The end is nigh. At least, it is for most of the teams I cover.
The last week of the regular season for Wisconsin prep football teams is upon us. Here's what's going on:
• BELOIT TURNER: Oh, man. I'll start with these guys. It's just been a huge disappointment this season. I really thought they would compete for a conference title before the season began.
When I saw them play McFarland, I figured they would still be fine. It was clear they weren't as good as the Spartans, but they could still finish with seven or even eight regular season wins, get a decent seed in the playoffs, then perhaps even win a game.
They were 4-1 but not hitting on all cylinder when some teenagers started acting like teenagers. The next two games were explainable. Last week against Clinton? Insert shrugging shoulders emjoi here. No idea. But it wasn't good, I'll tell you that.
While the normal benchmark for making the playoffs is a winning season (this seems reasonable), it appears by all measures that the Trojans have already clinched a playoff berth with four wins. They play at East Troy, and as you'll see below, I can't predict them to pull the upset. Not after the way they've been playing.
That means they will head to the postseason with a four-game losing streak, and like a gladiator thrown to the lions, they will match up with one of the state's top teams in the first round of the playoffs. That's a tough way to go out for a senior class that has accomplished a lot.
• BELOIT MEMORIAL: These guys have a chance to end what was no question a disappointing season with an uplifting victory. Please guys, make it an uplifting victory, OK? Parker is playing the role that the Knights used to play. You know the part, right? The one that gets absolutely drilled every Friday night? That's Parker. But I know this, too. The Vikings have to be looking at this game like the one they can win. They won't lay down, and the Knights will need to make some plays to win. We all know the shortcomings this team has. Hopefully for one evening, they can overcome them and show up big-time tonight!
• BRODHEAD-JUDA: I can't for the life of my figure out this team. I'm wrong basically every week on them. Figured they would struggle last week against Big Foot. They blew them out of the water! In doing so, they kept alive their playoff hopes. But, now the bad news, they travel to a McFarland team that has just rolled over this mediocre conference this year. I think fhree wins was a realistic expectation for this group this season, and that's right where they will end up.
• BIG FOOT: Last week was a real lost opportunity for the Chiefs, who could've essentially clinched a berth with a win over the Cardinals. The outcome of that game, not necessarily the winner and the loser but the final score, was a real surprise to me.
Now, just like Brodhead-Juda, they are going to have to go on the road and beat a really good team to enter the tournament. Hard to imagine that happening.
• CLINTON: The Cougars just lost too much talent from last year to expect much more than they've done this season. But at least they have that win over their arch rivals last week to hang their hats on.
And as bad as things looked two weeks ago, they can finish the season with a 3-6 record (certainly not terrible) with a win over winless Evansville-Albany tonight. Considering all the circumstances, that's a decent year for Clinton. Remember, this team was consistently winless (or 1-8) before the arrival of Jeff Spiwak. A 3-6 record would've been a cause for a parade down Main Street! Raised expectations are a good thing, but proper perspective is also a nice thing to have. Really, the same could be said for Turner. I was pretty hard on them in the above space, but a few years back, a 4-5 year and a spot in the playoffs would've been a more than welcome sight!
• PARKVIEW: For the second straight year, it's just been a huge struggle for the Vikings. It's nearly impossible to compete, no matter the conference or the division level, with numbers they are running with. Perhaps a move to 8-man football could be in the future? The Vikings take on Living Word Lutheran, then will make up their game against Montello next week.
• SOUTH BELOIT: Moving on to the Illinois teams, the SoBos have a great chance to pick up their third win of the season Saturday against Christ the King, a winless team. Not a bad year at all for South Beloit.
• HONONEGAH: The Indians have another gimme on their hands. Main objective: Keep guys healthy. Get the running clock going. Move on to Harlem.
With all that said, here are tonight's scores, in advance. I'll be at Beloit Memorial tonight. I probably won't even check the Brewers score. Not even once.
EAST TROY 42, TURNER 20
BELOIT MEMORIAL 28, PARKER 14
MCFARLAND 35, BRODHEAD-JUDA 13
EDGERTON 49, BIG FOOT 27
CLINTON 28, EVANSVILLE-ALBANY 27
LIVING WORD LUTHERAN 28, PARVIEW 20
SOUTH BELOIT 42, CHRIST THE KING 12
HONONEGAH 49, JEFFERSON 6