half or how quick we could hit half a hundred.
There has also been a concern about what happens when a team pushes us for a full four quarters. It should be noted that it is not “if” a team gets after us, but “when”. Offensively, we are going to be tough to deal with. For anybody. The challenge will be if the other side of the ball can keep pace as we advance through better competition.
That said, we are one of four teams in a very deep Division 6 who has a legitimate shot at winning the title. The others are Springs, Regis & Grantsburg. Our region has two other unbeatens in Pec/Argyle & Markesan. A #3-seed, Markesan may pose our stiffest challenge. P/A will have an interesting first round game vs. Waterloo.
Now is not the time to worry about who is waiting in any other bracket, but to take the approach of win & advance. Just win & advance. If we take that mindset, then we can worry about playing these guys or those guys when the time comes
It should be a fun ride.
AROUND THE SWAL
Cuba, Point & Fenny will all join us in the same region. Cuba draws Markesan, while Point & Fenny meet for the second time this year. In the first game Point spotted the Golden Eagles a 21-0 lead, came roaring back in the second half & failed to convert a 2-pt conversion to lose 21-20. This should be one of the better games of the first round.
Iowa-Grant qualified, but dropped to D7 where they & Edgar are the two largest schools.
AROUND THE AREA
The Miners & Warriors find themselves in the same bracket along with Highland & Potosi. The Chieftains travel to Shullsburg to open things up, while Highland hosts I-G & the Warriors host not only Wauzeka, but Steuben & Seneca as well. Wauzeka-Steuben/Seneca finished 3rd in the Ridge & Valley behind Ithaca & Desoto.
Ithaca has the #1 seed in this bracket & may be the most at risk of any of the top seeds in D7. I could see any one of the three top Seis Rios teams advancing out of this bracket. The I-G & Highland game will be the one that I am most interested in to start things off.
For the Warriors & Miners, the same mindset that the Redbirds need to have will work. Just win & advance.
Springs took the top seed in the bracket opposite us. If Springs & the ‘Birds both advance they would meet in the Semi-Finals. Grantsburg & Regis appear headed for a showdown in what is a loaded bracket. Besides the Pirates & Ramblers, a pretty good Chetek team, Spring Valley, Glenwood City along with last year’s semi-finalist Melrose-Mindoro fill out the group. On the other side, unbeaten Coleman & Abbotsford took the top two seeds, while #3 Marathon could be the one that advances. Marathon’s only loss this year was to a good Stratford team 24-13.
When the smoke clears, I like Regis & Marathon on one side & a fourth straight go around on the other.
This one is wide open. Defending champion Bangor & perennial power Edgar look to meet each other on one side, while Hilbert/Stockbridge looks to be waiting for the winner of the local bracket. Besides being pretty good football teams, the level of competition that Edgar & Hilbert face during the season could be the difference maker.
Riverdale did not qualify for the playoffs.
AROUND THE PICKS
In D1 it is all about Kimberly. They are currently on a state record 51-game winning streak. Bayport could give the Papermakers a tussle in the semis, but in the end Kimberly wins another title, this time over Franklin.
In D2, I like Waunakee, but have learned never to doubt Homestead. Homestead over Menasha.
D3 looks to be the most competitive division, we will take Catholic Memorial over Notre Dame .
In D4, Osceola over Sheboygan Falls.
In D5, Columbus over Stanley-Boyd.
While we historically avoid picking the local divisions, let’s break tradition– Edgar over the Miners in D7 & the ‘Birds over Regis in D6.
AROUND THE FUTURE
The Darlington 7/8 program finished up their season this past week. They were a combined 8-2 as both squads finished with 4-1 records. More important than the success they had in the competitive portion of the program, was the improvement they made from August to October, both individually & as a team. It is also good to know that the pipeline is not empty.