Germantown (5-0, 3-0 in North Shore). A meeting with Grafton next week leads into a bye week, which will officially give Germantown the number of victories it needs for playoff qualification when Nicolet surrenders its scheduled meeting by forfeit. That extra week of rest for the Warhawks sets the table for the biggest showdown of the year, an Oct. 10 battle with Homestead that will surely determine the North Shore Conference champion.
Greendale (5-0, 3-0 in Woodland West). Technically Woodland teams need four wins to officially clinch a playoff berth, with two more divisional foes and one of the final two crossover foes counting as conference games. But given the track record of the last few years, .500 teams are pretty much a safe bet, and both the Panthers and South Milwaukee have assured themselves at least that. Besides, will Greendale lose again, anyway? It's easy to see Greendale getting to the playoffs with an unblemished record again, unless they trip up against...
South Milwaukee (5-0, 3-0 in Woodland East). Backed by running back Ian Pribyl and quarterback Justin Oliden, the Rockets are as good as they've ever been, most recently thrashing Greenfield to re-affirm their strong hold on the Woodland East title picture. The Rockets and Panthers are on track to meet in Week 9 for the Woodland Conference championship, a rematch of last season.
Brookfield Academy (5-0, 3-0 in Midwest Classic). It was just another four-touchdown game from quarterback Spencer Francis as Academy won its toughest test to date against University School, a victory that all but assured the Knights a spot in the upcoming playoffs.
Homestead (5-0, 3-0 in North Shore). After getting Week 5 off, the result of a forfeitted meeting with Nicolet, the Highlanders return to action with a big-time battle against Cedarburg, likely the last major test before an Oct. 10 clash with Germantown. That contest could be the biggest and best of the 2014 football season.
Lake Country Lutheran (5-0, 3-0 in Metro Classic). Within a couple weeks, we'll be able to start projecting the field of playoff qualifiers, which is of particular interest to teams like Lake Country Lutheran (and Greendale, for that matter) hovering on the precipice between two divisions. For LCL, Division 7 has many fewer landmines to negotiate than Division 6, but it's impossible to know where the Lightning will fall just yet.
Muskego (5-0, 3-0 in Classic 8). What a show Muskego has put on in the Classic 8. With coach Ken Krause among the frontrunners for NOW Newspapers Coach of the Year, the Warriors are averaging a state-best 54 points per game. An experienced offensive line and stable of running backs have put this team alone in first place in the Classic 8 for the first time in the school's three-year history in the league.
Arrowhead (3-2, 2-1 in Classic 8). Rival Mukwonago finally was able to stop a last-second Arrowhead drive from turning into a Classic 8 win, and the Indians came away with a huge victory that put them into very good playoff position. Arrowhead played most of the game without injured starting quarterback Johnny Duranso. The Warhawks are an eyelash away from being a stunning 0-3 in league matches, but they've shown a typical propensity to finish strong.
Brookfield East (4-1, 2-1 in Greater Metro). Overcoming injuries to down Brookfield Central this week, the Spartans have gone from a decent-but-tenuous playoff position to almost a surefire lock, with games remaining against each of the league's bottom three teams and only needing wins in two of those contests.
Brookfield Central (3-2, 2-1 in Greater Metro). In one of the week's more thrilling outcomes, Brookfield East got the best of crosstown rival Central, an outcome that shrinks Central's margin for error in the playoff chase. The Lancers should still be fine but must defeat one of either Hamilton, Marquette or Hale.
Brown Deer (4-1, 2-1 in Woodland East). So far, the Woodland East season has played out according to script. The Falcons and South Milwaukee met early in what looked like (and still looks like) an exciting Woodland East title game, and the rest is just about staying healthy. The Falcons have won big back-to-back weeks heading into a meeting with Greenfield.
Catholic Memorial (4-1, 2-1 in Classic 8). After narrowly missing a win over Arrowhead, Memorial had to work a bit to down an inspired Waukesha South team, 28-20. The Crusaders are definitely on the path to the Division 3 tournament field, where they are routinely one of the toughest around, and this is definitely one of the better CMH squads.
Franklin (3-2, 2-1 in Southeast). Oak Creek used big plays to down the Sabers in what might have been one of the biggest battles of the year in the Southeast. The conference is suddenly very topsy turvy, with Kenosha Indian Trail at the top and a ton of parity following Franklin and Oak Creek.
Greenfield (3-2, 2-1 in Woodland East). Greenfield has the most tenuous playoff prospects with games remaining against Brown Deer and a tough Woodland West foe, 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 thereafter. The Hawks weren't able to keep up with South Milwaukee this week.
Menomonee Falls (3-2, 2-1 in Greater Metro). A potential "swing game" for playoff consideration went to Falls in a low-scoring win over Sussex Hamilton in Week 5, though the Indians still need to find another gear on offense after racking up 13 points in two weeks of football.
Mukwonago (4-1, 2-1 in Classic 8). The win of the night was not only big for Mukwonago's always-passionate rivalry with Arrowhead, but also huge for the Indians' postseason aspirations. If the team can take care of business against Waukesha South and Kettle Moraine, it's going dancing regardless of what happens against heavyweights Catholic Memorial and Muskego. And make no mistake: Mukwonago could win all four of those games and get at least a share of the conference title in the process.
Oak Creek (4-1, 2-1 in Southeast). The Knights are somewhat back in consideration among the area's elite teams after knocking off Franklin, and Oak Creek still presents a dangerous threat once the postseason rolls around. What's up with the Southeast Conference though? Seems as though anyone can beat anyone else.
Pewaukee (2-3, 2-1 in Woodland West). Even after the Pirates opened the year 0-3, we at Push for the Playoffs weren't the least bit worried about their playoff prospects, but just in case there was some lingering doubt, the Pirates eviscerated Pius this week. The Popes had been 2-0 in Woodland fare, and Pewaukee showed it's pretty clearly the No. 2 team in the West.
St. Francis (4-1, 2-1 in Midwest Classic). A dominant win over Hope Christian shows what we should have suspected, that the Mariners are more than capable of cleaning up in the Midwest Classic (not counting against league power Lake Country Lutheran). We learn more against Brookfield Academy in Week 6, but it's looking more and more likely that St. Francis will reach the playoffs for the first time since 2008.
University School (3-2, 2-1 in Midwest Classic). Brookfield Academy and quarterback Spencer Francis were too much in a big battle in Week 5, but USM should still be relatively safe in the chase for a playoff spot.
Waukesha West (4-1, 2-1 in Classic 8). West bounced back from a surprising lopsided loss to Muskego to top Waukesha North in its first game on a refurbished home surface in Week 5. The Wolverines head into a very interesting battle with Arrowhead next week in what might be an elimination game for the Classic 8 title chase.
Whitefish Bay (4-1, 2-1 in North Shore). The Dukes stayed the course with another excellent North Shore win in Week 5 over Grafton. With the Nicolet game scheduled for Week 6, all the Dukes must do is defeat Port Washington or beat either Cedarburg or Homestead to break into the playoffs.
New Berlin Eisenhower (2-3, 1-2 in Woodland West). A Week 5 loss to Wauwatosa West was damaging, but Ike can still get in with a win over Pius and a win over its Woodland East counterpart in Week 9. The latter should be attainable; it's hard to tell on the former. But we won't have to wait long to find out -- Eisenhower meets Pius on Sept. 26.
Sussex Hamilton (1-4, 1-2 in Greater Metro). Back-to-back losses in which the Chargers only allowed 13 points makes for a heartbreaking 2014 thus far for the Chargers, who now must take care of business agianst a tough West Allis Hale and Wauwatosa East AND defeat either Marquette or Brookfield Central to reach the playoffs. Of course, it can be done, but the Chargers have to be feeling the heat a little bit.
Wauwatosa West (3-2, 1-2 in Woodland West). On the other side of the Eisenhower loss is a Tosa West team that gave itself some new life. The Trojans will be hard pressed to top Greendale in Week 6, but a win over New Berlin West thereafter and against a Woodland East foe in Week 9 will probably be enough to get Tosa West back in the dance.
West Allis Hale (3-2, 1-2 in Greater Metro). After dominating every facet against West Allis Central in a crosstown clash in Week 6, the Huskies remain kind of an intriguing case. They've batled close enough to other GMC foes to make us think they can knock one of them off -- but they need the wins. Let's assume the Huskies beat Tosa East -- they must win TWO against Brookfield East, Brookfield Central and Sussex Hamilton.
Kettle Moraine (3-2, 1-2 in Classic 8). Kettle Moraine doesn't have any "bad" losses in falling to Arrowhead and league-leading Muskego, but the Lasers will need two surprise wins to get into the postseason.
Cudahy (2-3, 1-2 in Woodland East). Cudahy helped itself in Week 5 with a win over Messmer/Shorewood, but the Packers must defeat either South Milwaukee or a Woodland West foe to get the three wins necessary.
Dominican (1-4, 0-3 in Metro Classic). A loss to Martin Luther, which procured its first win of the year, all but eliminates the Knights from consideration.
Martin Luther (1-4, 1-2 in Metro Classic). Getting in the win column against Dominican is nice but upsets will still be needed to reach the posteason.
New Berlin West (0-5, 0-3 in Woodland West). Down to their last strike, West must stun Pewaukee in Week 6 to remain alive for a playoff spot.
Oconomowoc (0-5, 0-3 in Wisconsin Little Ten). A loss to Hartford is the latest blow for an Oconomowoc team that will be hard pressed to stay alive against Wisco next week.
Messmer/Shorewood (1-4, 1-2 in Woodland East). A big loss to Cudahy in Week 5 means the Greyhounds must shock either Brown Deer or South Milwaukee to stay afloat.
St. John's Northwestern Military Academy (1-4, 1-2 in Midwest Classic). SJNMA got on the board with its first win of the year under new coach Tim Vice on Sept. 20, but the playoff outlook remains a long shot.
St. Thomas More (1-4, 0-3 in Metro Classic). The Cavaliers have gotten zero traction in three league losses.
Waukesha North (2-3, 0-3 in Classic 8). The Northstars showed flashes in the nonconference but will need a whale of a comeback to reach the playoffs.
Waukesha South (1-3, 0-3 in Classic 8). South made Catholic Memorial work for it in Week 5 -- a great indication of the depth within this league.
Wauwatosa East (1-4, 1-2 in Greater Metro). The Red Raiders (along with West Allis Central) are still working to get out of the bottom tier of the GMC.
West Allis Central (1-4, 0-3 in Greater Metro). A one-sided loss to crosstown rival Hale came in Week 5.
Whitnall (0-5, 0-3 in Woodland East). Still think Whitnall is somewhat dangerous, but the rebuilding effort under new coach Jared McGranahan likely won't include the playoffs in 2014.
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 Peter Zuzga
Oak Creek's Jamie Smith is chased down the sideline by Franklin's Kyle Cortez (22) and others as he returns a kickoff for a touchdown during the first half of the teams' Sept. 19 rivalry clash. Oak Creek won the battle, 20-12.
It's almost impossible to believe that Ryan Borton ran the ball 13 times for 256 yards (19.79 yards per carry) Sept. 19 and yet his average yards per carry for the year went down. He scored three touchdowns for Muskego, and the Warriors ascended to 5-0 overall and 3-0 in the Classic 8 Conference, alone in first place for the first time in the school's three-year history with the league.
Past Players of Week
A look back at the best of the best from the NOW Newspapers and Lake Country Publications coverage areas.
Improving the football playoffs is expected to become a popular topic again. Just don’t expect change to come quickly.
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
Brookfield East has been nursing injuries all year long, but on Sept. 18 in its battle with crosstown rival Brookfield Central, the Spartans' rode big plays to record a huge Greater Metro Conference win that gives East a great shot at making the playoffs. Mitch Miskusky was particualrly effective at running back with others at the position out of comission.
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) had a monster day against Bowling Green.
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.
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Sports director JR Radcliffe and Time Warner Sports Channel's JP Cadorin discuss local sports. Latest episode: Muskego head coach Ken Krause stops by to talk about his Warriors, the surprise frontrunner in the Classic 8 and perhaps the best offensive team in the state.
WIAA playoff numbers for area programs:
Consecutive playoff berths (through 2013)
Tie: Catholic Memorial (4-1), Oak Creek (4-1)
Others receiving consideration: Arrowhead (3-2), Franklin (3-2), Mukwonago (4-1), Waukesha West (4-1)
(updated Sept. 21)
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||1||2||3||2|
|West Allis Central||0||3||1||4|
|Nicolet (no varsity)||0||3||0||3|
|Kenosha Indian Trail||3||0||4||1|
|New Berlin Eisenhower||1||2||2||3|
|New Berlin West||0||3||0||5|
|West Bend East||1||2||1||4|
|West Bend West||0||3||2||3|
|Lake Country Lutheran||3||0||5||0|
|Kenosha Christian Life||1||2||1||4|
|Living Word Lutheran||0||3||0||5|
|Racine St. Catherine's||3||0||4||1|
|Kenosha St. Joseph||2||1||2||3|
|St. Thomas More||0||3||1||4|
* 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 5)
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 5)
2. Homestead (4-0)
4. Germantown (5-0)
8. Arrowhead (5-0)
9. Greendale (5-0)
Others receiving votes: Waukesha West (4-1), Arrowhead (3-2), Mukwonago (4-1), Oak Creek (4-1)
5. Catholic Memorial (4-1)
Others receiving votes: Lake Country Lutheran (5-0)
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.