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September 18, 2013No conference titles will be decided this weekend, but numerous races definitely will take a turn one way or the other because of games between teams at or near the top of their respective standings.
However, 40 or more schools can earn playoff spots or become playoff eligible, and here are some of the top games going on around the Badger State:
Wausau West (3-1) at Appleton North (4-0)
Everyone predicted that the Lightning and Kimberly would slug it out for top honors again, and that will be the case as North travels to Kimberly next weekend in another Valley Football Association North showdown.
However, the Warriors have made this a three-team chase and could overtake one or both favorites behind a defense that has allowed only 28 points.
They will have to be on the top of their game, though, as North boasts a balanced offense that feature quarterback Dan Rothbauer throwing for 325 yards and rushing for 435 yards and six touchdowns. Back Ethan Danz has accumulated 596 yards (7.9 average) and five scores.
West also relies on a strong ground game that features Jacob Martin in its attempt to knock off the No. 6 team in this weekís WisconsinHigh.com Division 1 rankings.
Arrowhead (3-1) at Mukwonago (3-1)
Despite not matching much of their offensive punch from last year, the top-ranked Warhawks have survived because of their many defensive stalwarts, who have given up only 23 points, including last week's shutout of Catholic Memorial.
Arrowhead continues to go as far offensively as signal caller Blake Mielke can carry them. Mielke has passed for 482 yards and leads the ground game with 305 yards, while Ty Jager has chipped in 234 yards and four scores. Ricky Finco leads the receivers with 12 catches for 193 yards (16.1) but has reached the end zone only once.
Third-rated Mukwonago canít afford another Classic Eight loss if it wants to challenge for the crown after its one-point setback two weeks ago to Waukesha West.
The Indians have not struggled scoring, having registered 43 or more in three of four outings. However, its defense isn't nearly up to Arrowhead's standards so Mukwonago must find ways to put points on the board again to stand a chance in this one.
Quarterback Aaron Nixon has thrown for 292 yards and rushed for 262, while the Indians boast five more players who have surpassed the 100-yard plateau via the ground.
Amherst (4-0) at Shiocton (4-0)
This Central Wisconsin 8 donnybrook features the No. 2 team in Division 5 traveling to the No. 1 squad in D-6 in which the outcome will no doubt launch the winner to the league championship.
The question is whether the Chiefs have enough defense to slow down the Falcons or enough offense to outscore them?
Amherst has allowed double digits only once and has picked up the pace tremendously offensively in the last three weeks, averaging 49 points per game. And the Falcons have relied much more on its ground attack as Garret Groshek and Connor Zblewski have gained 305 and 297 yards, respectively, with a combined 11 TDs.
Meanwhile, Shiocton has been even more running heavy behind the likes of Jacob Van Asten (507 yards), Talon Heinemeyer (260) and Henry Fielding (119). Van Asten has scored 10 touchdowns as the Chiefs are averaging 51.5 ppg.
Owen-Withee (4-0) at Greenwood/Granton (4-0)
These rivals are ranked third and fifth, respectively, in the D-7 poll and have knocked off another tough foe, Loyal, in the past two weeks to set the stage for this one that will clinch a postseason berth for the victor.
The Blackhawks haven't dominated the past two weeks, but their defense has been tough all year in allowing 37 points. They also utilize a strong running game, with Bryce Niemi churning for 550 yards and six scores, while three other ball carriers have combined for another 470 yards and nine more TDs.
The Indians also have been stingy, giving up only 18 points, and play smash-mouth football behind the three-pronged monster of Booker Bredlau (558 yards and five scores), Delten Schmitz (411 and six) and Kody Learman (323 and five).
The winner should go on to earn at least a tie for the crown as both visit second-place Athens in the final two weeks of the season.
Monona Grove (4-0) at Edgewood (3-1)
The four-time defending Badger South champion Silver Eagles put a 29-game conference winning streak on the line in this encounter that will make the winner playoff eligible.
Monona Grove has been as explosive as ever, scoring 39 or more points in every contest while giving up a combined 40 points. MG relies on QB Tyler Blang to make things run, as he has 448 yards passing and six scores and 334 yards rushing and five more TDs. Toren Young tops all runners with 344 yards and six touchdowns.
Edgewood struggled last week and hasnít come close to matching its season-opening fireworks against Waunakee, but it has found ways to produce victories.
Bobby Dunn has made the machine run, completing more than 56 percent of his 103 pass attempts for 747 yards and five TDs.
Madison La Follette (4-0) at Sun Prairie (4-0)
The No. 2 Cards have won three of their four games by a combined 13 points, so they know how to make the plays when they count and play under pressure situations, which will bode well for the postseason.
Meanwhile, the Lancers have been a pleasant surprise and will see what they're made of in this contest between two of the top three teams in the Big Eight standings.
La Follette held explosive Verona to 14 points in its first home game after three road showings. The Lancers are looking to clinch their first playoff spot since 2007, and the winner of this matchup will secure a postseason position.
Sun Prairie has been effective enough to survive and move on, and that's the name of the game. The Cards have used the one-two punch of quarterback Ryan Curran and running back Noah Diaz. Curran has throw for 594 yards and five scores, with Michael Marchese leading the way with 25 catches, while Diaz has gained 715 yards (8.7) and has scored nine times.
Brookfield East (2-2) at Brookfield Central (3-1)
The records may not say so, but the city rivalry in and of itself makes this a big game, one in which East hopes to get back into the Greater Metro race and Central hopes to stay in while delivering a big blow to the visitors.
East got a big win against Sussex Hamilton last week and hopes to end its roller coaster ride with its first back-to-back wins, but it must find enough defense to slow down the No. 5 Division 2 squad.
Zach Damico hasn't enjoyed 2012's success, throwing five TDs and the same number of interceptions while completing under 47 percent of his passes. However, he has been the Spartansí running game with 605 yards and five scores.
Central shouldn't have any trouble forgetting about last week's overtime loss to Menomonee Falls and it will do so behind the legs (509 yards and 11 touchdowns) and arm (323 yards) of Riley Richarz and DeMario Harris, who has gained 311 yards.
Edgerton (3-1) at Jefferson (4-0)
The visitors moved into the Division 4 ratings at No. 8 after whipping Whitewater in handing the Whippets their first loss. The Tide's only loss was a seven-point decision at No. 3 Lodi, and they would like to stake a claim to the Rock Valley lead with a big road win.
Edgerton will go as far as Ricky Williams takes it. He has gained 788 yards (8.8) and has reached the end zone eight times. Brooks Johnson has thrown for 346 yards.
The defending co-champion Eagles have scored from 35 to 49 points, and they've accomplished it almost with their vaunted running game: Garrett Blaeske leads the way with 762 yards and nine TDs, while Cody Stelse has complemented him with 294 yards.
Rice Lake (3-1) at Superior (4-0)
This Big Rivers contest is a battle for a share of first place but likely will determine second and third because the Warriors still have Menomonie left on their schedule and the Spartans must face Hudson and the Mustangs in back-to-back matchups.
Regardless, this contest on the big lake is a huge one for both programs as they try to secure playoff spots.
The teams have split the last eight meetings.
Somerset (4-0) at Ellsworth (4-0)
This is common territory for the Spartans, while the Panthers have made only one playoff appearance in the past five years, so this would be a monumental win if the hosts can pull off the upset in this Middle Border battle.
Top-rated Somerset (D-4) is riding a 10-game winning streak that dates back to last year's 16-13 defeat to Durand. The Spartans have allowed 34 points, and although they aren't dominating like last year, they have been in control most of the time behind their formidable running game. They are averaging 25.5 ppg.
Ellsworth, ranked No. 7, has allowed only 15 points this year while scoring at 29 ppg.