Fort Atkinson (0-2, 0-0 Badger South) at Milton (2-0, 0-0)
WHEN: Friday, 7 p.m.
WHERE: Carl F. Anderson Field, Milton High School
RADIO: 940 AM WFAW with Brett Ketterman and Josh Smith
Rodney Wedig is in his first year as the new coach at Milton. He takes over the Red Hawks with a wealth of experience having coached at Beloit Memorial and Walworth Big Foot among other stops.
This year, the Red Hawks are trying to break through a three-win ceiling that seems to have been looming over them for three years.
So far, the Red Hawks have two lopsided wins in which they’ve averaged 47.5 points. Milton smells that elusive third victory in their third game of the season playing against a Fort Atkinson team that hasn’t won in 12 games dating back to October 2017.
“Their offensive line is their strength,” said second-year Fort Atkinson head coach Brady Grayvold. “They run what they run really well. They’re a pro-style offense with a tight end and a full back off-set. It’s mostly pro. ...
“It’s old-school stuff.”
As Milton tries to run the ball, Fort Atkinson hopes its front-7, which debuted as the strength of the team against Portage, can hold the line.
“I think it will be a good test,” Grayvold said. “Since the Portage game, DeForest was a completely different animal. It will be good to see what we’re able to do this week.”
Offensively, the Blackhawks were unable to move the ball against Portage. Fort Atkinson was able to feel a little bit of success running the ball at times against DeForest, despite the loss.
“We moved the ball a few times last week and now it’s just being consistent with it,” Grayvold said. “Now, hopefully this week, we can sustain some drives and move the ball down the field. Hopefully we can move it consistently. That’s the big thing with our offense, we need to do things more consistently.”
Jefferson (2-0, 2-0 RVC) vs. Evansville (2-0, 2-0)
WHEN: Friday, 7 p.m.
WHERE: Evansville High School
RADIO: KOOL 106.5 FM with Sean Maloney and John Kipper
It’s only Week 3, but when the top three spots are all determined at the end of the year, this matchup between Jefferson and Evansville will be a determining factor.
For casual followers of the RVC, Evansville might have snuck up on the radar as a challenger for a top spot in the league, but not for the Eagles. Jefferson quarterback Logan Wagner pointed to Evansville as a tough team in 2019 despite their winless season in 2019.
So the Evansville success is not a surprise to the Eagles.
“When you look at all of their skill guys, they were all there last year. They were 0-9, but we beat them by one and they lost a few games in the last series of the game,” Jefferson coach Steve Gee said. “Their 0-9 record was deceiving because of their ability.”
Last week, Jefferson hosted a McFarland team that mixed its formations up to try to get the Eagles out of positions. That wasn’t effective as Jefferson was able to concentrate on three main areas of the field: The middle run, the pass to the flat and the quarterback running to the edge.
Evansville brings a similar mix, but the Blue Devils have a vertical passing game which provides an extra element.
“If we want to put pressure on them, we’re going to have to take some risks to get there,” Gee said. “That’s where the chess match comes from. If we sit back, that might not work. If we do go after them, we can’t miss.
“From that perspective, it’s going to be exciting.”
Cambridge (1-1) vs. Southwestern (1-1)
WHEN: Friday, 7 p.m.
WHERE: Cambridge High School
The Blue Jays traveled to Benton to take on Benton/Scales Mound/Shullburg. It was a physical game that Cambridge lost, 28-0. BSMS deals a steady diet of running plays to every opponent it lines up against.
“It was a run fest,” Cambridge coach Mike Klingbeil said. “We would slowly hold them and they would take like six-minute drives. That’s all it was.”
This week, the Blue Jays expect the opposite end of the spectrum with Southwestern.
“We feel like we stack up well against them,” Klingbeil said. “We’ve always had athletes here, so our secondary tends to be a positive for us. With this particular group, I think we’ll be able to get after them with our pass rush, too.”
On the offensive side of the ball, Klingbeil just hopes the Blue Jays will take another step forward coming off of the shutout.
“I think when we have the ball, we need to see our receivers continue to step up,” Klingbeil said. “Our run game is doing well and we’ve turned it over minimally. We threw one (interception) last week and we didn’t turn it over against Brookfield (Academy) in Week 1. We really just need to play a clean, crisp game.”
Johnson Creek (2-0) vs. Deerfield (0-2), 7 p.m.
Whitewater (0-2) vs. Clinton (0-2), 7 p.m.
Palmyra-Eagle (1-1) at Dodgeland (1-1), 7 p.m.
Lake Mills (1-1) vs. Onalaska (2-0), 7 p.m.
The L-Cats (1-1) know that the Hilltoppers (2-0) will be a stout test in all three facets. Onalaska defeated Division 1 Hudson 21-14 in the opener before beating Division 2 River Falls 28-21.
“They just two beat two really good football teams,” Lake Mills football coach Dan Ferkovich said. “That’s something to take notice about. They have athletes and their line looks big ... River Falls was able to move the ball on the ground. We’ll have to see what they give us.”
Lake Mills junior signal caller Adam Moen had seven touchdowns, five passing and two rushing, in a 55-21 victory over New Glarus/Monticello in week 2.
The junior and his bevy of play-makers in the backfield and on the outside, a group that will include junior running back Charlie Cassady who is slated to return, will look to spread the Hilltoppers out and force them back into man-to-man coverage.
“Notice what they are giving us, find the open receiver and get the ball to them as quickly as possible,” Ferkovich said of what will need to click offensively. “Even scoring 55 (points), we missed some opportunities. Find those opportunities sooner versus later. We have play-makers so the key is getting the ball in their hands and letting them make something happen.”
The Hilltoppers lineup in a 42 and are aggressive in coverage.
“They’ll be in a 4-2 with an overhanging linebacker that tries to bring pressure,” Ferkovich said. “They’ll press on the outside. They’ll blitz from time to time and they play aggressively.”
Onalaska’s offense, which produced 49 points through two games, features a spread look with multiple players who will go in motion before a play is run.
“They spread it out with lots of option. We’ve never played a team that motions that many guys,” Ferkovich said. “That can get confusing to kids. There is leverage with things going in different directions ... They do it very well and we have to better ready for it.”
Lake Mills got the best-care scenario when sophomore tailback Carson Lund’s lower leg injury turned out to be a severely sprained ankle that will fully recover with rest and rehab.
The L-Cats had 547 total yards to the Knights’ 275 last week. An attack of this nature and balance between the rush (263 yards) and pass (284 yards) will be vital against a tough foe on Friday.
Lakeside Lutheran (1-1) at Hartland Lake Country Lutheran (1-1), 7 p.m.
Lakeside Lutheran’s football team faces the first of its three consecutive road games with a tilt at Lake Country Lutheran on Friday.
LCL (1-1) toppled St. Mary’s Springs Academy 21-14 in the opener before falling 27-26 to Darlington last week. Lake Country has a solid program and a versatile rushing attack led by junior Jack Leverenz (6-foot, 215 pounds).
“They’re one of the best Division 5 programs in the state,” Lakeside Lutheran football coach Paul Bauer said. “They are well-coached, strong kids. Hard to find any weaknesses ... Strong running game. Leverenz is a real load. He’s a big, strong kid. He’s also a middle linebacker. They have a number of capable running backs who can share the load. I would list him as their No. 1 carrier.”
LCL runs it approximately 60 percent of the time and will pull two lineman in addition to using the power run game.
The Warriors (1-1) will need to block Leverenz and junior linebacker Andrew Schumacher (6-0, 200) successfully to give senior quarterback Matt Davis time in the pocket.
“I like the way they get upfield on you,” Bauer said. “Strengths are their two middle linebackers Leverenz, a returner who we know all about him from last year, who is tough to get blocked. Schumacher is another big-sized 200-pounder at the linebacker position. Definitely a key to get those two guys blocked. They know their scheme and execute it very well.”
Davis needs to move the chains consistently through the air and Lakeside’s stable of rushers will be important in keeping the LCL pass rushers honest.
“We’ll have to be able to throw it somewhat successfully,” Bauer said of the keys to the game. “Between our various option plays, we’ll need to find something we can get yards with. I think we’re going to have to throw it a fair amount.”
Lakeside will be fully healthy as junior running back/linebacker Micah Cody (6-0, 196) is set to return as the team looks to build momentum heading into conference play.
“(We want to) keep growing and getting better heading into the conference season,” Bauer said.
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