Well, it was a bit of rough week one for Flick's Picks, but some of that is expected in week one. I certainly didn't see the Beloit Memorial win coming (I've also never been happier to be wrong), and Brodhead losing to Evansville, especially the way they did, was a surprise as well.
So it was a 3-2 start. This week, though, I'm ready to roll.
• SUN PRAIRIE at BELOIT MEMORIAL: I'll be at this one tonight. The Purple Knights haven't beaten the Cardinals since 1999, also (say it with me, people) the last time the Knights made the playoffs.
This doesn't appear to be a vintage, state-contending Sun Prairie team. They can be had. In fact, they were had, by Madison Memorial in week one. If the Knights are somehow able to pull this one off, just pencil them in for a playoff berth. The drought is over. Prepare the parade route.
But this would take a historic effort. Let's examine the numbers, if for no other reason than I spent a rather ridiculous amount of time researching this. In the 19 meetings since the Knights defeated the Cardinals 16-10 in 1999 behind Darius Jones, Beloit has never lost by fewer than 17 points (and that happened in a 24-7 defeat in 2000).
The running clock rule, enacted when a team has at least a 35-point lead in the second half, has gone into effect in each of the last five seasons. Over the span of the 19 games, the Knights have been outscored by an average of 40-9. It's been bad, folks. Real, real bad.
I'm still not quite ready to make that leap in faith, however. The Knights were able to force a slew of turnovers last week, and they'll need to do that again tonight. The good news is that the historical results have no bearing on tonight's game. The Knights have now seen first-hand that they can win. Can they slay the giant? Well, I hope I'm wrong. A close game would represent another step forward.
SUN PRAIRIE 28, BELOIT MEMORIAL 14
• HONONEGAH at HARLEM: What a huge game this is to open the season. Jim Franz will be reporting this one. The Indians have made mincemeat out of the NIC-10 in the past couple of seasons, and the Harlem Huskies believe they are the next big thing. If you don't believe me, just ask them. They'll tell you.
It's impossible to overlook the losses the Indians suffered due to graduation on both sides of the ball. But the cupboard is never bare at Hononegah, and in fact the coaches believe that pantry will be quite full again this year.
Team speed has been the phrase of the summer for the Indians, who figure to once again be beastly on defense. Christian Gomez should be a terrific featured carrier, while Payton Mather and Braden Sayles should make for a terrific passing combination.
I don't know, guys. I think this game will be close. But I'm in prove it mode. To be the best, you've got to beat the best. And I don't think Harlem is ready.
HONONEGAH 21, HARLEM 20.
• BIG FOOT at BELOIT TURNER: This week is a classic "clone me" week where there are four different games I'd love to see. This is one of them, to be sure.
I was pretty encouraged by Big Foot's performance against Jefferson, and the Trojans simply did what they needed to do against a sub-par Whitewater squad. Big Foot will be a more difficult test, but I think the Trojans have enough talent to get by in this one.
And hey, win or lose, everyone go recap the game at Coach's Bar and Grill, in the old Pitcher's Mound spot, on Prairie Avenue!
• BRODHEAD-JUDA at CLINTON: As I mentioned earlier, the Cardinals getting blown out by Evansville was a real surprise to me. But the score wasn't really indicative of the kind of game it was. The Cardinals really had one bad quarter that did them in. I expect them to play better this week.
Clinton stuck with East Troy, a good sign. I think the Cougars get this one tonight, in a squeaker. I'll say this: The loser of this game is going to have a really difficult time getting to 5-4.
CLINTON 28, BRODHEAD-JUDA 27
• BELLEVILLE at PARKVIEW-ALBANY : The Vikings were blown out last week by Johnson Creek, but they take on a Belleville team that is more on their level. I think the co-op is great for Parkview, but it's going to take a few years before ti really helps them a ton on the field.
BELLEVILLE 35, PARKVIEW 20
• SOUTH BELOIT at SALT FORK: The SoBos have a crazy schedule this season filled with Saturday afternoon games and a squad that they actually play twice. This is the most talented SoBos team that I've seen in my eight years, and I think it's a squad that could compete for a playoff berth.
But this Salt Fork team was excellent last year and it's going to be real difficult for the SoBos to notch their first win.
SALT FORK 42, SOUTH BELOIT 20
• MENDOTA at NORTH BOONE: The Phil Baker era will get off to a fast start with a win over Mendota, a team that went winless last year.
NORTH BOONE 35, MENDOTA 7.