The intrigue of the WIAA football playoffs

The WIAA state football playoffs create more statewide intrigue than any other high school sports event.
With seven divisions, football has the most well-defined enrollment split of any WIAA sport. If you want to know if you are the best, this equitable split is the best way to prove it.
And even with these fair-minded splits, there can be a great deal of travel involved. There are a number of teams around the state that will be bus-bound for more than 200 miles to get to their appointed games. Among them is St. Croix Central, which faces a trip of approximately 220 miles to get to Eagle River to face Northland Pines. Don’t expect those boys home before 2 a.m. on Saturday.
Geographic differences are part of the intrigue of the football playoffs. Most don’t want to play their neighbor, they want to see how they compare with teams from other parts of the state. St. Croix Central is 5-3 and facing an undefeated Northland Pines team. But if Central pulls off an opening round victory, what does it say about the quality of football in this part of the state?
The same can be said when Gale-Ettrick-Trempealeau comes to Somerset on Friday. G-E-T is out of the Coulee Conference, which prides itself on putting out some high quality football teams. But the Middle Border Conference has done quite well the past few seasons too and Somerset isn’t going to be looking past G-E-T just because the Red Hawks have a 4-4 record.
It is funny how some conferences ended up facing each other and seemingly wanted the chance to play their conference opponents again in the playoffs. Hudson and Eau Claire Memorial renew their Big Rivers Conference acquaintance, but I can’t believe any team sought out a game with Hudson after the Raiders’ dominant season.
In Division 4, there are four Heart O’North Conference teams in the northwest bracket and the four teams will end up facing each other. Barron, Spooner, Bloomer and Northwestern all finished so bunched up in the HON this year, maybe they are viewing this as their chance to clearly define who were the best teams in their conference.

The brackets for the opening round games in all seven football playoff brackets are listed below.

DIVISION 1

Group A
Game 1: Superior (#8) at Appleton North (#1) – Saturday, 4 p.m.
Game 2: Green Bay Preble (#5) at Stevens Point (Goerke Park) (#4) – Friday, 7 p.m.
Game 3: D.C. Everest (#6) at Bay Port (#3) – Friday, 7 p.m.
Game 4: Eau Claire Memorial (#7) at Hudson (#2) – Friday, 7 p.m.

Group B
Game 1: Milwaukee Vincent/Destiny (#8) at Arrowhead (#1) – Friday, 7 p.m.
Game 2: Milwaukee King (#5) at Germantown (#4) – Friday, 7 p.m.
Game 3: Appleton East (#6) at Menomonee Falls (#3) – Friday, 7 p.m.
Game 4: Milwaukee Morse.Marshall/Juneau/Languages (#7) at Kimberly (#2) – Friday, 7 p.m.

Group C
Game 1: Madison Memorial (#8) at Sun Prairie (#1) – Friday, 7 p.m.
Game 2: Mukwonago (#5) at Madison West (#4) – Friday, 7 p.m.
Game 3: Middleton (#6) at Hamilton (#3) – Friday, 7 p.m.
Game 4: Oconomowoc (#7) at Verona Area (#2) – Friday, 7 p.m.

Group D
Game 1: Milwaukee Hamilton (#8) at Oak Creek (#1) – Friday, 7 p.m.
Game 2: Milwaukee Riverside University (#5) at Kenosha Bradford (Indian Trail Field) – Friday, 7 p.m.
Game 3: Muskego (#6) at Badger (#3) – Saturday, 4 p.m.
Game 4: Racine Horlick (#7) at Franklin (#2) – Friday, 7 p.m.

DIVISION 2

Group A
Game 1: Tomah (#8) at Marshfield (#1) – Friday, 7 p.m.
Game 2: Wausau East (#5) at Holmen (#4) – Friday, 7 p.m.
Game 3: Merrill (#6) at La Crosse Central (UW-L) (#3) – Friday, 7 p.m.
Game 4: La Crosse Logan (#7) at Menomonie (UW-Stout) (#2) – Friday, 7 p.m.

Group B
Game 1: Oshkosh North (#8) at Green Bay Southwest (#1) – Saturday, 6 p.m.
Game 2: Pulaski (#5) at De Pere (#4) – Friday, 7 p.m.
Game 3: Ashwaubenon (#6) at Cedarburg (#3) – Friday, 7 p.m.
Game 4: Hortonville (#7) at Homestead (#2) – Friday, 7 p.m.

Group C
Game 1: Wilmot Union (#8) at Waunakee (#1) – Friday, 7 p.m.
Game 2: DeForest (#5) at Fort Atkinson (#4) – Friday, 7 p.m.
Game 3: Burlington (#6) at Watertown (#3) – Friday, 7 p.m.
Game 4: Waukesha West (#7) at Waterford (#2) – Friday, 7 p.m.

Group D
Game 1: Milwaukee Bradley Technical (#8) at Brookfield East (#1) – Friday, 7 p.m.
Game 2: Greendale (#5) at Wauwatosa West (#4) – Friday, 7 p.m.
Game 3: South Milwaukee (#6) at Brookfield Central (#3) – Friday, 7 p.m.
Game 4: Messmer/Shorewood (#7) at Whitefish Bay (#2) – Friday, 7 p.m.

DIVISION 3

Group A
Game 1: Rhinelander (#8) at Waupaca (#1) – Friday, 7 p .m.
Game 2: West Salem (#5) at Rice Lake (#4) – Friday, 7 p.m.
Game 3: Osceola (#6) at Mosinee (#3) – Saturday, 4 p.m.
Game 4: Onalaska (#7) at Medford Area (#2) – Friday, 7 p.m.

Group B
Game 1: Antigo (#8) at West De Pere (#1) – Friday, 7 pm
Game 2: Menasha (#5) at Two Rivers (#4) – Friday, 7 p.m.
Game 3: Kewaskum (#6) at Seymour (#3) – Friday, 7 p.m.
Game 4: Marinette (#7) at Plymouth (#2) – Friday, 7 p.m.

Group C
Game 1: Wisconsin Dells (#8) at Monona Grove (#1) – Friday, 7 p.m.
Game 2: Reedsburg Area (#5) at Edgewood (Middleton) (#4) – Friday, 7 p.m.
Game 3: McFarland (#6) at Evansville/Albany (#3) – Friday, 7 p.m.
Game 4: Monroe (#7) at Mount Horeb/Barneveld (#2) – Friday, 7 p.m.

Group D
Game 1: Whitnalll (#8) at Wisconsin Lutheran (#1) – Friday, 7 p.m.
Game 2: Jefferson (#5) at East Troy (#4) – Friday, 7 p.m.
Game 3: Brown Deer (#6) at Catholic Memorial (Carroll University (#3) – Friday, 7 p.m.
Game 4: New Berlin West (#7) at Pewaukee (#2) – Friday, 7 p.m.

DIVISION 4

Group A
Game 1: Gale-Ettrick-Trempealeau (#8) at Somerset (#1) – Friday, 7 p.m.
Game 2: Northwestern (#5) at Bloomer (#4) – Friday, 7 p.m.
Game 3: Spooner (#6) at Barron (#3) – Saturday, 1 p.m.
Game 4: Saint Croix Central (#7) at Northland Pines (#2) – Friday, 7 p.m.

Group B
Game 1: Montello/Princeton/Green Lake (#8) at Black River Falls (#1) – Friday, 7 p.m.
Game 2: Lodi (#5) at Platteville (#4) – Friday, 7 p.m.
Game 3: New Glarus/Monticello (#6) at Nekoosa (#3) – Friday, 7 p.m.
Game 4: Wautoma (#7) at River Valley (#2) – Friday, 7 p.m.

Group C
Game 1: Freedom (#8) at Chilton (#1) – Friday, 7 p.m.
Game 2: Winneconne (#5) at Marshall (#4) – Friday, 7 p.m.
Game 3: Sturgeon Bay (#6) at Wrightstown (#3) – Friday, 7 p.m.
Game 4: Omro (#7) at Little Chute (#2) – Friday, 7 p.m.

Group D
Game 1: St. John’s NW Military Academy (#8) at Big Foot (#1) – Friday, 7 p.m.
Game 2: Campbellsport (#5) at Brodhead/Juda (#4) – Saturday, 4 p.m.
Game 3: Edgerton (#6) at Roncalli (Municipal Field) (#3) – Friday, 7 p.m.
Game 4: Lake Mills (#7) at Lakeside Lutheran (#2) – Saturday, 1 p.m.

DIVISION 5

Group A
Game 1: Unity (#8) at Cameron (Rice Lake) (#1) – TBA
Game 2: Colby (#5) at Stanley-Boyd (#4) – Friday, 7 p.m.
Game 3: Prescott (#6) at Cumberland (#3) – Saturday, 2 p.m.
Game 4: Grantsburg (#7) at Elk Mound (#2) – Friday, 7 p.m.

Group B
Game 1: Niagara/Goodman/Pembine (#8) at Amherst (#1) – Saturday, 1 p.m.
Game 2: Crandon (#5) at Marathon (#4) – Friday, 7 p.m.
Game 3: Spencer/Columbus Catholic (#6) at Peshtigo (#3) – Friday, 7 p.m.
Game 4: Auburndale (#7) at Stratford (#2) – Friday, 7 p.m.

Group C
Game 1: Mondovi (#8) at Lancaster (#1) – Friday, 7 p.m.
Game 2: Pardeeville (#5) at Arcadia (#4) – Saturday, 3 p.m.
Game 3: Aquinas (#6) at Cuba City (#3) – Friday, 7 p.m.
Game 4: Westby (#7) at Durand (#2) – TBD

Group D
Game 1: Brookfield Academy (#8) at Brillion (#1) – Friday, 7 p.m.
Game 2: Kenosha St. Joseph (#5) at Cedar Grove-Belgium (#4) – Friday, 7 p.m.
Game 3: Martin Luther (#6) at Laconia (#3) – Friday, 7 p.m.
Game 4: Howards Grove (#7) at Racine St. Catherine’s (Horlick Field) (#2) – Friday, 7 p.m.

DIVISION 6

Group A
Game 1: Flambeau (#8) at Regis (Carson Park) (#1) – Friday, 7 p.m.
Game 2: Pittsville (#5) at Hurley (#4) – Saturday, 1 p.m.
Game 3: Melrose-Mindoro (#6) at Athens (#3) – Friday, 7 p.m.
Game 4: Boyceville (#7) at Whitehall (#2) – Friday, 7 p.m.

Group B
Game 1: Laona/Wabeno (#8) at Edgar (#1) – Friday, 7 p.m.
Game 2: Coleman (#5) at Crivitz (#4) – Friday, 7 p.m.
Game 3: Tigerton/Marion (#6) at Rosholt (#3) – Friday, 7 p.m.
Game 4: Pacelli (#7) at Wild Rose (#2) – Friday, 7 p.m.

Group C
Game 1: Darlington (#8) at Deerfield (#1) – Saturday, 3 p.m.
Game 2: Fennimore (#5) at Necedah (#4) – Saturday, 7 p.m.
Game 3: Pecatonica/Argyle (#6) at Iowa-Grant (#3) – Friday, 7 p.m.
Game 4: Kickapoo/La Farge (#7) at Bangor (#2) – Saturday, 2 p.m.

Group D
Game 1: Algoma (#8) at Saint Mary’s Springs (Fond du Lac) (#1) – Friday, 7 p.m.
Game 2: Ozaukee (#5) at Manawa (#4) – Friday, 7 p.m.
Game 3: Lourdes Academy (#6) at Manitowoc Lutheran (Reedsville) (#3) – Friday, 7 p.m.
Game 4: Reedsville (#7) at Shiocton (#2) – Friday, 7 p.m.

DIVISION 7

Group A
Game 1: Independence/Gilmanton (#8) at Clayton (#1) – Saturday, 2 p.m.
Game 2: Turtle Lake (#5) at Glenwood City (#4) – Friday, 7 p.m.
Game 3: Elmwood/Plum City (#6) at Pepin/Alma (#3) – Saturday, 2 p.m.
Game 4: Clear Lake (#7) at Frederic (#2) – Friday, 7 p.m.

Group B
Game 1: Florence (#8) at Hilbert (#1) – Friday, 7 p.m.
Game 2: Greenwood/Granton (#5) at Loyal (#4) – Friday, 7 p.m.
Game 3: Gilman (#6) at Owen-Withee (#3) – Saturday, 1 p.m.
Game 4: Almond-Bancroft (#7) at Suring (#2) – Friday, 7 p.m.

Group C
Game 1: North Crawford (#8) at Potosi (#1) – Friday, 7 p.m.
Game 2: Ithaca (#5) at Highland (#4) – Friday, 7 p.m.
Game 3: New Lisbon (#6) at Cochrane-Fountain City (#3) – Friday, 7 p.m.
Game 4: DeSoto (#7) at Hillsboro (#2) – Friday, 7 p.m.

Group D
Game 1: Belmont (#8) at Randolph (#1) – Friday, 7 p.m.
Game 2: Catholic Central (#5) at Black Hawk (#4) – Friday, 7 p.m.
Game 3: Johnson Creek (#6) at Rio (Portage) (#3) – Friday, 7 p.m.
Game 4: Fall River (#7) at Lake Country Lutheran (Kettle Moraine) (#2) – Friday – 7 p.m.

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