Big 8 Week 8 Preview
Madison Memorial vs. Beloit Memorial at Beloit Memorial High School
In a battle of the Memorials in the Big 8 Conference, the Madison Memorial Spartans will travel to Beloit Memorial to take on the Purple Knights. Madison sits at 4-3 on the season while Beloit is 1-6 on the year. The Spartans will look to bolster the teams playoff chances with another win Friday night and go into the playoffs with a 5-3 record. Quarterback Joe Ferguson continues to lead the conference with 1,454 yards passing and teammate Jester Weah leads the conference in receiving with 549 yards. The Spartans have the most explosive offense in the conference and will need to continue that trend into the playoffs if Madison hopes to compete with some of the states top teams. Beloit Memorial earned the teams first win this season in more then two years but will likely close out the season with yet another loss. Quarterback Denzel Barnes has had a tremendous junior campaign with 665 yards passing and eight touchdowns through the air so things are looking up for this Purple Knights team for next season. The last time these two teams met, Madison Memorial beat Beloit Memorial 21-7 thanks to two touchdowns scored by the Spartans in the fourth quarter. Kickoff at 7:30 p.m. from Beloit Memorial High School.
Sun Prairie vs. Madison East at Lussier Stadium
The top team in the conference will travel to the worst team in the conference as the Cardinals from Sun Prairie will battle the Madison East Purgolders. All season long, Sun Prairie has dominated the competition and sits at 7-0 on the year and in all likelihood will advance to 8-0 and enter the playoffs with a spotless record. The Cardinals are ranked second in the state of Wisconsin in the wissports.net poll and third in the state in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel poll. Running back Donte Starlin-Merriam leads the conference in rushing yardage with 945 yards and the Cardinal defense may in fact be the toughest in the entire state. Sun Prairie is coming off back-to-back-to-back shutouts and has yet to allow more than seven points in any ball game this season. This Cardinal team could very well be traveling just down the road to Madison to play in Camp Randall for a state championship come seasons end. Head coach Brian Kaminski has led his team to one of the most impressive seasons in school history and could rewrite the record books at Sun Prairie. Madison East however has struggled this year to compete with the other teams in the conference. The Purgolders have only scored seven total touchdowns this season and going up against one of the strongest defenses in the state, that number will probably not change. Last season Sun Prairie took care of business early and often in route to a 55-9 victory over East and a different outcome is not really expected in this contest either. Kickoff at 7:30 p.m. from Lussier Stadium.
Verona Area High School vs. Madison West at Mansfield Stadium
In the conference’s game of the week, The 6-1 Verona Wildcats will travel to Madison to take on the 6-1 Madison West Regents. Both teams have had exceptional seasons but the Regents are without a doubt the surprise team in this conference, if not the state. Coming off of a 1-7 record last season, the Regents have responded and have had a story book season. Head Coach Greg Valaskey has done a tremendous job turning this program around and leading this team to a possible playoff run in the coming weeks. Alex Brown at quarterback has also had a stellar season throwing for 1,046 yards and 15 touchdowns on the year. On the other sideline, Verona is still theoretically the defending conference champion but after the clocks around the conference strike zero, the Wildcats will have to hand the crown over to Sun Prairie but that hasn’t changed the mindset of the team. Dom Wise and company have responded after the week one loss to the Cardinals with six straight wins. This game will be a battle for second place in the conference, an honor both teams would love to say that they have earned. Verona and Madison West have both earned playoff spots but the winner of this ball game could receive a much higher seed which may be the difference between hosting a hand full of playoff home games or traveling on the road. Last year Verona defeated West 48-7 but this year the game will be much closer and could be one of the better games across the state of Wisconsin. Kickoff at 7:30 p.m. from Mansfield Stadium.
Madison La Follette vs. Middleton at Middleton High School
Madison La Follette and Middleton are two teams right in the middle of the Big 8 Conference. Middleton sits at 4-3 on the year where as La Follette is 3-4 on the season. The Cardinals are coming off of three straight losses, the most surprising of which came last week against Janesville Craig in a 20-13 contest. Middleton looked like one of the teams at the beginning of the year that had a legitimate chance to compete for a conference title but have fallen apart so to speak in the last few weeks. Jevarious Rockmore, the Cardinal running back, is second in the conference in rushing but did not reach the end zone last week in the loss. La Follete has played all the elite teams in the conference very tough and have been in every single game this year. Lancer quarterback, Troy Teigen, is second in the conference in passing with 1,117 yards and will look to have another great performance against this Cardinal defense. Last season, Middleton shutout La Follette in a 35-0 affair but this years contest is sure to be more exciting than a year ago. Kickoff at 7:30 p.m. from Middleton High School.
Janesville Parker vs. Janesville Craig at Monterey Stadium
In the Battle for Janesville, Craig will battle crosstown rival Parker for the city championship. Craig is coming off only the teams second victory of the season but it was one the Cougars can hang their hat on against Middleton. Andy Miller at quarterback has been doing a fantastic job of throwing the football this season and has been targeting wide receiver Darian Sharifi the most this season who is second in the conference in pass catching. Janesville Parker this season has relied heavily on the legs of running back Dai-Von Vance-Jenkins who has rushed for 578 yards this year. The Parker offense has only 33 yards passing this year which may be a reason why this team has only won two games, if a defense knows what’s coming, they can sell out to stop the run on every play. Both teams have had less than stellar seasons but a win in this game to close out the year would be a tremendous boost heading into winter. The beauty of rivalry games like this is that the winning team will always have the upper hand over the opponent for the rest of the players lives. They may see each other at the local Woodmans or at the Rock County Fair and will always be able to say that “we beat you” to close out the season. Last season Parker defeated Craig 50-23 so the Cougars have revenge on their collective mind. Neither Craig nor Parker will earn a playoff birth after this week but again, win this game and you have the bragging rights for years to come. Kickoff at 7:30 p.m. from Monterey Stadium in Janesville.
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