Big Eight Week Six Preview
By: Tyler Zavadsky Twitter: @TylerZonESPN
Madison East Purgolders (0-5) vs. Beloit Memorial Purple Knights (0-5)
At Beloit Memorial High School
2012 Matchup: Beloit Memorial 38 Madison East 30
After five weeks of the 2013 season both Madison East and Beloit Memorial find themselves in the cellar of the Big Eight Conference. For the past several seasons, the narrative hasn’t changed much for these two schools focused on building up programs that can win a few conference games, much less contend in conference contests. Beloit Memorial has quite the athlete in quarterback Denzel Barnes, who holds the top spot in the conference with 1,026 yards passing, but not much more to build around. The program is under construction, much like Madison East’s, and both still need time and tremendous effort to get to where the teams desire to be. On the bright side, one team will at least be able to celebrate the first win of the season.
Prediction: Beloit Memorial 35 Madison East 20
Madison West Regents (1-4) vs. Janesville Parker Vikings (2-3)
At Monterey Stadium in Janesville
2012 Matchup: Madison West 27 Janesville Parker 13
In a season filled with disappointment for both teams, another win could prove to be a much needed pick me up.
The Regents season has been completely overshadowed by the events that transpired after the Madison Memorial game. A year ago, West was well on the team’s way to the first playoff appearance in decades and had what appeared to be a bright future. As we sit here today however, a 1-4 start on the year and an ugly on field incident have been the complete opposite of what could have been a “building block” season in 2012. To earn a second win on Friday night would be a big morale boost, but unfortunately will not be enough to get this team back into the playoffs.
Janesville Parker is riding a two-game winning streak after starting the year 0-3, all against opponents that now have a combined 13-2 record. Getting to .500 on the season could potentially propel the Vikings to quite an exciting finish down the line. With a struggling Verona squad up next week and Janesville Craig to close out the year, Parker has the potential to end the season around the 5-4 mark and make it back into the state playoffs.
Prediction: Janesville Parker 27 Madison West 21
Janesville Craig Cougars (2-3) vs. Madison La Follette Lancers (4-1)
At Lussier Stadium in Madison
2012 Matchup: Madison La Follette 26 Janesville Craig 15
Last week Janesville Craig tied the teams highest offensive output with a 49-20 victory over Beloit Memorial. Trevon Hall rushed for 203 yards and three touchdowns in the Cougar victory and has been a potent weapon out of the backfield. A similar output this week against an extremely talented defense is highly unlikely, but the Cougars have shocked people before, just ask Verona. Defensively this team has still yet to put together a complete game and often has lapses in assignments and coverages to compound the damage. Against a team like La Follette, it will take a herculean type effort to squeak out a win, especially when the opponent is back at home following a loss.
Madison La Follette was on top of the world following the Lancers victory over Verona two weeks ago, but where brought back down to earth last week. A 40-20 schooling at the hands of Sun Prairie essentially took La Follette out of the running for the conference title unless chaos ensues in the weeks to come with Madison Memorial and Sun Prairie. Despite the loss, the Lancers won’t let the defeat tear them down. A playoff appearance is almost inevitable for this squad and La Follette has the horses to take them far into fall. Andre Saunders and Cahleel Copus are perhaps the best one-two punch in the Big Eight out of the back field and junior quarterback Jordan Carlson has proved he has the skills and leadership of any senior counterpart. Though the defense struggled last week, the unit as a whole is still very solid and tremendously talented. If this team can forget about last Friday night, expect a big statement win by the Lancers to let the rest of the conference know that this is still a team to fear down the line.
Prediction: Madison La Follette 41 Janesville Craig 14
Verona Wildcats (2-3) vs. Middleton Cardinals (4-1)
At Middleton High School
2012 Matchup: Verona 20 Middleton 7
At the beginning of the season this contest was circled on many people’s calendars as a potential blockbuster matchup. While Middleton may have struggled last year by their standards, the Cardinals have perennially been a conference power and all Verona has done the last decade or so is sit at the head of the Big Eight table. An unexpected turn of events have resulted in Verona entering this game with a 2-3 record, thus diminishing would could have been quite the hot ticket.
The Wildcats have fought and clawed all season long to contend for another chance at yet another conference championship but have simply fallen short. All great dynasties must come to an end and this just happened to be the year for Verona. Running backs Eric Schmid and Cameron Tindall have tried to do everything they could to carry this team to victory but the once vaunted Verona defense has suffered mightily this year. Although the ‘Cats only fell to undefeated Madison Memorial last week 17-14, that third loss on the year will be a hard pill to swallow. Coach Dave Richardson wasn’t elected into the Wisconsin Football Coaches Association Hall of Fame this summer for nothing though. Richardson will surely find a way to rally his troops and move onward to a potential run for the rest of the season and into the playoffs.
As stated in last weeks preview article, the Middleton Cardinals have had the quietest 4-1 season of perhaps any team in the state. Perhaps it is just expected of any Cardinals team, or maybe all the other commotion in the Big Eight has distracted folks; whatever the reason may be, this team is silently climbing right back to the top of the conference. Quarterback Kasey Miller continues to take this team in the right direction after taking over under center and is coming off of a two touchdown game last week. Charles Braxton also had himself a game after rushing for 147 yards and two scores. Middleton has only allowed 27 total points in the last four weeks combined so if that trend continues, the Cardinals could had Verona the teams first four loss season in over 15 years.
Prediction: Middleton 28 Verona 27
Sun Prairie Cardinals (5-0) vs. Madison Memorial Spartans (5-0)
At Mansfield Stadium in Madison
*Prep Corner Game of the Week*
2012 Matchup: Sun Prairie 35 Madison Memorial 0
In the sixth installment of the Prep Corner Big Eight Game of the Week we have ourselves yet another contest between undefeated teams. Friday night’s headliner will surely be the deciding factor as to what team takes the Big Eight Conference at seasons end and will take a spotless record into the playoffs.
Last week the conference saw quite the game between 4-0 squads as Sun Prairie defeated Madison La Follette 40-20, which set up this week’s clash of conference leaders. This week, Sun Prairie will leave the friendly confines of Ashley Field for Mansfield Stadium to take on the Madison Memorial Spartans.
Although Joe Ferguson and Jester Weah are still well recognized athletes throughout the record books of Madison Memorial, quarterback and wide receiver tandem Brandon Toman and Daurice Fountain have done their best job of replacing two players thought to be irreplaceable. Toman is third in passing in the Big Eight with just under 750 yards through the air and Fountain leads the conference with 384 yards receiving. Ra’Quan Cunnigan has also been a key piece to the Spartans offense at running back and all three have this Spartan squad sitting tied atop the conference with a 5-0 record. Defensively Memorial has not given up more than 20 points in any game and held Verona’s high powered rushing attack to just 14 points last week. While conference championships are no stranger to the Spartan basketball team, Memorial hasn’t earned a conference crown (or at least a share of one) in football since the 2009 season. That title is undoubtably on the line Friday night.
Week six is simply business as usual for Sun Prairie. The teams undefeated conference winning is streak on the line against a highly talented and hungry Big Eight opponent just waiting to knock them down. This proposition may be tough for an average team to deal with each and every week, but not for the Cardinals. Sun Prairie lives for moments like this and waits every week for a worthy opponent to take the field. The Cardinals 17-game conference winning streak is on the line Friday night. The last time Sun Prairie lost to any Big Eight foe was back on Nov. 5, 2011 in a playoff game against Verona. Ryan Curran, a sophomore starting quarterback at the time, has now built up an impressive winning streak while leading this Cardinals team each and every Friday night. Curran is second in the conference in passing with 755 yards and running back Noah Diaz is nearly 500 yards a head of every other running back in the conference with 1040 yards rushing this season. The defense continues to be the conference’s best and is led by UW recruit Craig Evan down on the defensive line.
Toman, Fountain and the rest of the Spartan offense will test this young secondary that has struggled at times this season but has seemingly come together as a solid unit in the last week or so. The edge may be going to Sun Prairie on paper because of the Cardinals immense talent on both sides of the ball, but you don’t play games on paper.
Kickoff at 7:30 p.m. from Mansfield Stadium.
Bring your popcorn...
By:Tyler Zavadsky Twitter: @TylerZonESPN
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