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Eyes on trip to Camp Randall
Brodhead-Juda junior quarterback David Earleywine has passed for 1,011 yards with 15 touchdowns. He has completed 66 percent of his passes and leads the Cardinals into a first-round WIAA Division 4 playoff game against Prairie du Chien at 7 tonight in Brodhead.
BRODHEAD - With the first round of WIAA football playoffs set to kickoff tonight, the road to state at Camp Randall Stadium begins.

Brodhead-Juda is the one area playoff team to host a first-round game, and it's against Prairie du Chien. Since a 21-20 overtime loss to defending state-champion Big Foot, the Cardinals have rolled, winning six straight games heading into the playoffs.

"It's been so long ago. I don't think the kids think about that game," Brodhead-Juda Coach Jim Matthys said of the loss to the Chiefs. "I thought the kids have really responded after that game. We have improved a lot since that game."

This season, Brodhead-Juda junior quarterback David Earleywine has passed for 1,011 yards 15 touchdowns and just one interception. Earleywine is directing an offense that's averaging 40.4 points per game.

"I think he grew up a lot from last year," Matthys said of his quarterback. "He's done a good job of being efficient. I think the experience he got last year is paying off. He has players with good talent around him and receivers that he can get the ball to."

If New Glarus-Monticello (7-2) can upset No. 1 seed River Valley, the Knights could have a chance to avenge a first-round loss to Brodhead-Juda last year. But it will be a challenge against River Valley (9-0) and ranked fourth in the Associated Press Medium Division state poll.

The Blackahwks are led by running back Nick Radlinger, who has rushed for 1,596 yards and 18 touchdowns. River Valley beat rival Prairie du Chien 42-19 last week to lock up its first Southwest Wisconsin title since 1981.

The Knights look to get back on track after losing two of their last three games.

Division 5

Lancaster has been a road block for Darlington in recent years. The Flying Arrows have defeated the Redbirds during the last two years in the playoffs, including a 35-19 win in the Level 3 playoffs last year.

Darlington (9-0) and ranked second in the Small Division AP state poll, enters the Division 5 playoffs as the No. 1 seed in the Southeast region, but Darlington coach Scott Zywicki knows that doesn't mean much at the kickoff.

"They understand the history we have with Lancaster," Zywicki said. "The seniors would love to change that history and legacy and make sure they go out with a win against Lancaster."

The Redbirds have played in the Level 3 playoffs four of the last eight years. If Darlington wins, they'll play the winner of Poynette and Stratford. Stratford had their streak of six straight Division 6 state championships snapped in 2009, and this year they are the smallest school in Division 5.

Zywicki said last year the Redbirds gave up a couple of long touchdowns on the option.

"The No. 1 key is to stop the big play," Zywicki said. "We need to be able to contain them (Lancaster) and make them drive the whole field on us."

Division 6

Pecatonica-Argyle (5-4) will play at Necedah (7-2), which finished second in the Scenic Bluffs Conference behind champion Bangor. Necedah has an explosive, one-two punch at the running back position. Nick Adamczak has rushed for 1,399 yards with 14 touchdowns and is averaging 8.8 yards per carry. Kris Manning has rushed for 1,283 yards with 18 touchdowns and is averaging 9.3 yards per carry.

Pecatonica-Argyle sophomore Jon Hendrickson passed for 733 yards and seven touchdowns. The Vikings' running game is led by junior Jared Johnson, who has rushed for 718 yards and seven touchdowns.

Division 7

Black Hawk is in the unenviable position of playing two-time defending state champion Burlington Catholic Central.

The Warriors (6-3) enter the postseason on a four game winning streak. The Warriors are led by senior quarterback Michael Wolff who has passed for 1,203 yards and eight touchdowns. The Warriors have a powerful, double threat at running back with junior Michael Walker (587 rushing yards, 12 TDs) and junior Jace Johnsrud (695 yards, seven TDs).

"Someone has to play them," Black Hawk coach Cory Milz said. "After the WIAA seeds the top four teams the next criteria is geography. Until we are good enough to be seeded, we kind of expect it."

The Hilltoppers also have a strong running game, led by quarterback Rex Morrow (1,222 rushing yards, 23 TDs) and running back Jeremy Williamson (660 rushing yards, 10 TDs).

"They are obviously a good team," Milz said. "Anything can happen with turnovers, penalties and mistakes. If we play well and limit our mistakes, you never know what can happen."

Milz said the key will be running the ball against an aggressive Catholic Central defense.

"They will dare you to throw the ball," Milz said. "It's a high-risk, high-reward defense. They are able to recover from their mistakes with their speed."