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September 21, 2012Week Five could be called the week of separation, as it will clinch WIAA playoff berths the state’s remaining unbeatens and give winners of numerous big-time clashes the leg up on conference championships.
Here is a rundown of key matchups this weekend:
Stratford at Edgar
Many fans around the Badger State can argue that their schools play in the best rivalry, but none can say that theirs is better than this Marathon County donnybrook.
The two schools, situated only 15 minutes apart, renew acquaintances tonight at Edgar in a contest with another Marawood Conference championship hanging in the balance. At least one of these two foes has won or shared the league title every year since 1983.
Tackes' final hurrah
Stratford coach Cal Tackes (34 years) and fellow Wisconsin Football Coaches Association Hall of Famer Jerry Sinz of Edgar (38 years) have prowled the opposing sidelines in this annual grudge match for all of those key encounters that usually provide both schools the best litmus test available for postseason competition.
Edgar has earned six WIAA state trophies in 25 playoff appearances, while Stratford has qualified 26 times with six of its seven titles coming consecutively from 2003-08, although the Tigers haven’t gotten past the second round since.
This rivalry has even pitted brother against brother, and this contest should prove as emotional and physical as Edgar, ranked No. 3 in this week’s WisconsinHigh.com’s Division 6 ratings, tries to win its fifth straight in the series.
The Wildcats’ current run includes a 16-8 verdict in 2008 that snapped Stratford’s 76-game winning streak against Wisconsin foes and three consecutive lopsided victories in a row.
Meanwhile, Stratford is rated eighth in D-5 and is shooting for its 21st straight postseason appearance.
Other big matchups
Brookfield East at Brookfield Central
This intra-city showdown will go a long way in determining who wins the Greater Metro Conference trophy. If East prevails, its regular-season finale at home against Sussex Hamilton should decide the title. But if Central wins a second straight matchup, then there could be a logjam for league bragging rights.
Future UW teammates
The Spartans are ranked second behind Waunakee in this week’s D-2 standings, while the Lancers bounced back with a big win to remain No. 7.
Middleton at Verona
No. 10 Middleton can keep pace with D-1’s fourth-rated league rival, Sun Prairie, in the Big Eight chase, while Verona, which lost its season opener to SP, needs a win to have a shot at its fifth straight piece of the crown since joining the league in 2008.
Pewaukee at Wauwatosa West
The Pirates are rated No. 3 in D-3 and would clear a big path to the Woodland West title, while the fellow undefeated Trojans would climb into the D-2 rankings in a big way with a home triumph.
Lake Mills at Lakeside Lutheran
This local slugfest and battle of Lake Mills’ unbeatens will give the winner a leg up in the Capitol North. Lakeside is rated No. 2 in D-4, while the L-Cats are sitting in seventh.
Little Chute at Waupaca
The Mustangs, ranked ninth in D-4, top the Eastern Valley standings at 4-0. The Comets sit at 3-0, are rated No. 7 in D-3 and have the home-field advantage.
Notre Dame at Green Bay Southwest
This Fox River Classic battle pits the No. 6 team in D-2, Southwest, against the D-3 honorable mention, Notre Dame. A Trojans’ victory means they still have to battle Bay Port and Green Bay Preble for supremacy. The Tritons already have lost to Bay Port.
Cumberland at Northwestern
The winner stays at least a game in front of the pack in the Heart O’North race. The Tigers are No. 5 in D-4, while the Beavers are ninth in D-5.
Brillion at Wrightstown
Defending D-4 champion Wrightstown lost to Chilton last week and must win to stay in the Olympic Packerland Large title hunt with the Lions, who are No. 2 in D-5, Chilton and Sturgeon Bay.
On the line
Randolph at Rio
The winner should cruise to the Trailways Small championship. The Rockets are rated third in D-7, while the Vikings are ranked sixth.
Oconomowoc at Wisconsin Lutheran
Oconomowoc could make a huge statement and jump into the D-1 charts with a win over D-2’s No. 2 rated bunch. Not to mention, the winner becomes the favorite for the Little Ten crown.
Coleman at Suring
Coleman in D-6 and Suring in D-7 are trying to crack the top 10 rankings with the Marinette & Oconto league title a possibility, as the winner will battle it out with leader Peshtigo.
Osceola at Durand
These two rivals are fighting for the Middle Border title with the top-ranked team in D-4, Somerset. The Panthers are ranked No. 4. Meanwhile, Osceola is knocking on the door for the top 10 in D-3.
Lake Country Lutheran at Shorewood/Messmer
Lutheran is sitting at No. 4 in D-7, while the D-1 program of Shorewood/Messmer tries to keep building respectability. The winner should cruise to the Midwest Classic crown.
Hillsboro at Necedah
The No. 7 D-7 Tigers can set up a regular-season finale against Bangor for the Scenic Bluffs title, while the Cardinals already have lost to Bangor, which is ranked fifth in D-6. Necedah currently sits at No. 8 in D-6.
Cuba City at Iowa-Grant
The Cubans are the No. 10 squad in D-5, while the Panthers hold that spot I D-6 with the Southwest Wisconsin Activities title in the balance.