Fort Atkinson (0-1, 0-0) vs. DeForest (1-0, 0-0)

WHEN: Friday, 7 p.m.

WHERE: Fort Atkinson High School

RADIO: None

DeForest has consistently been one of the top three teams in the whole Badger Conference. The Norskies along with Waunakee and Monona Grove have been consistent forces in the league.

“They play offense really well, they play defense really well, they play special teams really well and they coach really well,” said second-year head coach Brady Grayvold. “There’s a reason they’re picked to finish right behind Waunakee in the Badger North. They’re a good football team.”

This year, DeForest opened with a win for the first time since 2015 as it defeated Madison Edgewood, 47-0. The Fort Atkinson Blackhawks were unable to open with a victory as they were defeated, 32-0, by Portage last week.

The Norskies are a well-oiled machine and should pose a mighty task for the Blackhawks, who have lost their last 11 games.

DeForest returns eight all-conference players on both sides of the ball from a team that took second place in the Badger North. The Norskies have qualified for the playoffs in 13 consecutive seasons.

“They’ve been banking on this group of seniors for a long time and they almost knocked off Waunakee in Level 2 last year as juniors,” Grayvold said. “They’re the No. 8 team in the state for a reason and it will be a good test.

“It’s a crossover game so you don’t gain anything from winning it and you don’t lose anything if you lose it.”

Jefferson (1-0, 1-0 RVC) vs. McFarland (0-1, 0-1)

WHEN: Friday, 7 p.m.

WHERE:Jefferson High School

RADIO: KOOL 106.5 FM with Sean Maloney and John Kipper

McFarland may have graduated a large group of seniors from a first-place finish in the 2018 Rock Valley Conference, but Jefferson coach Steve Gee doesn’t see any reason the Spartans won’t be a competitive force to be reckoned with in 2019.

The Spartans were defeated by Edgerton, 28-7. McFarland scored the first points of the game in the first quarter and were held out of the end zone for the remainder of the game.

“I don’t think that game was indicative of the team they have over there,” Gee said. “They took a while to build that over there and I think they still have some good pieces.”

One of those ‘good pieces’ is center Bryce Thompson, who was a second-team all-RVC selection last year. A key matchup on Friday night will be between Thompson and Jefferson senior defensive lineman Hunter Boettcher.

Jefferson should take a step forward on the defensive side of the ball when it returns Connor Salerno to the secondary. Salerno was out last week which led the Eagles to playing a pair of sophomores at safety.

“We’ll have (sophomores) Nate (McKenzie) and Brady (Gotto) rotating on the other side (of Salerno), but it’s going to be fun to see him back out there ball hawking for us,” Gee said. “I’m excited to see him back on the field to see what he can do.”

Last year, Jefferson had the lead in the third quarter until McFarland tied things up with 1 minute, 38 seconds left in the third quarter and added four more touchdowns in the fourth quarter to take a 35-7 victory in Week 2.

“It will be a good test for us,” Gee said. “I talk to the guys all the time about taking progressive steps. In my mind, the step from Week 1 to Week 2 is a big jump because players are getting used to the speed of the varsity game in the first week. The challenge is to take a step in the second week and play better.”

Lake Mills (0-1) vs. New Glarus/Monticello (1-0)

WHEN: Friday, 7 p.m.

WHERE: Lake Mills High School

RADIO: None

Lake Mills was susceptible to Menomonie’s blitz in a 34-10 season-opening loss.

The L-Cats are expecting New Glarus/Monticello to take a page out of the Mustangs’ playbook on Friday by sending free rushers from multiple levels of the defense.

“Assuming they are going to bring pressure again from the outside,” Lake Mills football coach Dan Ferkovich said. “(They) will blitz safety, corner and a linebacker. Today, we worked on blitz pick up. We know they are going to bring pressure from all spots to try and throw us off.”

The Glarner Knights (1-0) hammered Dodgeville 42-7 last week and utilize a 3-down lineman look, using three to five linebackers.

“If they are blitzing, someone is going to be open. What we’ve looked at is identifying who is going to blitz and getting the ball out to the open receiver,” Ferkovich said of how the L-Cats are going to handle the extra rushers. “We worked on getting the ball out fast. If they don’t blitz, it will seem like we have forever. Every day we are going to work on getting the ball out as fast as possible. If we don’t have time, at least we are prepared for it.”

Lake Mills QB Adam Moen was 19-for-36 with 143 passing yards, a touchdown and three interceptions last week. The junior is healthy after getting nicked against Menomonie and senior wideout Hunter Buechel (seven catches for 55 yards) was a favorite target.

On defense, starting linebacker Charlie Cassady, a junior, will not suit up. The L-Cats need to tackle well in space against senior QB Darris Schuett and a spread offensive attack.

“It’s going to be a lot of 1-on-1 matchups,” Ferkovich said. “That’s going to give them extra yards. We are going to match our personnel up with their personnel. We are going to match our two inside linebackers up with (Schuett) to stop (him running from the pocket). We are going to try and bring some pressure on our own. If we don’t tackle well, we’ll be in for a very long night.”

New Glarus has a few athletes in tote from the 2019 WIAA Division 4 state basketball championship team. Nathan Streiff (10 catches for 135 yards) and Connor Siegenthaler (four catches for 100 yards) were big parts of a balanced offensive attack against Dodgeville.

“They have some athletes and their offensive line looks big,” Ferkovich said. “Schuett is athletic and can throw. He can make plays in space.”

For Lake Mills, wrapping up on defense and picking up the blitz on offense will play huge roles in deciding the outcome.

OTHER GAMES

Thursday’s game

Johnson Creek (1-0) at Somers Shoreland Lutheran (1-0), 7 p.m.

Friday’s games

Milton (1-0) vs. Mount Horeb (0-1), 7 p.m.

Whitewater (0-1) at East Troy (1-0), 7 p.m.

Cambridge (1-0) at Benton/Scales Mound (1-0), 7 p.m.

Palmyra-Eagle (1-0) vs. Mil. Dominican (1-0), 7 p.m.

Lake Mills (0-1) vs. New Glarus/Monticello (1-0), 7 p.m.

Cambridge (1-0) at Benton/Scales Mound (1-0), 7 p.m.

For updates, follow @ByJalenKnuteson and @JohnClaudeMill on Twitter

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