Arrowhead (3-1, 2-0 in Classic 8). Arrowhead has been one of the most interesting teams in the state thus far. Back-to-back wins on the final drive of the game in the waning moments have given this team a chance to win another Classic 8 title, one thriller to stave off an upset against Kettle Moraine and one to top a Catholic Memorial team that also has an elite squad this year. Should teams be licking their chops thinking Arrowhead isn't as dominant as it has been in years past or concerned that the Warhawks seem to have that late magic to win close games?
Brookfield Academy (4-0, 2-0 in Midwest Classic). Spencer Francis is one of those small-school players everyone needs to see, but the Knights would likely be the first to admit that they haven't been faced with an opponent that should hang with them yet, so that makes the Sept. 19 meeting with University School particularly fascinating.
Brookfield Central (3-1, 2-0 in Greater Metro). A win against Wauwatosa East last week was expected, but a shutout of Menomonee Falls this week showed Central indeed has what it takes to compete for the Greater Metro crown, which is still a relatively open race. First-year coach Jed Kennedy has led his team to a beautiful rebound after an opening-week loss to Whitefish Bay.
Franklin (3-1, 2-0 in Southeast). A resounding win over Kenosha Bradford in Week 4 has the Sabers back in the Southeast title conversation, knotted with Kenosha Indian Trail atop the league standings. Oak Creek and Tremper remain threats.
Germantown (4-0, 2-0 in North Shore). After a second straight excellent showing against a quality North Shore Conference foe, Germantown has hit cruise control and will get to take a bye later in the year in advance of the last major challenge remaining -- Homestead. There's a simple reality about the current state of affairs in Wisconsin football, Division 1 is not as difficult a playoff pool as the divisions below it. We could seriously be talking about THE favorite in D1 this year.
Greendale (4-0, 2-0 in Woodland West). Greendale really just needs to stay healthy as it has now played the first of four straight games where it will be the considerable favorite. Looking more and more like the surefire Woodland West champ, the Panthers will get a couple interesting crossover tests late in the year before figuring out if they'll land in Division 2 or Division 3.
Greenfield (3-1, 2-0 in Woodland East). Of all the 2-0 teams, Greenfield has the most tenuous playoff prospects with games remaining against South Milwaukee and Brown Deer (though if history holds, a win over Whitnall on Oct. 3 will give the Hawks an almost-surefire chance of a playoff berth regardless of what happens in the league crossover). It's hard not to like what coach Joe Koch has done, guiding his team to three straight wins after a lopsided opener against Germantown.
Homestead (4-0, 2-0 in North Shore). Homestead has firmly put itself in the state-title conversation with its win over Arrowhead, and the Highlanders won't hit the teeth of their schedule for another couple weeks. It's back loaded, but it's likely to get HHS prepared for a postseason run regardless of the wins and losses. The Highlanders dominated Week 4 against Grafton, a team that gave HHS problems last year.
Lake Country Lutheran (4-0, 2-0 in Metro Classic). Lake Country Lutheran is going to find a way to make the playoffs, even if battles against Brookfield Academy and University School supply some form of intrigue. The real question is whether LCL will wind up as Division 6 or Division 7 and if the Lightning can work past some superb D6 programs with big-time tradition, like Edgar and St. Mary Springs.
Muskego (4-0, 2-0 in Classic 8). Last week, Muskego was a sleeper. This week, the Warriors might just be the favorite to win the Classic 8 Conference. With a dismantling of league power Waukesha West -- a team that we had pegged as the favorite to win the league -- Muskego showed it's no longer just a good team trapped in a conference with great teams. Now it might be the best team in a conference of great teams.
South Milwaukee (4-0, 2-0 in Woodland East). The Rockets have the inside track on winning the Woodland East and will definitely be in position to take the title with a win over upstart Greenfield next week. The Hustlin' Hawks are 2-0 in the division as well but will be underdogs against the Rockets.
University School (3-1, 2-0 in Midwest Classic). Jake Kandel and Michael Tucker are sharing the load for the Wildcats at running back, and USM can all but guarantee a spot in the postseason with a Week 5 win against Academy. But the team had to gut out a win over SJNMA last week, which suggests an edge for Academy, which defeated SJNMA handily in Week 3.
Brown Deer (3-1, 1-1 in Woodland East). The league opener against South Milwaukee didn't go perfectly, but when Zack Baun had rushed for five touchdowns and thrown for two more by halftime against Cudahy this past week, it's safe to say the Falcons had found their catharsis. It would be a major upset if the Falcons missed the postseason.
Catholic Memorial (3-1, 1-1 in Classic 8). Memorial was an eyelash away from knocking off mighty Arrowhead before the Warhawks rallied in the final moments to stun the Crusaders. Still, as we look at Classic 8 teams, it's almost always acceptable to view a win over Arrowhead as a bonus and not a necessity (since it's been a given in many cases over the years), and the Crusaders are still in very elite company.
Oak Creek (3-1, 1-1 in Southeast). Nothing at all has come easily for the Knights this year, with a low-scoring slugfest over Racine Horlick in Week 4 following a loss to Indian Trail and a close early-season win over Menomonee Falls. Still, the Knights were favorites in the Southeast to start the year, and they still look like a postsason lock if nothing else.
Pewaukee (1-3, 1-1 in Woodland West). An easy win over Wauwatosa West suggests what we suspected, that Pewaukee's 0-3 start was more about close calls and top competition than the Pirates having a true down year. Pewaukee will be heavily favored to win the rest of its Woodland West games and should have the resume to reach the playoffs.
Waukesha West (3-1, 1-1 in Classic 8). A lopsided loss to Muskego showed that the Warriors are ready to take one of the coveted playoff spots in the Classic 8 Conference, and it's possible that the Wolverines would be that casualty. But it's unlikely, and West should still find a way in even with a smaller margin for error. This team could still be a Division 2 powerhouse.
Whitefish Bay (3-1, 1-1 in North Shore). Assuming Whitefish Bay takes care of business against Grafton and Port Washington, it's a playoff team regardless of what happens against the league's powers left on the schedule, Homestead and Cedarburg.
Brookfield East (3-1, 1-1 in Greater Metro). East is a little hard to figure after a lopsided loss to Marquette followed by a tense victory over Hamilton last week. That's definitely a "swing game" win in the Spartans' favor, but they still have to hold the line against the league's bottom three teams -- including a tricky Hale squad -- to get into the postseason.
Menomonee Falls (2-2, 1-1 in Greater Metro). Someone in the Greater Metro is on track to get left out. With four teams at 1-1, and dangerous West Allis Hale at 0-2 but looking like a program that could upset the apple cart, Falls heads into a monster game with Sussex Hamilton next week. The winner should feel very good about its playoff prospects, and the loser should be nervous.
Mukwonago (3-1, 1-1 in Classic 8). Mukwonago might be one of those teams in the Classic 8 in a precarious spot now that Muskego has shown what it can do. The Indians are still a superb team, but considering Muskego just blew out Waukesha West (and Mukwonago already lost to West), it could come down to Mukwonago beating either Catholic Memorial or Arrowhead (next week) to secure a playoff berth. Kettle Moraine is no slouch, either.
New Berlin Eisenhower (2-2, 1-1 in Woodland West). The Lions have the edge as a Woodland West team that has traditionally been stronger than its East counterparts. If Ike can pull off a win over Tosa West and the league crossover, it wouldn't need to upset Pewaukee. And the Lions could still top Milwaukee Pius, which has been a bit of a surprise thus far at 2-0. Safe to say, the Eisenhower-Tosa West clash will be very important next week.
St. Francis (3-1, 1-1 in Midwest Classic). An easy win over Living Word Lutheran in Week 4 gave the Mariners their first Midwest Classic win, but we just don't have the track record to be sure St. Francis can defeat the teams they should in this league. Even with losses to University School and Brookfield Academy -- which could both easily be wins in the Mariners' corner -- this team can still get in with wins over the bottom half of the league.
Sussex Hamilton (1-3, 1-1 in Greater Metro). The Chargers are facing a tenuous situation after a close loss to Brookfield East this past week. Hamilton still faces league frontrunners Brookfield Central and Marquette, as well as Falls next week and Hale. The squad will need wins in two of those games.
Kettle Moraine (3-1, 1-1 in Classic 8). The Lasers are still a crafty sleeper possibility after nearly knocking off Arrowhead and rallying to down South, but the same story remains: to get to the playoffs: the Lasers must knock off two of Mukwonago, Catholic Memorial, Muskego and Waukesha West. One win is going to be tough, but not surprising. Two is going to be the latter.
Messmer/Shorewood (1-3, 1-1 in Woodland East). A loss to Greenfield is pretty damaging to the postseason outlook, with games still to come against Brown Deer and South Milwaukee, as well as a Woodland crossover against a Western Division that has had the East's number. Messwood needs at least one win in one of those games.
Wauwatosa West (2-2, 0-2 in Woodland West). The Trojans would pull a whale of an upset by downing Greendale, but if Tosa West can sweep the New Berlins and grab a win against one of the middle-tier teams in the Woodland East (which seems very do-able), they would have the .500 record that has gotten nearly every team into the playoffs in years past.
West Allis Hale (2-2, 0-2 in Greater Metro). Hale has played tough Greater Metro teams close now in back-to-back weeks, but the Huskies will need to take the next step soon to reach the playoffs. It seems as though Hale should be able to top Wauwatosa East and West Allis Central, but where will the two additional wins come from against Hamilton, Brookfield East and Brookfield Central?
Cudahy (1-3, 0-2 in Woodland East). Cudahy needs to take care of business each of the next two weeks against Shorewood/Messmer and Whitnall, then pull a surprise against either South Milwaukee or the Woodland West crossver foe.
Dominican (1-3, 0-2 in Metro Classic). The Knights will have to record multiple upsets to make the playoffs out of the Metro Classic.
Martin Luther (0-4, 0-2 in Metro Classic). Upstart Racine Luheran won a 37-34 barn burner over the Spartans in Week 3, a pretty damaging loss in the playoff-chasing landscape for ML.
New Berlin West (0-4, 0-2 in Woodland West). With Greendale and Pewaukee as foes the next two weeks, West could really use a stunner against one of them.
Oconomowoc (0-4, 0-2 in Wisconsin Little Ten). Losing to West Bend East -- a team with a 21-game losing streak heading in -- solidified the cold reality that this team could be hard pressed to record more than one or two wins in the WLT this year after winning the league outright in 2013.
St. John's Northwestern Military Academy (0-4, 0-2 in Midwest Classic). SJNMA held its own against University School this week, a sign that better things may be on the horizon.
St. Thomas More (1-3, 0-2 in Metro Classic). The Cavaliers have gotten zero traction in league losses to Racine Lutheran and Kenosha St. Joseph.
Waukesha North (2-2, 0-2 in Classic 8). North is improved but still has an extreme uphill battle in a Classic 8 that seems to get better by the day.
Waukesha South (1-2, 0-2 in Classic 8). The blowout loss to Muskego in Week 3 looks far more understandable as Muskego has risen to power, but South's outlook remains rocky.
Wauwatosa East (1-3, 1-1 in Greater Metro). Tosa East defeated West Allis Central in Week 4, but the Red Raiders will be underdogs against the rest of the GMC.
West Allis Central (1-3, 0-2 in Greater Metro). Meanwhile, Central will be hard pressed to record a victory in the tough GMC after falling to Tosa East.
Whitnall (0-4, 0-2 in Woodland East). Whitnall's path remains arduous, but the Falcons have our attention after a surprisingly close call against South Milwaukee in Week 4, 13-6. This isn't a team that can be taken lightly.
Nicolet has canceled its varsity football season in 2014.
Asking area football coaches their anonymous thoughts on the greater issues of coaching at the prep level:
How often are you satisfied with the officiating in the Milwaukee area? What percentage do an excellent job, and what percentage do an adequate job?
Coach 1: I would say no coach is ever 100 percent pleased. The quality of the officiating is very broad, and I have had great crews and horrible ones as well. I would say 60-70 percent do an adequate job. Only about 5-10 percent are excellent.
Coach 2: I think every official does the best they can do. The game has changed in this state so much. I think all officials would agree we need more people going to this. I have seen some marketing towards getting officials; that is a good step.
Coach 3: 25 percent do an excellent job. 25-50 percent do an acceptable job.
Coach 4: I can't say it is always good. Excellent - 30 percent. Average/adequate - 50 percent. Poor - 20 percent.
Photo by Scott Ash
Oconomowoc punter Dan Graupman (33) soccer kicks the ball out of his own end zone after a botched snap against West Bend East on Sept. 12. The play was ruled a safety against Oconomowoc.
Somehow, Zack Baun finds a way to out-do himself on a weekly basis. The Brown Deer star quarterback played a role in seven touchdowns in his team's 58-14 win against Cudahy on Friday ... and that was all in the first half. He wound up with five rushing scores on 218 yards rushing and completed 8 of 13 passes for 188 yards and two scores. And did we mention he landed a greyshirt scholarship offer from the University of Wisconsin.
Past Players of Week
A look back at the best of the best from the NOW Newspapers and Lake Country Publications coverage areas.
Area players mentioned among the best in the senior class at their position by Wissports.net.
Kevin Stemke watch list (top specialist)
Connor Allen, Brookfield East; Nathan Erickson, New Berlin Eisenhower; Gerry Gilles, Brown Deer; Carter Schmitz, Germantown
Jim Leonhard watch list (top defensive back)
Gerry Gilles, Brown Deer; Cody Kujawa, Waukesha West; Jack Ringelberg, Greendale; Elijah Strong, Oak Creek; Brandon Valenza, Muskego; Zach Veit, Wauwatosa West
John Anderson watch list (top linebacker)
Matthew Braatz, Greenfield; Dyson Chmura, Waukesha West; Andy Hessler, Arrowhead; Michael Kremer, Whitnall; Richard Kuehl, Oconomowoc; Maurice Lucre', Brown Deer; Nick Radloff, Waukesha West; Ty Ramirez, Greendale; Jake Regazzi, Oak Creek; Kyle Theis, Germantown; Mike Wurster, Catholic Memorial
Tim Krumrie watch list (top defensive lineman)
Jack Bredeson, Arrowhead; Ross Gottschalk, Lake Country Lutheran; Sam Gromacki, Catholic Memorial; Lincoln Gruber, Germantown; Alex Hauke, Muskego; Jamar Manning, Brown Deer; David Pfaff, Homestead
Joe Thomas watch list (top offensive lineman)
Tony Balistreri, Catholic Memorial; Dan Bartels, Franklin; Bryan Beck, Franklin; Michael Cooney, Germantown; Vince Hughes, Franklin; Sam King, Muskego; PJ LeClaire, Brookfield East; Balli Leszcynski, Muskego; Sean Mabbett, Germantown; John Marita, Homestead; Christian Morzinski, Wauwatosa West; Michael Nelson, Homestead; Elijah Perine, Homestead; Andrew Poentisch, Sussex Hamilton; Jacob Schley, St. Thomas More; Joe Schultz, Waukesha West; Nathan Weloz, Oak Creek; Charlie Younger, Mukwonago
Al Toon watch list (top receiver)
Cole Karcz, Germantown; Chase Scharnek, Waukesha West; Mike Schmidt, Catholic Memorial; Mario VanSchaick, Waukesha North
Dave Krieg watch list (top quarterback)
Nick Allen, Homestead; Mike Barnes, Sussex Hamilton; Zack Baun, Brown Deer; Joe Breznik, West Allis Hale; Cannon Cooley, Waukesha South; Spencer Francis, Brookfield Academy; Will Knoecny, West Allis Central; Dwayne Lawhorn, Jr., Germantown; Justin Oliden, South Milwaukee; Josh Ringelberg, Greendale; Jeremy Swider, Greenfield; Ben Wilkins, Lake Country Lutheran
Elroy Hirsch watch list (top running back)
Nick Coleman, Brown Deer; Xavier Copeland, Greenfield; Tommy Garza, Catholic Memorial; Jordan Jones, Pewaukee; Joe Lemerond, Germantown; Bryce McMurtry, Menomonee Falls; Nick Monty, Whitnall; Matt Patterson, Brookfield Central; Ian Pribyl, South Milwaukee; Demaris Purifoy, Wauwatosa West; Adam Tovar, Lake Country Lutheran; Michael Tucker, University School; Isaiah Webb, Sussex Hamilton; Joe Werner, West Allis Hale
Muskego has always been considered a program with lots of talent, including a boatload of returnees from last year. But the Classic 8 is full of powerhouse programs; could the Warriors keep pace? Well, we have a pretty assured answer. The 52-28 pounding of highly ranked Waukesha West shows the Warriors have one of the best offenses in the state, and they go from fringe playoff contender to a bona fide threat to win the vaunted league overnight.
Keep tabs on the former stars of the NOW/Lake Country coverage area as they suit up on Saturdays and Sundays:
Oakland Raiders: After a tumultuous college career, Shelby Harris (Homestead) hungers for a chance to prove himself. He made the team's Opening Week roster.
Cleveland Browns: Joe Thomas (Brookfield Central - pictured) remains one of the primary reasons why the Cleveland Browns offense can work, regardless of who the quarterback is.
Houston Texans: Houston Texans star J.J. Watt (Pewaukee) has become one of the highest-paid defensive players in NFL history with his new six-year contract. His team is 2-0, and he caught a touchdown in Week 2 -- with more to come?
Dallas Cowboys: Ben Gardner (Homestead) believes he can make it back from an injury in his first NFL camp.
New York Jets: Nick Bellore (Whitefish Bay) has been a crucial part of his team's special teams unit. He was prepping to face the Packers in Week 2 of the NFL season.
Baltimore Ravens: Compromise led Rick Wagner (West Allis Hale) to football, and he's now a starting offensive lineman for the Ravens.
Wisconsin: Joel Stave (Whitnall) has been shut down because of a recurring shoulder injury -- or not -- after he was controversially left on the sidelines of the team's opener against LSU.
Wisconsin: Chikwe Obasih (Brookfield Central) and Alec James (Brookfield East) have bulked up in their redshirt seasons and will likely contribute this year on the defensive line.
Wisconsin: Linebacker Derek Landisch (Arrowhead) hopes to be ready for the season opener as he battles a hamstring injury.
Wisconsin: Offensive lineman Kyle Costigan (Muskego) will be playing with his mother on his mind. She has received an outpouring of support.
Wisconsin: Derek Watt (Pewaukee) won't be back until November after needing surgery following his team's opener against LSU.
Michigan: Punter Will Hagerup (Whitefish Bay) is working back from off-the-field issues.
North Dakota State: Alex Hahn (Oak Creek) recorded a sack as the Bison knocked off Iowa State in the season opener.
Northern Illinois: Cameron Clinton-Earl (Sussex Hamilton) had six tackles Saturday, and Josh Orne (Kettle Moraine) has been handling kickoffs as the team downed UNLV in a shootout Sept. 13.
Submit story suggestions to email@example.com.
Sports director JR Radcliffe and Time Warner Sports Channel's JP Cadorin discuss local sports. Latest episode: Gary Andersen and the Badgers fooball team have a bad week, plus a look back at Arrowhead-Homestead and a glance ahead to Packers opener.
WIAA playoff numbers for area programs:
Consecutive playoff berths (through 2013)
Others receiving consideration: Catholic Memorial (3-1), Franklin (3-1), Waukesha West (3-1), Oak Creek (3-1)
(updated Sept. 14)
Test your knowledge of the high school football rule book with help from Patrick Miles, a member of the Executive Board of the Milwaukee Officials Association and an official who has worked WIAA state championships, the NCAA Division III national championship and other NCAA contests, including the Big Ten.
Scenario: Team A punts the ball downfield, where a Team B player signals for a fair catch. The ball hits the chest of the Team B player, bounces forward onto the ground, and a Team A player picks it up and runs the other way into the end zone. Is it a touchdown?
(records portrayed are league, overall)
|West Allis Hale||0||2||2||2|
|West Allis Central||0||2||1||3|
|Nicolet (no varsity)||0||2||0||2|
|Kenosha Indian Trail||2||0||3||1|
|New Berlin Eisenhower||1||1||2||2|
|New Berlin West||0||2||0||4|
|West Bend East||1||1||1||3|
|West Bend West||0||2||2||2|
|Lake Country Lutheran||2||0||4||0|
|Kenosha Christian Life||1||1||1||3|
|Living Word Lutheran||0||2||0||4|
|Racine St. Catherine's||2||0||3||1|
|Kenosha St. Joseph||2||0||2||2|
|St. Thomas More||0||2||1||3|
* Some North Shore overall records include credit for forfeit victory over Nicolet as well as nonconference game played in lieu of league meeting with Nicolet.
A look at top upcoming games in the coverage area:
Mark Stewart and JR Radcliffe discuss high school sports in this weekly video.
Area statistical leaders (through Week 4)
A look at area teams in the state polls:
Wisconsin State Coaches Poll (Week 4)
2. Germantown (4-0)
4. Arrowhead (3-1)
7. Muskego (4-0)
1. Homestead (4-0)
2. Greendale (4-0)
5. South Milwaukee (4-0)
6. Waukesha West (3-1)
8. Whitefish Bay (3-1)
9. Brookfield Central (3-1)
4. Catholic Memorial (3-1)
8. Lake Country Lutheran (4-0)
Associated Press Poll (Week 4)
2. Homestead (4-0)
4. Germantown (4-0)
5. Arrowhead (3-1)
10. Muskego (4-0)
Others receiving votes: Waukesha West (3-1), Greendale (4-0)
4. Catholic Memorial (3-1)
Others receiving votes: Lake Country Lutheran (4-0)
Joe Koch brings program-building talents to Greenfield.
High-profile Jed Kennedy takes helm for Brookfield Central.
Jared McGranahan initiates new era at Whitnall.
Alumnus Matt Harris comes home to Waukesha North.
Matt Kern looks to open up offense at New Berlin Eisenhower.
Central's Ben Strickland continues to excel in Madison.
Project brings Franklin into 21st century.
Zany 84-82 game will be remembered for years to come.
KM grad Joe Donner brings foreign influence.