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September 26, 2013What a weekend this is going to be. Tons of potential instant classics fill the schedule. Most of them involve battles for first place, while nearly 40 schools can clinch WIAA playoff berths with conference victories and almost as many can earn tickets with any win.
So, let's just dig in and none is bigger than the Marawood Conference rivalry of rivalries, as Edgar (5-0) visits Stratford (4-1) in this annual grudge match.
At least one of these two foes has won or shared the league title every year since 1983, and Edgar sits atop the standings at 5-0 while the Tigers are in third at 3-1 after a loss two weeks ago to second-place Marathon.
Cal Tackes no longer prowls the sidelines for seven-time state champion Stratford as Jason Tubbs takes his first crack across from Tackes' fellow Wisconsin Football Coaches Association Hall of Fame member Jerry Sinz.
The Wildcats have won the last five encounters, including last year's 11-8 decision. Their current run includes a 16-8 verdict in 2008 that snapped Stratford's 76-game winning streak against Wisconsin foes.
Edgar secured its 27 postseason spot last week, while the Tigers are well on their way to a 28th appearance, and an upset at Tiger Stadium would put them within one game of doing just that.
Colby (5-0) at Stanley-Boyd (5-0)
The Orioles lead the Cloverbelt with a 4-0 mark and earned their fourth straight and 23rd overall playoff position with their third shutout of the year. They are seeking their first league crown since 2007.
Colby had its four-year conference title run ended last year, a streak that featured Division 5 state titles in 2008 and 2011. The Hornets can secure a playoff berth win a victory and put itself in the driver's seat for at least a share of the top spot.
Appleton North (5-0) at Kimberly (5-0)
The victor in this Valley Football Association North contest will grab a postseason berth and should catapult them to the league championship.
The Lightning are after their 10th straight trip to the playoffs and the Papermakers are trying to earn their eighth consecutive.
But that means Kimberly must end its drought against North, which has won the last four showdowns, all by seven points or less. The Papermakers' last win was a 24-7 decision en route to a perfect mark and D-2 state trophy in 2008.
Mondovi (5-0) at Glenwood City (5-0)
This Dunn-St. Croix battle features one of the top teams in D-5 against the defending D-7 champions, foes who finished in a three-way tie for second place a year ago.
However, the winner of this tilt no doubt has the leg up in the chase for league bragging rights.
The Buffaloes must find a way to slow down a Glenwood City bunch that has scored 48 or more points in every game.
Xavier (5-0) at Freedom (4-1)
The Hawks are trying to keep pace with Waupaca atop the Eastern Valley standings with a visit to the latter looming Oct. 11. Freedom can't afford a loss, which would pretty much put it in a battle for third place.
This matchup features Xavier's record-setting quarterback Matt Ferris and its aerial attack against Nathan Peters and the Irish's topnotch ground game.
Potosi (5-0) at Black Hawk (5-0)
This crucial contest features two of the three remaining unbeaten teams in the Six Rivers as they try to keep pace with Pecatonica-Argyle, all with 4-0 marks and playoff qualifiers with wins this week.
The defending league champion and D-7 state runners-up Chieftains are riding an 11-game conference winning string, having not lost since the regular-season finale to Highland.
The Warriors are looking for their fourth playoff trip in a row and 19th overall.
Sussex Hamilton (3-2) at Milwaukee Marquette (4-1)
The Chargers got back into contention in the league race in handing Menomonee Falls its first defeat of the season and can move into a tie for the lead with another big win.
Marquette has erased the memories of a dismal 2012 campaign, one that snapped its 12-game postseason run, and can punch a ticket to the playoffs with a triumph.
Waukesha West (5-0) at Arrowhead (4-1)
The Wolverines would make a huge statement with a road upset in this matchup between the Classic Eight's only remaining teams with unblemished league records.
West is seeking its second victory in three years over the Warhawks after earning a 19-13 win in 2011.
Arrowhead is chasing its third piece of the league title in the last four years, and the winner clinches a playoff trip and should go onto to earn at least a share of the crown as West still has a regular-season finale against Catholic Memorial.
DeForest (5-0) at Reedsburg (4-1)
Reedsburg downed Waunakee for the first time since it won the Division 3 state title in 2009, also handing the Warriors their first home setback since 1998.
The Beavers lead the Badger North at 3-0 and can clinch a playoff berth with a victory, while the Norskies would take over the top spot and gain the driver's seat to conference supremacy if it claims a road win.
Fort Atkinson (5-0) at Monona Grove (5-0)
Not too far down the road, the Blackhawks and the Silver Eagles will tussle for Badger South's top position.
Monona Grove is a half-game ahead at 3-0 and can secure a postseason berth with a triumph. Fort Atkinson is trying to end their rival's 30-game league winning streak and snap their four-year reign atop the conference standings.
Sun Prairie (5-0) at Madison Memorial (5-0)
Both Big Eight combatants clinched playoff berths last week, but this week's winner will grab the inside track to the league championship.
However, both squads must face Middleton, which is tied with Madison La Follette for second place at 4-1, in the final three weeks of the campaign.
River Valley (4-1) at Lancaster (5-0)
Both teams sit at 4-0 in the Southwest Wisconsin and the winner claims a postseason position with a victory.
River Valley's defense must play its best game of the year because Lancaster has scored 43 or more points in every outing.
Kewaunee (5-0) at Chilton (5-0)
Both Olympian-Packerland Large teams are 3-0 and tied with Roncalli for the league lead with a two-game margin over the next contenders.
The winner will clinch a postseason appearance. The Storm and the Tigers visit Roncalli in the final three weeks.