WIAA State Football Championship Preview

The WIAA State Football Championship Games are being played today and Friday at Camp Randall Stadium in Madison.  You can hear all the game on 100.5 ESPN Madison and 94.5 ESPN Milwaukee and online at WisconsinOnDemand.com 

 

THE CHAMPIONSHIPS:  The 45th Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association Football State Championships will be held Thursday and Friday, Nov. 18-19, at Camp Randall Stadium on the campus of the University of Wisconsin in Madison, Wis.

ADMISSIONTICKETS: The WIAA uses GoFan Ticketing for all digital and cashless tickets. Admission for a single game is $11 plus online fees for adults and students. An all-day pass for Thursday is $30 plus online fees, and $25 for an all-day pass for Friday’s games. All tickets must be redeemed on a mobile device. To purchase tickets, visit the WIAA website at:  https://www.wiaawi.org/Tickets. Children 2-years old or younger do not require a ticket.

UWCOVID PROVISIONS: The University of Wisconsin COVID policies will be in place for the championship games at Camp Randall Stadium. All ticketed fans will be required to wear masks when in an indoor area of Camp Randall Stadium, regardless of vaccination status, unless actively eating or drinking. Masks will not be required in outdoor public spaces. Fully vaccinated individuals should consider wearing a mask in areas of high likelihood of transmission. In addition, masks are strongly encouraged for individuals not fully vaccinated.

 

CHAMPIONSHIPS SCHEDULE:

Thursday, Nov. 18

Div. 7 – Coleman (13-0) vs. Reedsville (12-1) – 10 a.m.

Div. 6 – Colby (12-1) vs. St. Mary’s Springs (11-2) – 1 p.m.

Div. 5 – Aquinas (13-0) vs. Mayville (11-2) – 4 p.m.

Div. 4 – Ellsworth (12-0) vs.  Catholic Memorial (13-0) 7 p.m.

Friday, Nov. 19

Div. 3 – Rice Lake (11-2) vs. Pewaukee (11-2) – 10 a.m.

Div. 2 – Waunakee (13-0) vs. Homestead (11-2) – 1 p.m.

Div. 1 – Franklin (13-0) vs. Sun Prairie (13-0) – 4 p.m.

LAST CHAMPIONSHIPS: With the playoff shortened to only two levels to accommodate for COVID-19 guidelines in 2020, there were no championship games conducted. In 2019, Muskego won its second championship in a row by defeating Bay Port 21-10 in the Division 1 final. In Division 2, Brookfield East edged Waunakee 31-30 in the final, and DeForest was an 8-7 victor over Menasha to win the crown in Division 3.  Catholic Memorial blanked Kiel 35-0 in the Division 4 championship after the Crusaders won in Division 3 in 2018. Lake Country Lutheran posted a 22-13 win over Stratford to win the Division 5 title, and St. Mary’s Springs won the Division 6 crown to win its third straight championship by defeating Regis 7-0. The Ledgers won Division 5 in 2018 and Division 6 in 2017. Black Hawk/Warren won Division 7 with a 6-0 shutout over Edgar. Black Hawk won the title in 2018 as a stand-alone program.

CHAMPIONSHIP FINALS HISTORY:  The WIAA began sponsoring the playoff tournament series in 1976. The first two championships featured four divisions. In 1978, the field expanded to five divisions. The playoffs were again expanded to include six divisions in 1981. In 1996, the playoff field was further expanded to 192 teams qualifying for the post-season. In 2002, the tournament expanded to its current seven-divisions format with 224 teams. The championships have all been at Camp Randall Stadium since 1982. The finals were not conducted in 2020 during the COVID pandemic. St. Mary’s Springs has won the most championships with nine. Edgar, Kimberly, Lancaster and Stratford are next on the list with seven. Arrowhead, Homestead and Waunakee have each won six titles. D.C. Everest, Menomonie, Monroe and Osseo-Fairchild have each won five. Arrowhead and Edgar and now St. Mary’s Springs leads the membership in title game appearances with 13. Darlington is next with 12, and Lancaster and Waunakee have 11. Kimberly and Stratford have nine appearances in the championship game.

DIVISION 1 NOTES:  Franklin will appear in its fourth championship final. The Sabers other experiences in the title game resulted in a Division 2 championship in 2006 and runner-up finishes in Division 1 in 2013 and 2016. They won the Southeast Conference championship in 2021, and they defeated Appleton North 26-19 in the State  semifinal to gain their berth in the championship game. Sun Prairie is also appearing in its fourth championship final. The Cardinals other experiences in the championship game resulted in a title in 1995 and  runner-up finishes in 2012 and 2017. They are the champions in the Big Eight Conference this fall. The Cardinals defeated Mukwonago 38-31 at Level 4 of the playoffs to gain the berth in the championship final.

DIVISION 2 NOTES:  Homestead is playing in its eighth title game and its first since 2018 when the Highlanders won their third Division 2 championship and their sixth championship overall. Their first two Division 2 appearances and titles came in 2012 and 2015. Their first four trips to the finals came in Division 1. The Highlanders made three straight title game appearances from 2006-08, which resulted in titles in Division 1 in 2006 and 2008, and a runner-up finish in 2007. The Highlanders were also crowned State champions in 1999. This season, they placed in a tie for second in the North Shore Conference standings, and they defeated Kettle Moraine 29-10 at Level 4 to advance to the final. Waunakee advances to the title game for the 11th time and for the third time in the past four championship games. The Warriors have captured the State championship six times, including three consecutive Division 2 championships from 2009-11 and another title in 2017. They also won Division 3 crowns in 1999 and 2002. Three of their four runner-up finishes came in Division 2 in 2005, 2012 and 2019, and one came in Division 3 in 2001. The Warriors finished first in the Large Division of the Badger Conference this fall. The Warriors’ return to the title game comes virtue of their 27-20 victory over Hartford at Level 4.

DIVISION 3 NOTES:  Pewaukee celebrates its first-ever appearance in the State championship game. The Pirates were runners-up in the Parkland Conference this season behind Division 4 qualifier Catholic Memorial. They posted a 28-14 victory over Monroe at Level 4 to advance and remain in contention for the program’s first State title. Rice Lake is making its seventh trip to the State final and its first since winning the Division 3 championship in 2017. The Warriors also captured the State title in 1979. Their four runner-up finishes occurred in 1980, 1982, 2004 and 2014. The Warriors were co-champions in the Big Rivers Conference with Menomonie this season. They advance to the title game by ousting 2019 runner-up Menasha in their Level 4 game, 36-21.

DIVISION 4 NOTES: The 2019 and essentially the defending champion, Catholic Memorial, is making its eighth appearance in the State final in pursuit of the program’s fifth championship. The Crusaders won the Division 4 title in 2019  after moving down a division from Division 3, where they won State titles in 2012, 2016 and 2018. In addition, the Crusaders were runners-up in Division 2 in 2001 and in Division 3 in 2010 and 2015. Before joining the WIAA, the Crusaders won WISAA titles in 1979, 1989, 1993 and 1996. They were also runners-up six times. This season, they finished atop the Parkland Conference standings. They advance to the championship game after rolling past Columbus 42-19 at Level 4. Ellsworth returns to the title game for the second time in school history and for the first time since winning the Division 3 championship in 1990. The Panthers’ road to the title game this year culminated with a 46-7 triumph over Freedom at Level 4. They are the champions of the Middle Border Conference this fall.

DIVISION5 NOTES:  Aquinas will be making its second State Championship game appearance. The only other time the Blugolds played for the title resulted in a Division 5 championship in 2007. As a former member of WISAA, the Blugolds won Division 2 titles in 1993 and 1995. This year, they are the champions in the Coulee Conference. The Blugolds continue their quest for a second State championship following their 28-18 victory over Wittenberg-Birnamwood at Level 4.  Mayville is making its fifth finals appearance and the first since 2006 when the Cardinals finished runner-up in Division 4. They captured the Division 4 crown in 1994  following runner-up finishes in their first two appearances in 1991 and 1992. They placed in a three-way tie in the Wisconsin Flyway Conference with Campbellsport and Division 6 qualifier St. Mary’s Springs this fall. The Cardinals defeated Belleville 42-25 in their Level 4 game to earn the opportunity to win another State title.

DIVISION 6 NOTES:  Colby will play in the title game for the sixth time overall and for the first time since 2011 when the Hornets won the Division 5 championship. In addition, they won the Division 5 championship in 2008 and the Division 4 title in 1998. Their two runner-up finishes came in the Hornets’ first appearance in 1985 in Division 4 and then again in Division 5 in 2010. They are the champions of the Marawood Conference this season. Colby earned its advance to the title game by defeating Durand 28-24 in its Level 4 contest. St. Mary’s Springs seeks what essentially is its fourth straight State championship after the championships were not held last season because of COVID guidelines. The Ledgers won the Division 6 title in 2019 after claiming the Division 5 title in 2018 and the Division 6 again in 2017. The Ledgers are making their membership-leading 13th championship game appearance overall. They have won nine State titles. In addition to the latest run of three championships, they won the Division 5 title in 2009 and the Division 6 titles in 2002, 2011, 2012, 2014 and 2015. The Ledgers have finished runner-up in Division 6 three times, including 2003, 2005 and 2010. This year, they are the tri-champions of the Wisconsin Flyway Conference with Campbellsport and Division 4 qualifier Mayville. The Ledgers came back from a significant deficit to down Darlington 35-24 in their Level 4 game. Prior to joining the WIAA, St. Mary’s Springs won WISAA crowns  in 1983, 1984, 1990, 1991, 1995, 1997, 1998 and 1999.  In addition, the Ledgers were WISAA runners-up  in 1975, 1976, 1977, 1978, 1989 and 1992.

DIVISION 7 NOTES:  Both participants in the State championship game are making their first-ever appearance in the title game. Coleman advanced with a 28-22 victory over  2019 Division 6 runner-up Regis at Level 4. The Cougars  are the champions of the West Division of the Marinette & Oconto/Northern Lakes/Packerland Conference this fall. Reedsville earned its inaugural appearance in the State final with a convincing 47-8 trouncing of Cashton at Level 4.  The Panthers finished in a three-way tie for first place in the Big East Conference with Cedar Grove-Belgium and Hilbert this fall.

EIGHT-PLAYER RECAP:  Newman Catholic (12-0) scored 35 points in the second quarter and cruised to a 49-6 victory over Luck (10-2) in the 2021 State 8-Player Football Championship game last weekend at South Wood County Stadium in Wisconsin Rapids. In a rematch of the 2019 title game between two teams nicknamed the Cardinals, Newman Catholic avenged its 42-27 loss in dominant fashion, outgaining Luck, which was missing its leading offensive threat with an injury, 371-81 in total offense yardage and possessing a 22-4 margin in first downs for the game. Newman Catholic quarterback Conner Krach led all rushers with 128 yards and three touchdowns on 12 carries, and he completed 11-of-15 passes for 131 yards and two touchdowns.