HS Football Playoffs – Level 2 previews

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3) Pulaski (9-1) vs. 2) River Falls
Friday at 7 P.M. (at UW-River Falls)

Last week
3) Pulaski over 6) Menominie (23-20)
2) River Falls over 7) Kaukauna (25-21)

Pulaski trailed heading into the fourth quarter against Menomonie in Level 1, but a Dylan Hendricks three-yard touchdown run with 3:50 left in the game secured the victory. Hendricks led the way with 185 yards and two touchdowns for the Red Raiders, while Casey Lambert added three catches for 54 yards and touchdowns as well. Pulaski has now outscored their opponents this season 319-135.

River Falls found themselves in a battle with Kaukauna Saturday afternoon, and Jared Creen scored on a 54-yard touchdown run on fourth down with 5:19 left in the game to take the lead for good. Minnesota commit Logan Graetz finished 8-14 with 133 yards and one touchdown, while senior running back Jared Creen (34 carries, 185 yards, 2 touchdowns) paced the way on the ground for the Wildcats.


4) Onalaska (7-3) vs. 1) Rice Lake (8-2)
Friday at 7 P.M.

Last week
4) Onalaska over 5) Medford 49-14
1) Rice Lake over 8) Hayward 41-9

Onalaska was in control over Medford in Level 1, scoring 35 first half points to take a commanding lead and eventually win. Quarterback Austin Larson totaled four touchdowns in the win, while running back Ben Wittenberg (147 yards, 1 TD) provided a threat in the backfield. The Hilltoppers have now outscored their opponents this season 355-245, averaging over 374 total yards a game.

Rice Lake began their title defense with an impressive 41-9 win over Hayward in Level 1, jumping out to a 35-0 lead at halftime. The Warriors ran for 361 yards, with DeAirus Clerveau (148 yards, 3 TD) leading the way and Peyton Buckley (27 yards, 1 TD) also with a couple nice runs. Jarrett Atwood (13 tackles) and Carter Waite (10 tackles) led the way for the defense, which has now outscored the opponents this season 390-263.

7) Sparta (5-5) vs. 3) New Richmond (6-4)
Friday at 7 P.M.

Last week
7) Sparta over 2) Ashland 36-8
3) New Richmond over 6) La Crosse Logan 20-14

Sparta opened up the 2018 postseason with one of the most impressive upsets in the state, a dominating 36-8 win over Ashland on the road. Quarterback Cole Wisniewski led the way for the Spartans, totaling 126 yards and three touchdowns on the game. Running back Bryce Edwards also provided a spark in the backfield, going for 106 yards and a touchdown.

New Richmond jumped out to a 20-0 lead over Logan in Level 1, and had to hold off a late comeback to advance to the next round of the playoffs. Joe Powers found the endzone for the Tigers on a jet sweep, while Payton Pohl put the game away with a pick-six in the second half. New Richmond has now outscored their opponents this season 223-222.


4) Somerset (6-4) vs. 1) Saint Croix Central (10-0)
Friday at 7 P.M.

Last week
4) Somerset over 5) G-E-T (46-6)
1) Saint Croix Central over 8) Adams-Friendship (42-0)

Somerset opened the 2018 playoffs with an impressive 46-6 win over Galesville-Ettrick-Trempealeau at home. The offense scored three first quarter touchdowns all courtesy of Jack Peterson (115 yards, 4 TD). Quarterback Will Piletich was also very effective on the ground, rushing for 138 yards and a touchdown. Defensively, Peterson (10 tackles) and Ethan Wegscheider (10 tackles) held G-E-T to 177 total yards.

Saint Croix Central overpowered Adams-Friendship in Level 1, running for 258 yards on the ground in a 42-0 shut-out win. Running back Ryan Larson (121 yards, 4 TD) was a force on the ground, while quarterback Austin Kopacz (113 yards, 1 TD) was also dangerous under center. The Panther defense held Adams-Friendship to 27 yards total, including -20 yards rushing.

6) Baldwin-Woodville (6-4) vs. 2) Northwestern (10-0)
Friday at 7 P.M.

Last week
6) Baldwin-Woodville over 3) West Salem (21-14)
2) Northwestern over 7) Ellsworth (42-8)

The Blackhawks upset West Salem in Level 1 on the road, with running back Andrew Klopp scoring the game-winning go-ahead touchdown midway thru the fourth quarter. Klopp (156 yards, 1 TD) was the driving force on the ground for Baldwin-Woodville, while Alex Bishop (76 total yards, 1 TD) provided a threat as well. The defense held the Panthers to six first downs the entire game, and had a pair of interceptions.

Northwestern jumped out to a 28-0 lead at the half, and eventually topped Ellsworth in Level 1, 42-8. Minnesota Duluth commit Regan Ruffi (153 yards, 3 TD) had another big game on the ground, but Trevor Janowicz (81 yards, 2 TD) wasn’t too bad himself. The Tigers ran for 324 yards as a team, while the defense held Ellsworth to 135 yards rushing.


4) Bloomer (8-2) vs. 1) Spencer/Columbus (9-1)
Friday at 7 P.M.

Last week
4) Bloomer over 5) Spooner (30-6)
1) Spencer/Columbus over 8) Arcadia (47-8)

The Blackhawks are finally getting healthy at the right time of the season, and were impressive in Level 1 with a 30-6 win over conference rival Spooner. Jesse Buchli led the way on the ground, running for 107 yards and three touchdowns, while quarterback Zach Ruff (139 total yards, 1 TD) had an effective game as well. The Bloomer defense also recorded a pair of interceptions from Johnny Bleskacek and Jace McMullin in the victory.

The Rockets ran for 413 yards as a team in their Level 1 win over Arcadia 47-8. Hayden Bauman (137 yards, 2 TD), Carson Hildebrandt (114 yards, 1 TD), and Austin Bacon (92 yards, 1 TD) provide a three-headed monster in the backfield, while quarterback Jared Mandel (52 yards, 2 TD) was also very effective through the air. Ethan Meece also recorded an interception for the Spencer/Columbus defense in the victory.

3) Elk Mound (8-2) vs. 2) Westby (9-1)
Friday at 7 P.M.

Last week
3) Elk Mound over 6) Stanley-Boyd (41-23)
2) Westby over 7) Cumberland (32-26)

The Mounders have now won five straight games, including an impressive Level 1 win over Stanley-Boyd 41-23. It was the Brady Redwine show once again on the ground, rushing for 334 yards and five touchdowns on the night. Elk Mound out-gained the Orioles on the ground as a team 400-76, Rian Flynn (24 yards, 1 TD) also found the end zone for the Mounders. Redwine (10 tackles), Max Marquardt (12 tackles), and Brett Lew (12 tackles) led the way for the defense in the victory.

Westby trailed Cumberland 18-12 at the half, but used three second-half touchdowns to pull away and hold off a late rally. Ryan Daines had a big game on the ground for the Norsemen, rushing for 283 yards and four touchdowns. The defense also created three turnovers, with Alex Gluch and Joe Armbruster grabbing interceptions, and Kenny Berg forcing a fumble.

3) Colby (8-2) vs. 2) Stratford (8-2)
Friday at 7 P.M.

Last week
3) Colby over 6) Bonduel (26-20)
2) Stratford over 7) Northland Pines (41-0)

The Hornets trailed 12-7 early in the fourth quarter to Bonduel, but scored three touchdowns in three minutes to secure a 26-20 win. Running back Tyler Klement (196 yards, 2 TD) was the main weapon for the Colby offense, while Reece Kellnhofer (30 yards, 1 TD) also found the end zone. The Hornets defense forced three interceptions in the win, as Kellnhofer, Logan Hawkey, and Isaac Karl all recorded a pick, while Kellnhofer also forced a fumble.

Stratford jumped out to a 41-0 nothing lead at the half, and put the game away for a Level 1 win over Northland Pines. Chandler Schmidt (112 yards, 2 TD) and Max Schwabe (90 yards, 1 TD) led a two-way passing attack, while Okley Wrensch (3 catches, 142 yards, 2 TD) had a big game on the outside. Stratford has now outscored their opponents this season 372-122.


4) Spring Valley (7-3) vs. 1) Eau Claire Regis (10-0)
Friday at 7 P.M. (at Carson Park)

Last week
4) Spring Valley over 5) Mondovi (19-14)
1) Eau Claire Regis over 8) Lake Holcombe/Cornell (46-12)

The Cardinals beat Dunn-St. Croix rival Mondovi for the second time this season, with a 19-14 win in Level 1. Quarterback Aaron Borgerding (103 yards, 1 TD) and Nathan Fesenmaier (93 yards, 2 TD) led the offense in the backfield on the ground, while Dylan Bosshart (102 total yards) provided a spark as well. The defense held the high-octane Buffalo passing attack to just 55 yards total in the victory.

The Ramblers jumped out to a 46-0 lead at halftime over Lake Holcombe/Cornell in Level 1, and then put the game away in the second half for the win. Quarterback Isaac Michels (86 yards, 3 TD) was very effective for the offense through the air, while Luke Rooney (28 yards, 1 TD) and Aaron Haselwander (37 yards, 1 TD) each found the end zone on the ground. The Rambler defense has only allowed 59 points so far this season.

3) Unity (9-1) vs. 2) Grantsburg (10-0)
Friday at 7 P.M.

Last week
3) Unity over 6) Webster (28-7)
2) Grantsburg over 7) Glenwood City (61-30)

Unity topped Webster in Level 1 28-7, scoring a pair of touchdowns in the fourth quarter to put the game away late. Quarterback Jake Bloom (119 total yards, 2 TD) had a good game running the offense, while Hunter Houde (177 yards, 2 TD) was unstoppable in the backfield. The defense recorded five sacks in the win, a pair from Jack Nelson, and one each from Bloom, Adam Weihe, and Owen Raboin.

Grantsburg beat Unity 49-6 back in week six on the road, and have scored at least 35 points in all ten games so far this season. Quarterback Luke Anderson (100 yards, 2 TD) was effective through the air, while Leo Chenal (265 yards, 4 TD) and Tyrell Brande (20 yards, 2 TD) led the way on the ground. The defense also forced a pair of turnovers in the victory, as Brande and David McKean each recorded an interception.


5) Eleva-Strum (6-3) vs. 1) Bangor (9-1)
Friday at 7 P.M.

Last week
5) Eleva-Strum over 4) De Soto (34-14)
1) Bangor over 8) Independence/Gilmanton (40-8)

Eleva-Strum has won five of their last 6 games, including an impressive upset win over De Soto in Level 1, 34-14. Quarterback Ryan Johnson (119 yards, 1 TD) made some plays through the air, but Andrew Schoen (127 yards, 1 TD), Blake Cegielski (35 yards, 2 TD), and Garrett Miland (16 yards, 1 TD) all chipped in for a big game on the ground.

Bangor is the defending Division 7 state champions, and opened their defense with a big 40-8 win over Independence/Gilmanton in Level 1. Running back Carter Horstman (143 yards, 3 TD) had a big game on the ground for the Cardinals, while Dylan Sprain (55 yards, 1 TD) found the end zone as well. Defensively, Hank Reader and Jayden Nachtigal both recorded sacks in the victory.

4) Clear Lake (7-3) vs. 1) Edgar (10-0)
Friday at 7 P.M.

Last week
4) Clear Lake over 5) Turtle Lake (18-14)
1) Edgar over 8) Greenwood (50-0)

Clear Lake jumped out to a 12-0 lead at halftime over Turtle Lake in Level 1, and then scored a touchdown early in the fourth quarter to put the game away. Ivan Ruble returned the opening kick-off for the Warriors, going 90-yards to set the tone, he also ran for 72 yards and another score in the win. Clear Lake’s defense also forced two Turtle Lake interceptions.

Edgar led at the half 36-0 over Greenwood in Level 1, and cruised to the eventual win. Quarterback Karson Butt (99 yards, 1 TD) was effective through the air, while Will Raatz (27 yards, 3 TD) and Kyle Brewster (49 yards, 2 TD) were the main threats on the ground. Butt also returned a punt for a touchdown in the win, while Brewster caught two passes for 49 yards and a score.

3) Gilman (8-2) vs. 2) Loyal (8-2)
Friday at 7 P.M.

Last week
3) Gilman over 6) Elmwood/Plum City (52-24)
2) Loyal over 7) Hurley (52-16)

Gilman trailed 12-0 after the first quarter, but scored 39 unanswered points to come back and get the win. The Pirates had a big game on the ground as a team, Gabe Gunderson (102 yards, 2 TD), Kellvin Krizan (86 yards, 2 TD), and Maverick Birkenholz (116 yards, 4 TD) all led the way. The Gilman defense also forced two Elmwood/Plum City interceptions in the victory.

Loyal led 22-16 at halftime, but scored the next 30 points of the game to cruise to the Level 1 win over Hurley. It was the Matt Szymanski show on the ground, as he ran for 237 yards and four touchdowns total. However, Skylar Ruggles (35 yards, 1 TD), Stephen Buchanan (40 yards, 1 TD), and Maverick Roehl (5 yards, 1 TD) all found the end zone as well in the win.

Collin Talbert

Collin Talbert

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