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Thursday, 20 August 2015 10:36

Week 1 preview: Stateline area football teams kick off 2015 season Friday night

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Jake Benzing was an all-conference receiver but takes over the quarterbacking duties this year at Delavan-Darien. Jake Benzing was an all-conference receiver but takes over the quarterbacking duties this year at Delavan-Darien. Terry Mayer/Staff

Another Wisconsin high school football season is upon us, with the bulk of teams across the Badger State kicking off Friday night.

That’s the case with every Stateline area squad, except for Williams Bay, which is scheduled to open Saturday.

Here is a rundown of Week One’s match-ups, most of them nonconference affairs except for Janesville Parker and Janesville Craig starting Big Eight competition.

Friday, Aug. 21

Beloit Turner at University School (NC)

Derek Diehl inherits a Turner program that has not won more than two games since 2008, and the former Williams Bay coach is hoping that senior quarterback Seth Smith and the Trojans’ offense can reach double figures more than three times like last year.

Big Foot at Westosha Central (NC)

The Chiefs didn’t miss a beat under first-year coach Greg Enz, finishing 7-3 overall and qualifying for the WIAA playoffs for a 12th consecutive year, although Big Foot lost its postseason opener for the first time since 2005.

Big Foot has won this season-opening match-up each of the last four years, averaging 39.3 points.

Brodhead/Juda at River Valley (NC)

The Cardinals have won the last two meetings, including their 44-18 decision last year, after the Blackhawks had taken the first three contests in a series that kicks off the season for a sixth straight year.

Brodhead/Juda is seeking its 24th playoff berth in a row, while River Valley is chasing its eighth consecutive.

Burlington at Racine Case (NC)

The Demons finished in a four-way tie for the Southern Lakes title at 5-2 but ended up 6-5 overall, including a wild 44-34 defeat to Case, one of seven games in which Burlington allowed 27 or more points under alum Steve Tenhagen, who took over the program after seven years at Delavan-Darien.

Clinton at Cambridge (NC)

The Cougars lost a lot of talent from a roster that earned back-to-back playoff appearances and claimed the school’s first postseason victory in 2013.

Clinton finished behind league powers Big Foot and Brodhead/Juda last year after handing the Cards their lone regular-season setback. Meanwhile, Cambridge won the Capitol South and reached Level 3 of the Division 5 playoffs.

Dodgeville at Evansville/Albany (NC)

The Blue Devils should be one of the top teams in the Stateline area with a host of starters back from a squad that shared the Rock Valley North crown and reached the playoffs for the 11th time in 13 years.

The Dodgers finished 2-3 in the Southwest Wisconsin Conference, which has produced the D-4 runner-up (Platteville) and D-5 state champion (Lancaster) the last two seasons, respectively.

East Troy at Delavan-Darien (NC)

The Comets have gotten the best of the Trojans the last two years, whipping East Troy, 48-10, on the road in 2014 after posting a crazy 70-52 triumph at home in 2013. Will there be fireworks again?

Edgerton at New Glarus/Monticello (NC)

Edgerton struggled through a 4-5 finish a year ago as standout running back Ricky Williams missed considerable time with injuries. Now the Tide will find out what it can do without him full time.

Edgerton had made the playoffs three straight years, which included advancing to the second round in 2013 for the time since 1990. The Tide won this encounter, 33-26, last fall.

Janesville Craig at Beloit Memorial

The Cougars reached the playoffs last year for the first time since 2008, but injuries helped derail any shot at a Big Eight Conference title and/or long postseason run. Craig settled for a tie for third in league play, but this year’s bunch will be hard-pressed to duplicate that finish because it lost all 22 starters to graduation. The Cougars hope to avoid what happened the year after that last playoff trip -- a 1-8 record in ’09.

Beloit Memorial has not beaten Craig since a 12-6 decision during that 2009 campaign, the Purple Knights’ only win that year, and is coming off a 0-9 mark in Rodney Wedig’s first season at the helm, giving the program 51 losses in its last 54 outings.

Kenosha Tremper at Badger (NC)

Matt Hensler’s Badgers finished 4-3 in the tough SLC race, one game behind a four-way tie for first, but they went 4-6 overall including a first-round D-1 playoff loss. Badger faces a Tremper squad that went 3-4 in the Southeast, losing three straight league games by six points or less, and hasn’t made the playoffs since 2010. Badger then travels to Kenosha Bradford next week.

Martin Luther at Palmyra-Eagle (NC)

The Panthers have reached the playoffs three times and won only one playoff game since the Justin Beaver-led squad advanced to the D-5 state semifinals in 2002. With Big Foot and Brodhead-Juda dominating the conference, Palmyra-Eagle hasn’t been able to get over the proverbial hump since back-to-back teams went to the postseason in 2009-’10.

Luther last appeared in the playoffs in 2010 but has struggled to make headway in the tough Metro Classic, finishing 2-7 overall last year, including a 14-8 loss to the Panthers.

Middleton at Janesville Parker (NC)

Rookie coach Clayton Kreger and his Vikings don’t catch a break to open the season, beginning Big Eight play with the defending league champions, who posted a 36-0 whipping in last year’s season opener.

Parker hasn’t qualified for the playoffs the last three years after a run of 15 trips in 16 seasons, but a good start could have the Vikings rejoining the postseason conversation.

Milton at Baraboo (NC)

The Red Hawks must replace a lot of talent, but they have won the teams’ last two meetings by a combined 81-0 score in this Badger Conference crossover series.

Waukesha North at Elkhorn (NC)

The Elks ripped off three consecutive SLC victories to end the regular season and grabbed a share of the Southern Lakes trophy, their first piece of the top spot since 2007. Elkhorn also earned its second straight postseason appearance after a four-year drought, and another strong senior class hopes to lead Tom Lee’s squad to the school’s first playoff victory since 2004.

Elkhorn hosts a North team that has not reached the playoffs since 2006 and has won more than two games only once (three in 2011) in the last five years.

Whitewater at Catholic Central (NC)

The Whippets have not compiled a winning season since 2009, which was the last time they reached the postseason, and they have not won a playoff contest since 2005.

Whitewater went 1-8 last year and faces a Central program that has qualified for the postseason all 16 years since joining the WIAA in 2000. The Hilltoppers won last year’s meeting, 21-0.

Wisconsin Heights at Parkview (NC)

Sept. 28, 2012. That’s the last time Parkview earned a victory, a 49-8 triumph against Beloit Turner. It’s all about numbers for the Vikings, as decreasing enrollments have led to smaller roster sizes and made it difficult for them to compete.

Parkview has made only one playoff appearance (2002) and will try to end its 20-game losing skid against the Vanguards, who have reached the playoffs four times, most recently in 2004.

Heights has suffered the same issues in the Capitol South, winning four games in the last three years.

Saturday, Aug. 22

Williams Bay at Kenosha Christian Life (NC)

The Bulldogs reached the playoffs last year for the first time since 2004, but they no longer have standout quarterback and linebacker John Higgins, who led them to a 4-2 record and third-place finish in the Trailways Small.

Williams Bay finished 5-5 overall, including a 28-6 win over KCL, its second straight after a 41-0 victory in 2013.

Friday, Aug. 28, 2015

South Beloit vs. Galena

The SoBo's, who finished 2-9 a year ago, hope to get off to a good start hosting conference foe Galena. South Beloit lost last year's game in week 5, 56-17. Game time 7 p.m.

Hononegah at Freeport

The Indians enter the 2015 season as one of the NIC-10 favorites after sharing the title with Belvidere North last year. Game time 7:15

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