Big 8 Playoff Round 2 Preview
Sussex Hamilton vs. Verona Area High School at Verona Area High School
In the Sweet 16 round of the Division I playoffs, the Sussex Hamilton Chargers will travel to Verona to take on the Wildcats this Friday evening. Last week in round one, Hamilton completely dominated Middleton in a 44-9 ball game that the Chargers were in control of throughout the contest. Charger running back Drew Patterson rushed for 299 yards and three touchdowns with two of those scores coming on runs of 60 yards or longer, including an 81-yard touchdown run. During the regular season, Hamilton lost two games but looked like an unbeatable team in the first round. The Chargers will have a much tougher task this Friday going up against Verona, a team that combines an equally potent rushing attack with a much more stout defense. The Wildcats essentially shutout the Oconomowoc Raccoons a week ago after jumping out to a 23-0 lead before surrendering two late touchdowns in the fourth quarter. In that game, Dom Wise finished with 199 yards and two rushing touchdowns behind one of the best offensive lines in the playoffs so this contest will be a battle of two of the top rushers in the state. The advantage on defense goes to the Wildcats because of their ability to stop other top rushers the team has gone against like Jevarious Rockmore of Middleton, and Donte Starlin-Merriam of Sun Prairie by controlling the line of scrimmage. This game will be a true test to see which of these teams can execute essentially the same offenses the best. My prediction for this game is not so much based on what I have seen from both teams this season, because I haven’t yet seen Hamilton play, but rather what I have seen all year long from Verona. A solid defense in every game coupled with a potent rushing attack headlined by Dom Wise. Prediction: 28-21, Verona advances in a duel of explosive backs.
Madison West vs. Sun Prairie at Cardinal Heights Middle School
This week in the second round of the playoffs, Sun Prairie will take on yet another familiar foe in a Big 8 opponent, the Madison West Regents. However, the familiarity between these two teams is more than a year old given that the Regents and the Cardinals did not meet during the regular season this year. Madison West has had a Cinderella type season so far winning 7 games this year after winning only one last season. The Regents hope that the slipper will still fit this Friday evening when the team will travel to Sun Prairie to take on the unbeaten Cardinals. Sun Prairie all year long has had, with out question, the states top defense and once again flexed their collective muscle on D last week against Madison Memorial. The Cardinals won that contest 45-20, but were up 45-0 late into the third quarter before head coach Brian Kaminski sent in the subs to close out the game. In that contest, Sun Prairie completely dominated Madison Memorial on both sides of the ball and controlled the line of scrimmage all night long. That impressive and dominant performance proved that this team could very well be in Madison in a couple of weeks battling for the State Championship. Madison West would like nothing more than to end those hopes for the Cardinal players and fans but will need to play their absolute best game of the season thus far. I have seen both of these teams play numerous times this season and have liked what I have seen from both. Madison West has a tremendously underrated defense, and an offense led by a fearless leader in Alex Brown and potent weapons on the outside he can utilize to score points in bunches. However, that Sun Prairie defense still theoretically has yet to allow more than seven points in any game this season so Brown will need to have an All-World type game for his team to advance. The Cardinals motto this season has been “If they don’t score, they don’t win” and that will surely be tested in this contest. Prediction: 31-14, Sun Prairie advances to take on their third Big 8 opponent in a row in the third round of the playoffs against Verona next week.
By: Tyler Zavadsky Twitter: @TylerZonESPN
Prep Reporter ESPN 1380
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