Superior (3-0) at EC Memorial (3-0)
What: Big Rivers, Friday, 7 p.m. at Carson Park.
Series history: Memorial won last year 31-24 and leads in games since 1915 by 34-29-5.
Memorial: Faces stiffest test of season in key battle. Edged Rice Lake last week 21-16. Outscoring opponents 130-82 and outgaining them in total yards 481-332. Played without injured RB Loyal Crawford (474 yds, 9.5 avg, 9 TDs in first 2 games) last week and he remains questionable this week. QB Bryson Johnson (33-60-3, 629-4) threw for 203 yards and two scores last week with Will Hesse (8-295-4) taking both TD passes. Jack Piper (9-155) is another leading receiver. Ethan Van Grunsven (150, 7.5) can also run the ball. Calvin Tanner has excelled as DB, Rec, RB. Defense shut down Rice Lake with 73 rush yards and 122 overall. Hit hard by injuries, DL Grant Wolfe and DB Alex Krajewski out for year and RB/LB Easton Tok out indefinitely. Coach Mike Sinz: “Superior is confident, physical, explosive and scary. They’ve been a big-play team in first three games. Gronski is such a good athlete. We can’t give them the big play. We have to bring our A-game.”
Superior: Powerhouse team that defeated North 49-7 last week with a 369-179 advantage in yards. Outscored its opponents 127-14 and outgained them 350-174. Led by QB/RB Jarrett Gronski (197, 9.0, 3) but have other dangerous runners in Carter Fonger (240, 13.3, 2) and Caden Stone (163, 11.8, 3) while QB Kaden Kimmes (8-13-0, 205, 3) is pass threat. Strong defense led by Brady Herbst and Sean McCoshen. Coached by Bob DeMeyer.
EC North (0-3) at Hudson (0-3)
What: Big Rivers, Friday, 7 p.m. at Hudson.
Series history: Hudson won last year 49-7 for eighth straight and leads in games since 1986 by 20-13.
North: Coming off loss at Superior after nearly pulling off upset of La Crosse Logan in 26-20 loss the week before. QB Kyle Greenlund (13-19-0, 123) directs mainly ground attack led by Sammy Barby (205, 5.6, 2) who had 71 yard TD run last week. Charlie Wolter (109 yds) is another ground threat while Davin Xiong took three passes for 31 yards at Superior. Outscored 135-48 and outgained 389-222 in total yards. RB Cameron Robertson out indefinitely. Coach Andy Jarzynski: “Superior was simply better, but the way we played didn’t help us. Hudson is without a doubt the best 0-3 team in the state, they’ve played tough teams. They are deep and physical. We have to come out and want to play a football game, come out in a business-like fashion.”
Hudson: Off to worst start in two decades after losing 34-20 to River Falls last week. Lost earlier to Onalaska 21-14 and Montini Catholic (Ill.) 22-7. QB Owen Anderson threw TD passes of 33 yards to Matteo Bonnin and 54 yards to Tyler Stubbendick while Jake Miller had a 10-yard run for last week’s scores. A title contender throughout the years with a physical team. Coached by Adam Kowles.
Regis (3-0) at Osseo-Fairchild (2-1)
What: Cloverbelt, Friday, 7 p.m. at Osseo.
Series history: Regis won last year 35-0 for seventh straight and leads in games since 2008 by 9-1.
Regis: Defeated Stanley-Boyd 42-8 in key clash last week and has outscored foes by 133-0 in the first half of its games and 154-24 overall. Ground attack has included 22 ball carriers led by Tristan Root (159, 17.2, 7), Gus Theisen (144, 16.0, 4) and Hayden Reinders (92, 13.1, 4). QB Bennett Seelen (4-9-1, 103-1) passes to a variety of receivers. Payton Kostka, Alex Leis and Gabe Chenal are defensive leaders in tackles. Outgained opponents 242-160 in average yards. Coach Bryant Brenner: “This is one of the better teams we’ve seen so far. They have skilled athletes and are coming in with momentum. We expect a close game. We have to defend the deep ball, pressure the quarterback and score some points. It could be a high-scoring game.”
Osseo-Fairchild: Coming off 28-12 win over Cadott after edging Spencer-Columbus 38-37 earlier. Keyed by the passing of QB Jackson Johnson, who passed for 132 yards and two scores last week after throwing for 270 yards against S/C with Bret Kostka catching four for 144 yards and four scores. Ryan Myhers and Garrett Koxlien are other top receivers. Dangerous RB is Brice Shimon, who returned a kickoff 85 yards and ran 58 yards from scrimmage for scores last week. Scored 72 points and allowed 95 including a 46-6 loss to Colby. Coached by Eric Boettcher.
River Falls (2-1) at Menomonie (3-0)
What: Big Rivers, Friday, 7 p.m. at Williams Stadium.
Series history: River Falls won last year 25-18, breaking a string of 23 losses. Menomonie leads in games since 1920 by 58-21-4.
Menomonie: Passed for near-record 328 yards in last week’s 42-18 win over Chippewa with Tyler Werner (18-32-366-2) tossing for 197 yards and Ryan Kahl for 131 with Davis Barthen taking 7 for 117 yards and Dylan Boecker 4-144. Brock Thornton (7-112-1) is among other receivers. Leading rushers are Will Ockler (27-239, 8.8) who ran for 216 yards in win over Onalaska. DeVauntaye Parker (159, 6.6, 5) also runs well. Outscoring opponents 108-44 and ougaining them by 362-251 in total yards. Coach Joe LaBuda: “They have two of the premier players in the state in Stoffel and Kohel. We’ve got to mix it up. Stop their big-play playmakers and make them earn their yards.”
River Falls: Defending champions back in picture with 34-20 win over Hudson last week. Outscoring opponents 90-76 and averaging 381 yards of offense. Led by RB Seth Kohel (645, 7.0, 7) who ran for 234 yards and three scores in win over Hudson. QB Peter Noreen directs attack and has run and passed for 403 yards. Main receivers are Joe Stoffel (6-108-1) and Payton Flood, who caught five for 85 yards last week. Only loss to Onalaska by 28-21. Coached by David Crail.
Fall Creek (0-3) at Altoona (0-3)
What: Cloverbelt, Friday, 7 p.m. at Fuzzy Thurston Field.
Series history: Fall Creek won last year 41-6 and leads in games since 2002 by 11-5. Could be one of last games between the two teams in that Altoona is scheduled to move to a new conference next year.
Altoona: Both teams shooting for first win in this backyard rivalry. Lost to powerful Colby 65-0 last week but competitive in first two losses. Outscored by 132-31 and outgained 494-165 in average yards. Top threats are QB Nate McMahon, who has passed for 121 yards and two scores and rushed for over 100 while Paxton Gluch, who had a 98-yard game in opener, has run for over 150. Coach Chad Hanson: “Fall Creek is very aggressive on defense. They are very similar to what we’re doing right now. We’re working every day to learn what it takes to win. We’ve got to control the line of scrimmage and hope our offense starts to click. Could be our last game with them so it means a little more.”
Fall Creek: Struggling with young team and coming off 55-0 loss to Spencer/Columbus. QB Brock Laube passed for 81 yards and Jack Monnier rushed for 27 yards in loss. Leading defenders were Will Gorst and Daniel Richmond. Outscored by 149-24. Dean Laube is first-year coach.
Chippewa Falls (0-3) at Rice Lake (0-3)
What: Big Rivers, Friday, 7 p.m. at Pug Lund Field.
Series history: Rice Lake won last year 34-13 but Chippewa leads in games since 1983 by 20-16.
Chippewa: Had season-high 259-yard output but still lost 42-18 to Menomonie last week. QB Hayden Goodman (26-53, 226 yds) ran and passed for 174 yards and RB Ben Steinmetz (130, 7.0) ran for 96 yards in nine trips last week. Leading receivers are Tyler Bohland (9-101), Ben Carani (8-72-1) and Steinmetz (7-75). Outscored by 111-25 and outgained 351-168 in average yards. Coach Chuck Raykovich: “It looks like we played three championship teams. That will make us better. Kids are feeling good. They know they’re getting better and that’s all you can expect.”
Rice Lake: Lost three close games and played Memorial strong in 21-16 loss last week but still trying to get ground game going. Managed only 73 rushing yards and 122 overall in setback. QB Tyson Tomesh is capable thrower while Andrew Farm, Zack Fisher and Tristan Scheurer are among leading rushers. Outscored by 49-29. Coached by Dan Hill.
— Ron Buckli