Arrowhead (7-0, 5-0 in Classic 8): Arrowhaed had to stage a dazzling late rally to beat Kettle Moraine last year, but this year would provide no such drama. The Warhawks continue to be the No. 1 team in the area, though Franklin certainly has the right to make a claim. The season appears headed for a final-week showdown for Classic 8 supremacy against Muskego.
Brookfield Academy (6-1, 4-1 in Midwest Classic): Ian Francis threw three of his seven completions for touchdowns in a win over Living Word Lutheran on Oct. 2, and with a playoff spot shored up, Academy can now turn its attention to Lake Country Lutheran and a chance to share the Midweset Classic title Oct. 9.
Brookfield Central (6-1, 5-0 in Greater Metro): The Lancers won back-to-back battles with fellow unbeaten GMC teams, first when they took down Brookfield East and then again over presumed league favorite Marquette in a surprisingly one-sided victory. With another great performance by quarterback Dominic Labellarte in a win over Sussex Hamilton on Oct. 2, Central avoided a potentially dangerous pitfall on the path to a league title.
Brookfield East (6-1, 4-1 in Greater Metro): East made sure there woud be no late-season drama surrounding a playoff spot despite a tough closing schedule with a shutout of Menomonee Falls in Week 7. The Spartans remain alive to at least share the league title, but it's looking more and more like Brookfield Central's title to lose. Pictured: Sam Santiago-Lloyd.
Franklin (7-0, 5-0 in Southeast): There was at least some concern that Kenosha Indian Trail, also unbeaten in the Southeast, would provide some resistance on Oct. 2. But nope. The Sabers look the part of a powerhouse and potential No. 1 team, with an undefeated regular season looking more and more likely.
Greendale (5-2, 5-0 in Woodland West): Greendale held serve with a win over Milwaukee Pius on Oct. 1, setting up a showdown for the overall Woodland title against Greenfield in two weeks. Next week, the Panthers travel to face Whitnall.
Greenfield (6-1, 4-1): Greenfield was a surprise upset victim to Brown Deer in Week 5, but the ship has been righted. After a win over Whitnall on Oct. 2, the Hustlin' Hawks not only secured a playoff spot, they shared the Woodland East title and wrapped up the No. 1 seed in the division. Pictured: Sam Streeter.
Homestead (5-2, 4-1 in North Shore): Homestead wrapped up a playoff spot Oct. 2 and now gets a chance to get back in the league-title conversation with a big-time battle against Whitefish Bay on Oct. 9.
Lake Country Lutheran (6-1, 5-0 in Midwest Classic): University School at least made it interesting, but Lake Country Lutheran can now turn its attention toward Brookfield Academy, and a win will shore up at least a share of the Midwest Classic crown.
Muskego (6-1, 4-1 in Classic 8): Wins over Mukwonago and Catholic Memorial put Muskego within shouting distance of the Classic 8 title, and with a loss by Waukesha West on Oct. 2, Muskego finds itself alone in second place and looking toward a battle with first-place Arrowhead in the final game of the regular season. Pictured: Ayden Malcolmson.
New Berlin Eisenhower (6-1, 4-1 in Woodland West): A thumping over Pewaukee solidified the Eisenhower claim to a playoff berth and second place in the Woodland West -- the Lions will get Greenfield next week and Whitnall the week after.
Oak Creek (6-1, 4-1 in Southeast): The Knights didn't win the Helmet Game with Franklin, but in fairness, it appears the Sabers are on another level right now. Oak Creek took care of a Racine Horlick team that won its first three Southeast games in Week 7, and now it's about honing their craft for the playoff push.
Oconomowoc (7-0, 5-0 in Wisconsin Little Ten): Even after quality wins over Hartford and Wisconsin Lutheran, the biggest game of the year came Oct. 2 at Slinger, where Oconomowoc emerged with a 28-14 win, gave Slinger its first loss and put OHS in great shape to win the WLT title.
St. Francis (6-1, 4-1 in Midwest Classic): St. Francis dominated Brookfield Academy in Week 6, a stunning 56-18 outcome that told us the Mariners are definitely the No. 2 team in the Midwest Classic. The Mariners locked up a playoff spot with a win in Week 7.
Whitefish Bay (6-1, 5-0 in North Shore): This continues to be a special year for the Blue Dukes, who are playing inspired football with their coach, Jim Tietjen, sidelined by cancer. It's coming down to a Week 8 battle with Homestead, where the Dukes can either put themselves in position for the outright North Shore title or fall back into a three-team tie. Pictured above: Macklin Kortebein.
Whitnall (5-2, 4-1 in Woodland East): The Falcons made some plays to keep themselves in the game against Greenfield on Oct. 2, but the Hustlin' Hawks had enough to hold off Whitnall and keep the Falcons from the Woodland East outright title. The Falcons will face the second-place team in the Woodland West in two weeks. Pictured: Kyle Radavich
Catholic Memorial (5-2, 3-2 in Classic 8): There was some cause for concern when Catholic Memorial headed into a battle against Waukesha West at 2-2 in league play in Week 7, but a convincing win all but assured another playoff beth for the Crusaders and put to rest fears that a potential Division 3 state-title contender would miss the playoffs entirely thanks to the brutal Classic 8.
Germantown (4-3, 3-2 in North Shore): Whitefish Bay got the best of the Warhawks in a battle for what could have been the North Shore title, and Germantown went down to Cedarburg on Oct. 2 in a battle for second place, but the threat level of missing the playoffs is very low.
Martin Luther (4-3, 3-2 in Metro Classic): Martin Luther must defeat either Kenosha St. Joseph or Shoreland Lutheran to have a shot at the playoffs, and neither is a good matchup for the Spartans on paper. They really needed a win over St. Catherine's on Oct. 3 -- without it, this team is in definite danger of missing the playoffs.
Menomonee Falls (3-4, 3-2 in Greater Metro): Falls was blanked by Brookfield East in Week 7 and lost quarterback Bryce McMurtry to injury for the second half. With the Indians slated to meet powerful league-leader Brookfield Central in the final week of the season, it could come down to next week's battle against stingy West Allis Hale.
University School (4-3, 3-2 in Midwest Classic): The Wildcats battled past a stubborn Kenosha Christian Life in Week 6, and a win over struggling Living Word Lutheran in Week 7 would guarantee playoff admission.
Waukesha West (5-2, 3-2 in Classic 8): This is still a Division 2 powerhouse that can get to Madison, and a convincing win over Mukwonago does nothing to dispel that perception in Week 6, nor does a setback against a Catholic Memorial squad in Week 7 that could also find itself in position for a state title.
Wauwatosa West (5-2, 3-2 in Woodland West): The lopsided win over New Berlin West in Week 7 is probably enough to get the Trojans into the playoffs with at least a .500 record, but a win over their Woodland East counterpart would guarantee a trip to the tourney.
Cudahy (3-4, 2-3 in Woodland East): It was looking pretty bleak until Cudahy scored a 2-point conversion in the final 30 seconds to shock South Milwaukee in Week 7. The Packers now are a crossover win away from having a great chance.
Messmer/Shorewood (3-4, 2-3 in Woodland East): After a couple near-misses, Messmer/Shorewood is alive again following a win over Brown Deer in Week 7. For South Milwaukee, Cudahy and Messmer/Shorewood, it's going to have a lot to do with how tiebreakers determine who they play in the final conference game in Week 9.
Mukwonago (3-4, 2-3 in Classic 8): The Indians' backs are to the wall after a loss to Waukesha West, but a win over North means the Week 8 battle against Catholic Memorial carries serious weight. If Mukwonago wins, it will likely get into the tournament.
Pewaukee (3-4, 2-3 in Woodland West): No matter who Pewaukee faces in Week 9 -- it will be either South Milwaukee, Cudahy or Messmer/Shorewood, the game will be a winner-take-all battle with the winner reaching .500 (and a likely playoff berth) and the loser bounced from playoff contention. The Woodland West will still be favored over East teams until further notice, but it's definitely not a slam dunk.
South Milwaukee (4-3, 2-3 in Woodland East): After back-to-back wins resuscitated the Rockets, a loss to Cudahy in Week 7 was extremely damaging to their prospects. They must win in Week 9 against a West Division crossover foe to even have a chance, but depending on the tiebreakers, it could be a beatable foe for SM.
Sussex Hamilton (2-5, 2-3 in Greater Metro): With Brookfield Central defeating Hamilton in Week 7, it's down to two de facto playoff games against West Allis Central and Brookfield East.
Kettle Moraine (3-4, 2-3 in Classic 8): Even if the Lasers can top Mukwonago to close the season, it must first register a win against Waukesha West next week.
West Allis Hale (2-5, 2-3 in Greater Metro): Hale recorded a Week 7 win that kept its tenuous hopes alive. The Huskies have been right on the cusp of knocking off a powerful foe all season.
Brown Deer (2-5, 1-4 in Woodland East): A loss to Messmer/Shorewood put Brown Deer's tenuous playoff hopes on life support, but the team's win over Greenfield is a great back-pocket keepsake if tiebreakers come into play.
New Berlin West (0-7, 0-5 in Woodland West): West gave Pewaukee a very real push on Sept. 18 before falling short. A loss to Eisenhower in Week 6 essentially eliminated the Vikings.
Nicolet (0-7, 0-5 in North Shore): The Knights are looking for their first win after dropping varsity football last year.
St. John's Northwestern (1-6, 0-5 in Midwest Classic): The Lancers haven't been able to find a footing in Midwest Classic games this year.
St. Thomas More (0-7, 0-5 in Metro Classic): The Cavs went winless in Metro Classic play last year and remain on a rebuilding course.
Waukesha South (1-6, 0-5 in Classic 8): South's loss to North marked the official end of the playoff journey, but after showing well against teams like Oconomowoc and Mukwonago, there's no question this squad has the pieces to be a good football team.
Wauwatosa East (0-7, 0-5 in Greater Metro): East just hasn't been able to deliver victories in recent years of Greater Metro play.
West Allis Central (1-6, 0-5 in Greater Metro): There are brighter times ahead for the Bulldogs, but Year One of the Keith Ringelberg rebuild will not include the playoffs.
*Though teams in this category are, essentially, eliminated, recent playoff layouts have featured a small number of teams with losing league records. That's less likely to happen this year, and no area teams were chosen last year based on criteria, but it's worth keeping in mind that these teams are not officially eliminated.
Asking area football coaches their anonymous thoughts on the greater issues of coaching at the prep level:
The advent of social media has created ample opportunity for "trash talk." Is that still something that needs to be guarded against? Do you believe "bulletin board material" can be an incentive that genuinely improves a player's on-field performance?
Coach 1: It's too easily accessible and nonsense. Distracting and watered down, anyway. Initially in a game, yes (trash talk can be incentive), but after the initial rush, then it's about momentum.
Coach 2: At times, the trash talk on social media can get out of hand. We warn our players to stay away from that stuff. I don’t think bulletin board material plays a huge factor. It may pump a kid up a bit more but not that much. We teach our players to respect everybody but fear nobody.
Coach 3: I don't know if it improves performance, but we use it as a piece of motivation if necessary. Anytime there is a real or perceived lack of respect from your opponent, you can and should use it to motivate to whatever level needed. Our athletes react in lots of ways to it, and some pay it no attention at all, while some take it to heart. We warn our kids all of the time that teams and players are already motivated to beat us, so let's not give them anything else. However, it's not like we are the Facebook/Twitter police. At some point, the team has to be more important than anything a kid thinks he wants to say.
Coach 4: I think it is something to think about - we mention it once or twice but don't make a huge deal of it. Bulletin Board stuff is overrated as far a motivator - it might work once a year.
Coach 5: I think all of us who coach know that we can’t hide from social media nor can we remove it completely from our kids' lives (even if we wanted to). To me, the best approach on handling this is educating kids on the permanency of social media posts and placing rules specifically on communicating negatively with opposing players. I think in-week trash talk is out the window after the first play of the game.
Coach 6: As with everything, we as coaches can only control what we can control. If my players are trash talking, it slaps in the face what we preach in our program. I believe that if a coach needs bulletin board material to fire up his team, then his team is already dead.
Coach 7: Can't stand trash talk. Typically, at least at the high school level, those who can, do. Those who can't, talk. Not so worried about bulletin board material as about competing in the right way.
Coach 8: We don't pay attention to what others say or do. We can only control what we do and we don't want our kids talking trash of any sorts. Our job as coaches is to develop character in our student-athletes.
Photo by Scott Ash
Arrowhead wide receiver Justin Peret (right) pulls in a perfectly placed 39-yard pass for a touchdown despite the efforts of defensive back Max Duchow during the game at Kettle Moraine on Oct. 2. Full photo gallery from Week 7.
Rusty Murphy of Cudahy delivered 231 passing yards and a touchdown, but he also ran for two scores, including a score with 24 seconds left to pull the Packers within 1 point of South Milwaukee. When the Packers elected to go for two, Murphy scored on that play as well, giving his team an upset victory that kept its playoff hopes alive.
Past Players of Week
How well do you now Wisconsin prep football? Take our specially-crafted Sporcle challenges to find out.
WIAA state titles
Current streak of playoff berths (through 2014)
Though Brookfield East shouldn't have been considered an underdog, the fact that it put a running clock on Menomonee Falls for a 38-0 win is a reminder that the Spartans can make some serious noise when the playoffs roll around. Led by T.C. Swittel and Sam Santiago-Lloyd, East avoided some drama with its tough late-season schedule by punching its playoff ticket with the win over the Indians.
Sports director JR Radcliffe and Time Warner Sports Channel's JP Cadorin discuss local sports. Latest episode: The guys discuss the upcoming Badgers-Iowa clash, plus a little Packers and high-school football, which has some intriguing storylines two-thirds of the way through the season.
Mark Stewart and JR Radcliffe discuss high school sports in this weekly video.
Whitefish Bay (6-1)
(Tie) Oconomowoc (7-0) and Brookfield Central (6-1)
Others receiving consideration: Catholic Memorial (5-2), Oak Creek (6-1), Wuakesha West (5-2)
(updated Oct. 3)
Bite-sized tidbits on area high-school football within the Lake Country and Now Newspapers coverage zone.
The Woodland Conference went to a pretty great system three years ago, dividing into two divisions (East and West) and using the standings through divisional play to determine a layout for Weeks 8 and 9, with the first game not counting as conference games and the second counting. But this year is especially interesting.
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's running back advances toward the end zone up the sideline, and as he dives for the goal line, he's hit by Team B and lands out of bounds, beyond the "goal-line extended" (which indicates that the plane of the end-zone extends into perpetuity beyond the sideline). Team A's last contact with the ground was shy of the goal line. Is it a touchdown?
(records portrayed are league, overall)
|West Allis Hale||2||3||2||5|
|West Allis Central||0||5||1||6|
|Kenosha Indian Trail||4||1||4||3|
|New Berlin Eisenhower||4||1||6||1|
|New Berlin West||0||5||0||7|
|West Bend East||1||4||2||5|
|West Bend West||0||5||2||5|
|Lake Country Lutheran||5||0||6||1|
|Kenosha Christian Life||2||3||3||4|
|Living Word Lutheran||0||5||1||6|
|Kenosha St. Joseph||5||0||5||2|
|Racine St. Catherine's||3||2||4||3|
|St. Thomas More||0||5||0||7|
Area statistical leaders (through Week 6)
A look at area teams in the state polls:
Wisconsin State Coaches Poll (Week 6)
2. Arrowhead (6-0)
3. Franklin (6-0)
5. Oconomowoc (6-0)
8. Muskego (5-1)
3. Waukesha West (5-1)
7. Whitefish Bay (5-1)
9. Brookfield Central (5-1)
8. Catholic Memorial (4-2)
9. New Berlin Eisenhower (5-1)
Associated Press Poll (Sept. 28)
2. Arrowhead (6-0)
4. Franklin (6-0)
6. Waukesha West (5-1)
10. Muskego (5-1)
Others receiving votes: Oconomowoc (6-0), Wauwatosa West (4-2), Whitefish Bay (5-1)
8. Catholic Memorial (4-2)
Others receiving votes: Lake Country Lutheran (5-1)