SPASH (8-2) AT KIMBERLY (10-0)
When: 7 p.m., Kimberly High School
Last meeting: Kimberly 19, SPASH 6 (1971)
About Kimberly: The defending Division 1 state champions have picked up right where they left off last November under coach Steve Jones, a SPASH graduate. Kimberly rolled through the Valley Football Association North Division unbeaten and handled Green Bay Preble 38-14 in Level 1 last week. Blair Mulholland, a senior, paces a potent ground attack with 1,682 yards and 31 touchdowns, while junior quarterback Danny VandenBoom is completing 72.8 percent of his passes with 16 TDs and no interceptions. Among common opponents, the Papermakers have defeated D.C. Everest (46-29), Wausau East (42-7) and Neenah (35-14). Kimberly was ranked No. 1 in the final Associated Press poll among large schools.
About SPASH: Winners of six straight games, the Panthers face by far their biggest test of the season for a chance to advance to the Division 1 state quarterfinals for the first time since reaching the state title game in 2010. SPASH earned a shot at the Papermakers with an 24-13 opening-round playoff win over D.C. Everest behind a stifling performance from the defense that held the Evergreens to just 62 yards of total offense. A huge question mark for SPASH heading into the matchup is the health of running back Victor Kizewski (hamstring) and quarterback Beau Rosenthal (concussion). Gus Turner-Zick rushed for 169 yards and a score to pick up the slack against Everest. The Panthers also have wins over Wausau East (59-7) and Neenah (42-0).
ATHENS (8-2) AT ALMOND-BANCROFT (10-0)
When: 7 p.m. Almond Athletic Complex
Last meeting: First meeting
About Athens: Austin Engel drilled a 19-yard field goal with less than 2 minutes left in regulation to give Athens a 17-14 win over Assumption in Level 1. The win avenged a 32-6 loss to the Royals in Week 4. Athens’ only other loss came at the hands of unbeaten Abbotsford, 19-13, in Week 8. The Bluejays’ attack centers around running back Jake Stange, who gained 162 yards on 19 attempts against Assumption, including a 75-yard touchdown run on their first play from the line of scrimmage. On the season, Stange has accounted for 1,139 yards and 15 touchdowns. Max Stange has added 10 TDs on the ground.
About Almond-Bancroft: The Eagles took the first step in a possible return to the Division 7 state semifinals with a 42-0 whitewashing of Central Wisconsin Conference 10 foe Port Edwards in the opening round of the playoffs. The outcome marked the eighth time in 10 games that Almond-Bancroft has posted a shutout and the fifth straight time a team has failed to score. The Eagles haven’t been slouches when they have the ball, either, scoring 42 or more points in every game. Derek Baumgartner paced the A-B ground game against Port with 14 carries for 163 yards and two TDs. Austin Bunders added 101 yards rushing, while junior quarterback Wyatt Richtmyre passed for 103 yards.
WINNEBAGO LUTHERAN (7-3) AT AMHERST (10-0)
When: 7 p.m., Amherst High School
Last meeting: First meeting
About Winnebago Lutheran: The Vikings rode a strong defensive performance to a 17-7 win over Peshtigo in their Division 5 playoff opener a week ago. Winnebago Lutheran finished third in the Flyway Conference behind champion Omro and defending Division 6 state champion Saint Mary’s Springs. The only other blemish on its record was a 32-25 loss at the hands of Lakeside Lutheran in Week 1. The Vikings had scored at least 29 points in their previous six wins, while combining to score just 10 in losses to their conference rivals. Winnebago Lutheran has three backs with at least 415 yards led by Noah Westphal with 517 yards. Quarterback Eric Schmitz has a team-high 12 rushing TDs and 12 more scores through the air.
About Amherst: The No. 1-ranked Falcons needed only slightly more than three minutes to end any New Holstein hopes pulling off the upset in Level 1 of the Division 5 playoffs last week. Senior defensive end Tyler Biadasz, a University of Wisconsin commit, opened the scoring just 1:19 into the first quarter with a 39-yard interception return for a score. Amherst enjoyed a 21-0 lead with just 3:19 elapsed and the entire Huskies team was barely off the bus. Junior running back Brandon Piotrowski chipped in with 84 yards rushing and three touchdowns for the Falcons, who led 49-0 at halftime before letting the junior varsity players gain playoff experience. New Holstein mustered only 157 yards of total offense.
SAINT MARY’S SPRINGS (8-2) AT IOLA-SCANDINAVIA (9-1)
When: 7 p.m., Thunderbird Field, Scandinavia
Last meeting: St. Mary’s Springs 22, Iola-Scandinavia 16 (2005)
About Saint Mary’s Springs: The Ledgers opened their Division 6 state title defense in impressive fashion, humbling Shiocton 41-6 in the second meeting between the teams this season. Springs also knocked off the Central Wisconsin Conference 8 foe 42-20 in the opening week of the regular season. In comparison, Amherst owns a 64-0 win over Shiocton, while Iola-Scandinavia crushed the conference foe 49-7 in Week 4. Winners of four straight since a 37-20 loss to Flyway Conference champion Omro, the Ledgers have averaged 44.3 points a game over that span. Junior quarterback Blake Bauer has accounted for 20 touchdowns — 10 passing and 10 rushing — in a balanced attack, while scatback Finton Floyd had added 16 TDs on the ground.
About Iola-Scandinavia: The Thunderbirds won their seventh straight with a convincing 35-7 victory over Crivitz in Level 1 action last week, outscoring opponents 312-60 over that stretch. Their lone loss came to top-ranked Amherst in Week 3. No one has held Iola-Scandinavia to less than 27 points all season, and the T-Birds have scored 35 or more points in their nine wins. Senior quarterback Cameron Gruenwald paced a potent rushing attack against the Wolverines with 18 carries for 206 yards and two touchdowns. Senior halfback Kristian Welch, a University of Iowa commit, carried the ball 16 times for 101 yards and two more scores. Gruenwald also connected with receiver Austin Dyb on a 27-yard scoring strike, while the T-Birds surrendered just 177 total yards to Crivitz.