Wisconsin Prep Football State Championship Preview
WIAA Football State Championship
The Wisconsin prep football season has come down to this. Thursday begins the first slate of games in the WIAA state football championships and all seven games look to be great match ups.
Throughout the playoffs we saw upsets in all seven divisions and also saw teams steam roll through their brackets. A team like the Hudson Raiders had a great run not only in the regular season but also through the playoffs before losing to the Arrowhead Warhawks in the state semifinals. The Waunakee Warriors survived overtime in the semifinals against the Whitefish Bay Blue Dukes 35-28 to keep their 48-game winning streak in tact, tied for longest in Wisconsin.
Gone is the West De Pere Phantoms’ impressive 39-game winning streak and a chance to become only the second team in the history of the playoffs to win three straight Division 3 titles. The Freedom Irish were a team who surprised a lot of people and made a great run in the tournament. The Irish were seeded 8th in their group and upset the number one Chilton Tigers in the opening round on their way to the semifinals where they were ousted by the Big Foot Chiefs 45-22.
Of the state champions from one year ago, only the Warriors (Division 2) and the St. Mary’s Springs Ledgers (Division 6) are back to defend their title. And of the seven runner-ups from last year, the Lancaster Flying Arrows (Division 5) and Somerset Spartans (Division 4) are the only ones back to revenge their loss.
Here I will give you each of the match ups in all seven divisions of the WIAA state football championship and give you who I think will win.
DIVISION 7-Potosi vs. Glenwood City
The Potosi Chieftans come into this game with an undefeated 12-0 record after absolutely dominating the regular season en route to a Six River Conference championship and had smooth sailing through the playoffs coming into this championship game. The Glenwood City Hilltoppers bring a 10-2 record after knocking off top seed Clayton Bears 46-6 in their group and top seed Hilbert Wolves 28-8 in the semifinals. Both teams have good defense's and both have an offense that could score at willing. This will be a good contest to start the state championships off on Thursday morning.
MY PICK: I picked them at the beginning of the season and have stuck with them all season. Going with the Potosi Chieftans to bring home the championship.
DIVISION 6-Eau Claire Regis vs. St. Mary's Springs
This game has all the makings to be a classic and one that people will remember for years to come. The St. Mary's Springs Ledgers come in the game the defending Division 6 champions and have won two of the last three championships (Division 5 champions in 2009) and finished runner-up in 2010. The Eau Claire Regis Ramblers made it to the state semifinals a year ago and two years ago made it to the quarterfinals. The Ramblers are one of the hottest teams in the state right now and have dominated every team in their way thus far. Did I mention both teams come in the game with 12-0 records?
MY PICK: This should be an absolutely great game and one I can't wait to watch. Unfortunately one of these great teams has to lose. I'm going with the hot team and picking the Eau Claire Regis Ramblers to knock of the Ledgers.
DIVISION 5-Amherst vs. Lancaster
The Amherst Falcons are a team that kind of flew under the radar this year. It wasn't until the Falcons knocked off powerhouse Stratford Tigers in the quarterfinals of the playoffs that people started to take notice of this team. Not to mention they defeated defending champion Colby Hornets in the semifinals. The Lancaster Flying Arrows are one of the powerhouses of Wisconsin high school football. The Flying Arrows have won six state championships and were the runner up a year ago. Once again this game features two 12-0 teams.
MY PICK: I like what the Falcons have been able to do this year, but the Flying Arrows are hungry to avenge their loss and show no signs of slowing down. I'm sticking with my guns and picking the Lancaster Flying Arrows to win.
DIVISION 4-Somerset vs. Big Foot
This should be a nice match up to close the first day of the WIAA football state championships on Thursday night. The Somerset Spartans come in with an 11-1 record and finished second in the Middle Border Conference. In the playoffs however the Spartans have showed no mercy to the opposition, winning by an average margin of 27.5 points in their four playoff games. The Big Foot Chiefs come in undefeated at 12-0 and champions of the Rock Valley-South Conference. Like the Spartans the Chiefs have taken care of opposing teams in the playoffs, winning by an average of 39 points in the playoffs. This game will come down to whose defense can stop the other's high powered offense.
MY PICK: This game could go either way. I'm picking the Somerset Spartans to hold the Big Foot offense in check for the most part and come away with the victory.
DIVISION 3-Waupaca vs. Catholic Memorial
Don't let the Catholic Memorial Crusaders 10-2 record fool you. They play in a very tough Classic Eight Conference but have been able to take care of business in the playoffs so far. The Crusaders have knocked off then undefeated Pewaukee Pirates in Level 2, then defeated my early season favorite the Wisconsin Lutheran Vikings in the quarterfinals. The Waupaca Comets come in with a 12-0 record and champions of the Eastern Valley Conference. They were the team to knock off and end the West De Pere Phantoms' phenomenal 39-game winning streak. This will be a great way to start Friday's slate of games.
MY PICK: The Crusaders have had a great run but I think it ends in Madison. The Comets will be riding high after their huge win against the Phantoms. I'll go with the Waupaca Comets to win this one.
DIVISION 2-Homestead vs. Waunakee
Oh what a game this could be as well. As everyone knows, the Waunakee Warriors will be chasing history in this game for a couple of reasons. They look to become just the second team in state history to win four straight state titles and would bring their total to six state championships. The Warriors are also looking to hold the state record for most consecutive wins with 49 if they were able to come home with the state title. If that and winning a state title is not incentive enough for the Homestead Highlanders than I don't know what is. The Highlanders sport an 11-1 record and could very well be the team to end the streak for the Warriors.
MY PICK: I know that all good things must come to an end and the Highlanders will be very amp'd up for this game, but the streak continues for another year in my eyes. I'm going with the Waunakee Warriors to get their 49th-straight victory.
DIVISION 1-Sun Prairie vs. Arrowhead
The 12-0 Sun Prairie Cardinals had a very dominating regular season, not allowing more than 7 points and had five total shutouts on the year with one coming in a conference rematch in the playoffs against the Verona Wildcats. They have one of the best defenses in the state with good reason, led by 2014 Wisconsin Badgers recruit Craig Evans. The Arrowhead Warhawks come in at 12-0 as well and have an explosive offense, averaging 45.8 points per game during the regular season and the playoffs. The Warhawks began the season defeating a good Minnetonka Skippers team 41-21, a game that could be seen on ESPN3. The story line here will be if the Cardinals can shut down the explosive Warhawks.
MY PICK: This will be a great game to put a cap on the Wisconsin prep football season. The Cardinals have a great defense, but I think in the end the Warhawks will be too much to handle. I'll go with the Arrowhead Warhawks to complete the perfect season.