Casey Campbell (copy)

Reedsburg senior Casey Campbell turns the corner to pick up a first down during last week's non-conference game against Monona Grove. Campbell and the Beavers head to DeForest this week in a pair of unbeaten teams to open up Badger North Conference play.

With a pair of games down in the prep football season, there have been plenty of ups and downs for area teams.

For the second straight season, Reedsburg is off to a 2-0 start along with Sauk Prairie, who won its first two games for the first time since 2005. Portage sits at 1-1 after winning its season opener in 12 years, while Baraboo and Beaver Dam have yet to break into the win column.

With Badger North Conference play kicking off this week, the push for the playoffs is officially underway. Here’s a look at this week’s action:

Sauk Prairie (2-0) vs. Baraboo (0-2)

The unbeaten Eagles are flying high under first-year coach Clay Iverson following a pair of nailbiting victories, while the Thunderbirds has struggled to get off the ground so far this season. The teams will meet again Friday in the latest matchup of a series that has seen the rivals trade off wins for the last seven years. Baraboo, which notched a 34-7 home win over Sauk Prairie last season, is looking to be the first team to win back-to-back games in the series since it won in 2011 and 2012. The T-Birds will need to diversify their offense if they’re going to accomplish that, as all four of their touchdowns this season have come on runs by quarterback Luna Larson. The sophomore signal caller has rushed for 286 yards on 39 carries this season, good for an average of 7.3 yards per attempt.Sauk Prairie has relied on late game heroics in its undefeated start. The Eagles stuffed a two-point conversion attempt late to preserve a 21-20 season-opening win over Monroe in Week 1 before getting an interception from Jay Liedtke with 6 seconds remaining in a 19-13 win last week over Madison Edgewood. Sauk Prairie has trusted its ground attack this season, rushing for 448 yards and four of its five touchdowns so far. The two headed monster of seniors Parker Breunig and Garrett Hertzfeldt have carried the load, with the former rushing for 193 yards through two games and the latter adding 178. With both teams so relient on the ground, Friday’s game could come down to who has more success through the air.

Waunakee (2-0) vs. Beaver Dam (0-2)

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The Golden Beavers had a golden opportunity to get win No. 1 on the year last week against Oregon, but the ball ultimately bounced the Panthers’ way as they scored late to notch a 21-14 victory. Things don’t figure to be near as close this week, however, with the Warriors ranked third in the state in the Large Division of the Associated Press poll. Waunakee is always a contender to be playing on the last Friday of the season and this year looks no different, at least not so far following a 56-26 win over Stoughton last week and a 54-6 win over Monona Grove in Week 1. The Warriors are balanced (255 rushing yards and 207.5 passing yards per game) and deep, led by the tandem of Alec Morgan (257 rushing yards, 57 receiving yards and 5 total TDs) and Caden Lewis (163 receiving yards, 95 rushing yards and 5 total TDs). The Golden Beavers aren’t the same kind of juggernaut, averaging 13.5 points per game on the young campaign with a little more than half the offensive production (501 yards compared with 925) as Waunakee. Quarterback Ian Wendt-Utrie has been an effective passer for Beaver Dam. The senior is completing 53.6% of his passes for 178 yards and two TDs while tossing just one interception, and he has a talented target in senior Broden Boschert (10 catches for 110 yards) as well. There is a precipitous drop in playmakers after Wendt-Utrie, who also has 159 rushing yards and a TD on the ground, Boschert and senior running back James Brown (151 yards, one TD). And that lack of depth is likely to make it difficult for Beaver Dam to remain in playoff contention as the season wears on.

DeForest (2-0) vs. Reedsburg (2-0)

The Beavers have been up to the challenge of their difficult early season schedule so far, knocking off perennial Badger South contender Monona Grove last week, 21-13. The roadblocks keep coming for Reedsburg this week as it opens league play against a DeForest team looking to knock Waunakee off the Badger North throne. The Beavers’ ground-and-pound attack has once again chewed up opposing defenses this season, averaging 265.5 rushing yards per game so far. The passing game also got on in on the action last week, throwing for 116 yards and two scores against the Silver Eagles. Senior Casey Campbell has done it all as the running back has 245 total yards (164 rushing) and three scores this season. The Beavers defense has also been outstanding, keeping opponents scoreless beyond the first quarter in both their wins. Attempting to keep that in tact will be tough against a Norskies team that has shown it can score at will so far this season. DeForest has pummeled its competition this year, outscoring Madison Edgewood and Fort Atkinson a combined 108-7 so far, including a 61-7 win over the Blackhawks last week. Like the Beavers, the Norskies feature a punishing ground attack that has rushed for 672 yards and nine touchdowns so far at a clip of 9.3 yards per attempt. The tandem of senior Alex Endres (222 yards, 5 TDs) and junior Gabe Finley (209 yards, 0 TD) key the attack. If possessions begin to become a premium Friday, defensive scores could be crucial. The Norskies are no strangers to running things back, after recording two interception and one fumble return touchdown last week.

Mt. Horeb/Barn. (0-2) vs. Portage (1-1)

Missed opportunities wrecked the Warriors’ chances of their first 2-0 start since 2007 last week in a 34-33 loss to Monroe. Heading on the road again Friday, Portage will look to open Badger North play on a high note against Mr. Horeb/Barneveld. After struggling offensively last season, averaging just 12.8 points per game, the Warriors have shown lots of promise this season. Portage has put up an average of 32.5 points this season and been very balanced in its attack, scoring five passing touchdowns and four more scores on the ground. Spearheading the ground game is Delnato Sheppard Jr., as the senior has a team-high 367 yards, including a 228-yard performance against the Cheesemakers last week. Senior quarterback Brett Walker has shined in his return from an ACL injury last year, passing for 198 yards and five scores with three interceptions. The previous success should have Portage grinning going into its game against a Vikings team that his giving up 39.5 points per game. Mt. Horeb/Barneveld took a big hit to its attack in its 39-20 loss to Watertown in Week 1 as senior quarterback Ethan Post left with a shoulder injury. Post who is out for the season with a rotator cough injury, watched as the Vikings were blanked by Milton, 40-0, last week. Despite the loss of Post, Mt. Horeb/Barneveld has a pair of playmakers in senior Charlie Fish (189 total yards, 3 total TDs) and junior Tanner Gassman (68 rushing yards, 158 passing yards). Fish has moved to running back while Gassman is now under center, and only time will tell whether or not the Vikings’ ship will continue to stay afloat.

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