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Liebenthal Raymond Wodill.jpg (copy)

Fall River's Tanner Liebenthal (22) and teammate Keegan Wodill (52) tackle Cambria-Friesland's Max Raymond during last week's Trailways Small Conference game. 

Game of the week

Horicon/Hustisford coach Shannon Mueller said before the season started, there were two teams Husticon had to get past in order to win a Trailways Large Conference title. Husticon upended Markesan 40-2 in a Week 6 matchup. Now to end the regular season, Husticon must defeat Dodgeland, who like the Hornets has finished in the top two or three in the conference race the past few years. The Trojans have struggled with a 3-2 record in conference. The Trojans were stunned by Palmyra-Eagle 44-41 and lost a tough 16-13 game to Markesan in back-to-back weeks early in the season. Husticon has the firepower to defeat the Trojans. Quarterback Dylan Schmitt has completed 55.2 percent of his passes for 756 yards and 12 touchdowns. Receiver Justin Kuehl is probably his favorite target with 24 catches for 511 yards and six touchdowns. Receiver Mitchell Kurtz has nine passes thrown to him for 125 yards and a touchdown. Running back CJ Brooks is back from injury and has been thrown to eight times for 70 yards and three touchdowns. Brooks is a dual threat with 724 rushing yards for seven touchdowns. Husticon’s defense will have to contain Trojans running back Nate Oestreich, who leads the conference with 940 yards with 16 touchdowns. But that’s not all Husticon will have to worry about, as running back Peter Mountin is just as effective in the backfield with 668 yards and eight touchdowns. The Trojans score a majority of their points with their ground attack, but if Husticon puts a lot of focus on that, then Dodgeland quarterback Tye Bader (42-of-92, 652 yards, five TDs) could have a field day.

Win and in

When Randolph travels to Cambria-Friesland on Friday, both teams will be in dire need of a win because both are 3-3 in the Trailways Small Conference play. It means the winner with have an above .500 league record and automatically qualifies for the playoffs. The loser’s playoff hopes wouldn’t necessarily be over, but they’d take a big hit. The Hilltoppers have a great chance to win as they’ve come close to beating Oshkosh Lourdes, Fall River and Johnson Creek — teams that are in contention to win the Trailways Small title. The Hilltoppers have put up 32.2 points a game because of their three-headed monster of ballcarriers: Max Raymond (84 carries, 672 yards, nine touchdowns), Andrew DeBoer (62, 362, four) and Sawyer Quade (59, 339, five). The question is whether or not the Hilltoppers’ defense can make the stops it needs to in order to defeat the Rockets. Randolph has a stud athlete at quarterback in Brayden Haffele who has done a little bit of everything on offense. He’s thrown for 600 yards and four touchdowns while running for 319 yards and six more touchdowns. When he’s not playing quarterback, he’s lining up out wide and another star athlete in Sawyer Westra has thrown him two passes for 26 yards and a touchdown. Westra leads the Rockets with 19 receptions for 309 yards and two touchdowns. Westra has also lined up at quarterback and thrown for 275 yards and four touchdowns, completing 52.2 percent of his passes. This week, both defenses will have their hands full.

Race for conference titles

The Trailways Large and Trailways Small conference crowns are still up for grabs going into the regular season’s final week. Horicon/Hustisford, in the Trailways Large, and Fall River, from the Trailways Small, sit atop their leagues. With a win over Dodgeland this week, Husticon will win the conference title outright for the first time since 2006 when Horicon won the Flyway Conference championship. The Pirates, on the other hand, are locked in a three-way tie atop their league with a 5-1 conference record. Trailways Small front-runners Fall River, Johnson Creek and Oshkosh Lourdes will play the bottom three teams of the conference. The Pirates finish at Rio (2-4 Trailways Small), while Johnson Creek hosts Wayland (0-6) and Lourdes hosts Deerfield (1-5).

Tune up for playoffs

Mayville has already qualified for the playoffs this season with a 3-2 Flyway Conference record. This week, the Cardinals host Oconto in a non-conference matchup. The Blue Devils are 2-6 this season and have struggled to get anything going on offense. Oconto is averaging 16.4 points a game, totaling just 19 touchdowns on 826 yards passing and 1,081 rushing. Quarterback Caleb Moe has done well for Oconto since taking over for Zach Sherman, who started the first four games. Moe has thrown for 449 yards and four touchdowns, while Sherman leads the team with 353 rushing yards and eight touchdowns, and he’s caught 13 passes for 147 yards and two touchdowns. Mayville quarterback Wes Weiglein has thrown for 668 yards and nine touchdowns while leading the Cardinals to an average of 21.5 points a game. His favorite target is Jackson Mittlestadt, who has caught 24 passes for 453 yards and seven touchdowns. Jalen Wendorff leads the Cardinals with 580 rushing yards and eight touchdowns.

Eyeing positives for next season

Beaver Dam and Waupun both have had abysmal seasons and the last week of the regular season brings a couple of their conferences’ best teams to town. The Golden Beavers have to face heavily favored Waunakee — a team that won the WIAA Division 2 state championship last season. The undefeated Warriors have already locked up the Badger North Conference title. Waupun will host Plymouth, which is second in the East Central Conference behind Winneconne, who is unbeaten in league play. Both opponents are tough matchups for Beaver Dam and Waupun, so anything positive the two area teams can take away from them will provide a lift for next season.

Mark McMullen is currently a sports reporter for the Daily Citizen. He can be reached by email at mmcmullen@wiscnews.com or by phone at 920-356-6754. Can also follow him on Twitter at @mmcmull2.