Two brutal high school football truths were made obvious overnight, when the WIAA revealed its set of 28 groupings for the 2018 state football playoffs.
Both prove that there’s a big, bad state out there:
No. 1: Waunakee and Monona Grove are both unbeaten, but at least one — if not both — will not make it to the semifinals of the Division 2 playoffs.
No. 2: Top-ranked Fond du Lac and reigning state runner-up Sun Prairie are state powers, but at least one — if not both — will be out of the playoffs by the time the Division 1 semifinals come around.
Those truths became evident when the teams were grouped together in one of the WIAA’s 28 sets of eight-team groupings — four each for the seven playoff divisions — prior to Saturday morning’s seeding meetings.
Coaches from the eight teams in each grouping will meet to seed the eight teams, and from there, first-round pairings will be assigned for Friday’s opening round of the five-week playoff series.
The WIAA expects the pairings to be posted just before noon on Saturday.
However, because there are four groups in each division, and Waunakee and Monona Grove are in the same Division 2 grouping (as Sun Prairie and Fond du Lac are in Division 1).
That means that if those teams each won their first two playoff rounds, they would meet in a quarterfinal — and only one would advance to the semifinal round.
And those teams aren’t the only talented and/or history-rich programs jammed together in the same grouping.
Joining state top-ranked Fond du Lac and Sun Prairie in Group B of Division 1 are Madison Memorial, the other co-champion of the Big Eight Conference; perennial state power Hartland Arrowhead; Middleton, Verona and Madison La Follette of the Big Eight; and Sussex Hamilton.
Joining Waunakee and Monona Grove in Group C of Division 2 are Oregon and Stoughton of the Badger South, Baraboo and DeForest of the Badger North and Holmen and La Crosse Central of the Mississippi Valley.
Elsewhere in Division 1, Janesville Craig was shifted to Group C, where Muskego and Franklin appear to be the top powers. Four-time defending state champ Kimberly, which lost its season opener to Fond du Lac, is in Group A.
Also in Division 2, Watertown was placed in Group B, along with Mequon Homestead.
In Division 3, unbeaten McFarland was joined with Jefferson and Mount Horeb/Barneveld in a grouping that also includes perennial championship contender Waukesha Catholic Memorial.
Group C in Division 4 is filled by defending state champ Lodi, Lakeside Lutheran and Lake Mills of the Capitol North, Edgerton and Beloit Turner of the Rock Valley, River Valley of the Southwest Wisconsin and Mauston and Wautoma of the South Central.
In Division 5, Group C includes Belleville, Marshall and New Glarus/Monticello of the Capitol South, along with Trailways Large champ Horicon/Hustisford, Southwest Wisconsin champ Prairie du Chien and 2017 state runner-up Hartland Lake Country Lutheran.
Unbeaten Cambridge and SWAL champ Mineral Point are in Group D of Division 6, joined by Trailways Small tri-champ Oshkosh Lourdes.
In Division 7, Johnson Creek was placed in Group D along with Black Hawk and Potosi/Cassville.
The playoffs begin with 112 first-round games on Friday and continue through the championship games on Nov. 15 and 16 at Camp Randall Stadium.
2018 WIAA FOOTBALL PLAYOFFS
Group A: Appleton North, Bay Port, Chippewa Falls, De Pere, Green Bay Preble, Hudson, Kimberly, Neenah.
Group B: Fond du Lac, Hartland Arrowhead; Madison La Follette, Madison Memorial, Middleton, Sun Prairie, Sussex Hamilton, Verona.
Group C: Franklin, Janesville Craig, Lake Geneva Badger, Milwaukee Hamilton/Audubon, Mukwonago, Muskego, Milwaukee Marshall co-op; Wales Kettle Moraine.
Group D: Kenosha Bradford/Reuther, Kenosha Indian Trail; Milwaukee King, Milwaukee Marquette; Milwaukee Riverside/Meir, Oak Creek, Racine Horlick, Shorewood/Messmer.
Group A: Ashwaubenon, Hortonville, Kaukauna, Marshfield, Menasha, Menomonie, Pulaski, River Falls
Group B: Hartford, Menomonee Falls, Mequon Homestead, Milwaukee Vincent/Destiny, Slinger, Watertown, West Bend East, Whitefish Bay
Group C: Baraboo, DeForest, Holmen, La Crosse Central, Monona Grove, Oregon, Stoughton, Waunakee
Group D: Brookfield Central, Brookfield East, Burlington, Milwaukee Reagan, South Milwaukee, Waterford, Waukesha West, Wilmot
Group A: Ashland, Hayward/La Courte Oreilles, La Crosse Logan, Medford, New Richmond, Onalaska, Rice Lake, Sparta
Group B: Antigo, Appleton Fox Valley Lutheran, Freedom, Green Bay Notre Dame, Mosinee, New London, Seymour, West De Pere
Group C: Berlin, East Troy, Jefferson, McFarland, Mount Horeb/Barneveld, New Berlin West, Pewaukee, Waukesha Catholic Memorial
Group D: Cudahy, Grafton, Greendale, Luxemburg-Casco, New Berlin Eisenhower, Plymouth, Port Washington, Wisconsin Lutheran
Group A: Adams-Friendship, Baldwin-Woodville, Ellsworth, Gale-Ettrick-Trempealeau, Hammond St. Croix Central, Maple Northwestern, Somerset, West Salem
Group B: Appleton Xavier, Chilton, Denmark, Little Chute, Ripon, Two Rivers, Winneconne, Wrightstown
Group C: Beloit Turner, Edgerton, Lake Mills, Lakeside Lutheran, Lodi, Mauston, River Valley, Wautoma
Group D: Campbellsport, Greendale Martin Luther, Kiel, Milwaukee Obama, Racine St. Catherine’s, Sheboygan Falls, St. Francis, University School of Milwaukee
Group A: Arcadia, Bloomer, Cumberland, Elk Mound, Spencer/Marshfield Columbus, Spooner, Stanley-Boyd, Westby
Group B: Bonduel, Colby, Eagle River Northland Pines, Kewaunee, Peshtigo, Rib Lake/Prentice, Southern Door, Stratford
Group C: Belleville, Hartland Lake Country Lutheran, Horicon/Hustisford, Marshall, Mayville, New Glarus/Monticello, Palmyra-Eagle, Prairie du Chien
Group D: Amherst, Cedar Grove-Belgium, Fond du Lac St. Mary’s Springs, Howards Grove, New Holstein, Omro, Valders, Whitefish Bay Dominican
Group A: Eau Claire Regis, Grantsburg, Lake Holcombe/Cornell, Mondovi, Spring Valley, Unity, Webster, Glenwood City
Group B: Abbotsford, Auburndale, Coleman, Crivitz, Iola-Scandinavia, Manawa, Niagara co-op, Three Lakes/Phelps
Group C: Brookwood, Cochrane-Fountain City, Cuba City, Darlington, Fennimore, Lancaster, Melrose-Mindoro, Wauzeka-Steuben/Seneca
Group D: Cambridge, Dodgeland, Markesan, Mineral Point, Oshkosh Lourdes, Ozaukee, Pecatonica/Argyle, Racine Lutheran
Group A: Clear Lake, Edgar, Elmwood/Plum City, Gilman, Greenwood, Hurley, Loyal, Turtle Lake
Group B: Almond-Bancroft, Hilbert, Pittsville, Reedsville, Rosholt, Suring, Wabeno/Laona, Wisconsin Rapids Assumption
Group C: Bangor, Blair-Taylor, De Soto, Eleva-Strum, Highland, Independence/Gilmanton, Ithaca, Royall
Group D: Benton/Scales Mound (Ill.), Black Hawk, Cambria-Friesland, Fall River, Jackson Living Word Lutheran, Johnson Creek, Potosi/Cassville, Randolph