Jason Walls (copy)

Reedsburg's Jason Walls is brought down by a DeForest defender during the first half of a game played in Reedsburg on Sept. 1. Walls, who rushed for 116 yards and two touchdowns in Reedsburg's Week 4 win over Sauk Prairie, will try to lead the Beavers to a second straight win when they host Beaver Dam on Friday.

CHRIS FLORES/Capital Newspapers

Close games

not going Baraboo’s way

Once again, Baraboo saw a close game slip away. One week after falling to Beaver Dam 14-13, the T-Birds lost to Portage, 28-19. Baraboo struggled to take advantage of a couple of opportunities, including failing to score after recovering an onside kick in the fourth quarter. The T-Birds still showed some grit, as quarterback Brock Turkington found Braydon Scarborough in the end zone for a 23-yard touchdown pass with 56 seconds left on the clock, but Baraboo’s run defense simply gave up too many yards, as Portage scored four touchdowns on 342 rushing yards last week. The Thunderbirds will face another talent-laden team this week when they host Mt. Horeb/Barneveld. The Vikings are coming off a 49-7 win over Beaver Dam, and feature a balanced attack with quarterback Luke Hagelin already having 657 passing yards under his belt, while running back Malik Winston has rushed for 705 yards. Baraboo senior Evan Vodak looks to be finding his stride after rushing for 153 yards last week. Baraboo’s offense will have to score early to keep up with the Vikings, who have scored 49 points in three of their four games this season.

Reedsburg’s offense

gets rolling

Reedsburg’s triple-option offense was averaging 184 yards per game going into last week’s game against Sauk Prairie, but the Beavers saw that number significantly rise, as they rushed for 405 yards and five touchdowns in a 37-20 win over the Eagles. Casey Campbell, Ben Horzewski and Jason Walls all rushed for over 100 yards, a hopeful sign that not only the trio is improving, but Reedsburg’s inconsistent offensive line is creating more holes as well. The Beavers will look to continue that performance when they host Beaver Dam on Friday. The Golden Beavers were crushed by Mt. Horeb/Barneveld last week, putting up just 41 rushing yards while quarterback Kendric Jimenez threw for 104. Reedsburg’s run defense will look to get things done this week, and if the secondary can stop Jimenez’s air attacks, the Beavers could be on their way to a second straight victory.

Beaver Dam

needs bounce-back win

Beaver Dam found out what it’s like to play against one of the top teams in the conference last week, losing 49-7 to Mt. Horeb/Barneveld. Accounting for Beaver Dam’s only points in the game was quarterback Kendric Jimenez’s 52-yard touchdown pass to Dillon Livingston. The Vikings held the Golden Beavers to just 129 yards of total offense in the game, including just 27 rushing yards. Beaver Dam will look to bounce back from last week’s ugly loss when it travels to Reedsburg on Friday. If the Golden Beavers want to salvage their season, Friday’s game would be a good time to do it. Reedsburg, which is coming off a 37-20 win over Sauk Prairie, is averaging 20.5 points a game while Beaver Dam’s defense has given up 34 point points a game. Beaver Dam’s leaky defense has been especially poor in the early going, as it has given up 37 points in the first quarter of its games this season, and 52 points in the second quarter. That is compared to giving up a combined 48 points in the second half of its games this season.

Sauk Prairie looking

to stop DeForest

The Eagles have their work cut out for them this week, as they take on DeForest. Sauk Prairie hasn’t beat the Norskies since recording a 28-19 win at DeForest in 2005. Since then, DeForest has won 11 straight games in the series, posting four shutouts in the process. That includes Sauk Prairie’s 20-0 loss at DeForest last September. The Eagles will need to a solid defensive effort to flip that trend around this week. Sauk Prairie’s offense has come alive a bit this season, averaging 19.5 points per game through four weeks; however, the Eagles haven’t had enough firepower to outscore opponents. Sauk Prairie allowed just seven points in the Week 2 win at Edgewood, but is giving up 34.0 points per game in their three losses. The Eagles will need to bring that number down in order to stick with the Norskies, who are averaging 20.3 points per game and are coming off a 48-12 home loss to Waunakee.

Isakson has

Portage riding high

Portage senior quarterback Erik Isakson established himself as a major weapon in Portage’s ground game, rushing for 175 yards and three scores in Portage’s 28-19 win over Baraboo last week. Isakson is in his first season as Portage’s quarterback after playing receiver a year ago, and is starting to become more comfortable at the position. That could all change on Friday, when the upstart Warriors take their two-game winning streak to Waunakee in a battle for first place in the Badger North Conference. The Waunakee defense already has a pair of shutouts on its defensive résumé, and held DeForest to just 164 total yards of offense and eight first downs in last week’s 48-12 win over the Norskies. The Portage offense as a whole has been tough to stop this season. The Warriors are averaging 26 points per game, but it will be hard to hit that total against a Waunakee defense that has given up just 32 points all season. Portage’s defense also stepped up in the win over Baraboo. After the T-Birds took an early lead on a long TD run by Evan Vodak with 4:25 left in the opening period, Portage kept them from scoring again until midway through the fourth quarter. Slowing Baraboo is one thing, but Waunakee presents a much-bigger challenge. Waunakee has scored 42 or more points in all four of its games this season.

Playoff picture

coming into view

With the third week of conference play coming on Friday, it’s not too early for teams to start thinking about playoff eligibility. With eight teams now playing in the Badger North Conference, teams must win four of their seven league games to become playoff eligible. State power Waunakee is 2-0 in the conference, and appears well on its way to a 22nd straight playoff appearance. Portage, who hasn’t qualified for the postseason since 2007, is 2-0 in the conference and needs to win two of its final five games to become eligible this season. After playing at Waunakee on Friday, Portage goes to Beaver Dam, hosts Mt. Horeb/Barneveld, plays at Reedsburg and goes to DeForest. Mt. Horeb/Barneveld, DeForest, Reedsburg and Beaver Dam are all sitting a 1-1, and will need to finish 3-2 to make the playoffs. Beaver Dam does have games against Reedsburg, Portage and Sauk Prairie remaining. Reedsburg’s remaining games include home games against Beaver Dam and Portage, as well as a game at Baraboo in the final week of the season. Sauk Prairie and Baraboo are both 0-2 in conference play, and now need to go 4-1 the rest of the season to make the playoffs. That will be tough for both teams, as they both still have games against Waunakee, Mt. Horeb/Barneveld and DeForest on the schedule.