Badger North Conference play got underway last week and some traditional powers asserted their dominance with Waunakee and DeForest both cruising to victory.
The surprise of the season so far, Sauk Prairie, also earned an impressive win to remain unbeaten, while Portage was narrowly edged out for the second consecutive week.
The Warriors, as well as Baraboo, Reedsburg and Beaver Dam, will look to right the ship this week as an 0-2 start will be that much more difficult to overcome in order to reach the playoffs.
Here’s a look at this week’s action:
Beaver Dam (0-1 Badger North, 0-3) vs. Baraboo (0-1, 0-3)
Two teams that have, for the most part, struggled mightily to begin the 2019 season are hopeful that the other is just what the doctor ordered. The Thunderbirds are coming off a 16-3 loss to Sauk Prairie in Week 3 while the Golden Beavers are licking their chops that the opponent across the way is anyone other than Division 2 powerhouse Waunakee following a 64-20 loss to the Warriors last Friday. Both Baraboo and Beaver Dam have been decent defensively, with the T-Birds allowing just 21.0 points per game the last two weeks after a 55-15 Week 1 loss to Milton and the Golden Beavers having a respectable 21-14 loss to a talented Oregon team in Week 2 on its resume. Baraboo, led by sophomore quarterback Luna Larson’s 361 rushing yards (6.6 yards per carry) and four touchdowns and sophomore Riley Weyh’s six catches for 60 yards, are averaging a paltry 216 yards of offense per contest (41.7 passing, 174.3 rushing). Beaver Dam hasn’t been a whole lot better, putting up 239.7 yards per game so far. Senior quarterback Ian Wendt-Utrie has spearheaded the attack, completing 55.2 percent of his passes for 217 yards, three TDs and one interception while also going for 159 yards and a touchdown on the ground. Senior running back James Brown has 196 yards rushing and one TD while senior wide receiver Broden Boschert is on pace for an all-conference campaign with 14 catches for 183 yards and a TD so far. Both teams have been spurned by poor starts in games this season, so whoever can pounce first could gain a major advantage.
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DeForest (1-0, 3-0) vs. Portage (0-1, 1-2)
After a one-point loss to Monroe in Week 2, the Warriors again suffered a heartbreaking defeat against Mt. Horeb/Barneveld last week, falling to the Vikings 24-21 on a late field goal. Things don’t get any easier for Portage as it must travel to Badger North title contender DeForest on Friday. The Warriors offense had no problem moving the ball down the field, racking up 323 yards of offense, including a game-high 191 yards on 31 carries from senior Delnato Sheppard Jr. Senior quarterback Brett Walker added 133 yards and two scores through the air, but Portage ultimately struggled to finish drives in the three-point loss. Defensively Portage had a hard time containing the Vikings on the ground, giving up 217 yards and two touchdowns, both to junior Tanner Gassman. The Norskies pose another stiff test with their punishing running attack that has churned out 764 yards and 10 touchdowns so far this season. DeForest has three players over 100 yards this season, led by junior Gabe Finley (257 yards, 1 TD, 8 yards per attempt) and senior Alex Endres (243, 5, 10.1). The Norskies aren’t afraid to attack teams through the air either behind quarterback Trey Schroeder. The senior signal caller has 406 yards, seven TDs and one interception this season on 20-of-34 passing, including 235 yards and three scores in last week’s 28-0 win over Reedsburg. If the Warriors are going to have any chance at springing the upset, they can’t leave any points on the table as DeForest is averaging 45.3 points per game and has only surrendered one touchdown.
Reedsburg (0-1, 2-1) vs. Sauk Prairie (1-0, 3-0)
While impressive so far, the Eagles will takeoff on their most difficult stretch of the season starting on Friday with a trip to Reedsburg. Sauk Prairie has taken care of business so far, securing its first 3-0 start to the season since 2013. Strong defensive play has been key for the Eagles, allowing 12 points per game so far, including just three in last week’s 16-3 win over rival Baraboo. The trio of seniors Parker Breunig, Ben German and Garrett Hertzfeldt have keyed the offense, with Breunig rushing for a team-high 190 yards and two touchdowns on 22 carries so far. Hertzfeldt has added 172 yards and two more scores on the ground, while German has hauled in five catches for 122 yards and a score. The Eagles will look to keep the hammer down defensively when they face a Beavers team looking to get back up to speed after being shutout last week against DeForest, 28-0. Reedsburg was able to outrush the Norskies, 191-92, led by senior Casey Campbell’s 62 yards, but couldn’t slow Trey Schroeder and the DeForest passing game as they racked up 235 yards and three scores through the air. After throwing for 116 yards and two scores in their Week 2 win over Monona Grove, the Beavers failed to complete a pass last week. Junior Connor Schyvinck got the start under center against the Norskies and played a majority of the second half against the Silver Eagles after Lee suffered a shoulder injury. If Schyvinck and the Beavers can find more success through the air, Sauk Prairie could be in trouble as its given up 109.7 yards per game.
Mt. Horeb/Barn. (1-0, 1-2) vs. Waunakee (1-0, 3-0)
Waunakee has lorded over the Badger North for the last decade and despite key graduation losses have picked up right where it left off this season. The Warriors have faced little resistance this season, steamrolling past opponents, including a 64-20 win over Beaver Dam last week. While not as successful, Mt. Horeb/Barneveld has been nipping at the Warriors’ heels. After picking up its first win last Friday with a 24-21 victory over Portage, the Vikings are hungry to knock the kings off the north off the throne. That task won’t be easy against a Waunakee team averaging 58 points per game through three weeks. More impressive than the shear amount of points has been the Warriors’ balanced attack. Offensively, Wauankee has tallied 1,229 yards and 23 touchdowns, with 651 yards and 10 scores coming on the ground with the other 578 yards and 13 TDs through the air. Quarterback Caden Nelson has thrived in his first year as starter, throwing 572 yards and 13 TDs on 32 of 43 passing, good for a 74.4 completion percentage. The Vikings haven’t been as fortunate under center as they are on their third quarterback option so far this season. Senior Ethan Post was lost for the year due to a rotator cuff injury sustained in Week 1 and junior Dominic Schinke struggled in Week 2, leading to Tanner Gassman taking over. The junior has shown he can do it all, tallying 483 total yards and four scores through three games. He’ll need to continue trending upward on Friday if the Vikings want any chance at getting to .500.