Nathan Schauer photo

Sun Prairie's Nathan Schauer has rushed for 271 yards and three touchdowns this season.

Game of the week

Verona (4-0 Big Eight) at Sun Prairie (3-1), 7 p.m. Friday

Truth time has arrived in the Big Eight race, as the next two or three weeks are likely to determine the league champion. Verona’s next three games are at Sun Prairie, at Madison Memorial and at home against Madison La Follette, teams with a combined record of 10-2. Sun Prairie, out to avoid falling two games back in the league race with four remaining, must visit La Follette next week.

Verona, ranked sixth among large schools in The Associated Press state poll, has averaged 43 points and 396 yards of offense per game, making the most of a large and talented line. Adam Bekx has thrown for 613 yards and University of Wisconsin recruit Jackson Acker has averaged 120 yards rushing per game and 10.2 yards per attempt with seven touchdowns.

After a 28-25 loss to Madison Memorial in the opener, Sun Prairie has won three straight, by a combined score of 138-17, against lower-division Big Eight teams. Quarterback Brady Stevens has completed 54% of his passes for 822 yards and 12 TDs, and Nathan Schauer has rushed for 271 yards and three scores. Mekhi Gullens leads the defense with 24 tackles and one sack.

Games to watch

Janesville Parker (0-4 Big Eight) at Madison East (1-3), Breese Stevens Field, 7 p.m. Friday

East is seeking its first two-game winning streak since 2016 after last week’s 28-9 home victory over Beloit Memorial. The Purgolders have a breakout performer in quarterback Phil Roh III, who has passed for 598 yards and five touchdowns, with Keonte Jones catching 11 throws for 191 yards and three scores. Parker has been outscored by a total of 155-31. Last week’s 35-7 loss to Madison La Follette was the 20th in a row for Parker, and Friday’s game starts a run of three straight on the road.

Madison Memorial (4-0 Big Eight) at Madison West (1-3), Mansfield Stadium, 7 p.m. Friday

Memorial, off to a perfect start with three wins against teams in the top half of the Big Eight standings, could go a long way toward taking control in the Big Eight race with wins over West and next week against Verona. Senior Jason Ceniti has passed for 581 yards at a 55% clip, and Kabaris Vasser — expected back after missing last week’s 28-11 win over Middleton due to injury — has averaged 8.8 yards per carry with 377 total yards and four TDs. Memorial is ranked seventh among large schools in the AP poll. West has played Middleton and Verona within two-touchdown margins, and after this week, Sun Prairie is the only team left on the Regents’ schedule with a winning record. Nazier Jones has rushed for 275 yards and Ezra Thompson has thrown for 370 yards with two rushing touchdowns.

Madison La Follette (3-1 Big Eight) at Janesville Craig (1-3), 7 p.m. Friday

The Lancers are off to a solid start, though this is the last game La Follette will play against a team currently with a losing record in Big Eight play. Quarterback Ben Probst has thrown for 767 yards and 13 touchdowns, completing 71.2% of his passes with five interceptions. Jaylend Brown has 413 yards rushing, and Charlie Kunkel and Dakovin Prather have combined for 630 receiving yards and 12 scores. Craig’s victory came against Parker in Week 2, and the Cougars lost 39-0 to Sun Prairie last week and 49-8 to Verona the week before.

Oregon (2-2, 1-1 Badger South) at Milton (4-0, 2-0), 7 p.m. Friday

Coach Rodney Wedig left Beloit Memorial to take over the Milton program, and quickly has steered it to the top of the Badger South race. The Red Hawks beat defending division champ Monona Grove last week 27-20, and have outscored opponents by a combined 156-42 so far. Evan Jordahl has completed 59.5% of his passes for 417 yards and nine scores, and Nick Huber has run for 350 yards to lead a multifaceted rushing attack that averages 258 yards per game and 6.3 yards per carry. Oregon thumped Madison Edgewood last week 35-0, after opening league play with a 42-34 loss to Stoughton. Erik Victorson has thrown for 371 yards, Matt Kissling has run for 205 yards and Teague Szudy has four rushing touchdowns.

DeForest (4-0, 2-0 Badger North) at Sauk Prairie (3-1, 1-1), 7 p.m. Friday

DeForest has ridden a formidable defense to an impressive start. The only points DeForest has allowed came on a touchdown in the fourth quarter of a 61-7 romp over Fort Atkinson. Last week, the Norskies earned their third shutout, beating Portage 61-0. Trey Schroeder has completed 60% of his passes for 474 yards and eight TDs, and Gabe Finley has run for 367 yards and a 9.2-yard average. Sauk Prairie, in its first year under coach Clay Iverson, is battling for what would be its first winning regular season and  WIAA playoff berth since 2007. But the Eagles had a three-game winning streak snapped last week by Reedsburg 22-14, as quarterback Kyle Breunig went 0-for-6 with an interception. Parker Breunig has rushed for 251 yards and two scores.

Lodi (4-0, 0-0 Capitol North) at Watertown Luther Prep (2-2, 0-0), 7 p.m. Friday

Lodi is off to another terrific start, averaging 32.8 points per game and giving up only two touchdowns. The offense racks up 226 yards rushing and 102 yards passing per game, with Quinn Faust completing 64% of his passes and Colton Nicolay rushing for 509 yards and five scores. Lodi is ranked ninth in the medium division of the AP poll. Luther Prep is at .500 after losing back-to-back games to state power Fond du Lac St. Mary’s Springs and Cambridge. Jon Holtz is the rushing leader for the Phoenix.

Monona Grove (1-3, 1-1 Badger South) at Watertown (3-1, 1-1), 7 p.m. Friday

The Silver Eagles are off to their roughest start since the 2007 team opened with four straight losses. Quarterback Cameron Behnke has completed 59% of his passes for 608 yards. Watertown’s three-game winning streak was struck down last week by Monroe 35-13, as the Goslings were held to minus-9 rushing yards. Ethan Pauly was forced to scramble by the Cheesemakers’ rush but still threw for 216 yards and two TDs, giving him 985 yards on the season.

Jefferson (2-2, 2-2 Rock Valley) at Edgerton (3-1, 3-1), 7 p.m. Friday

Jefferson lost last week to Brodhead/Juda 21-13 to fall to .500. Jefferson has already gotten 679 yards rushing from Jeffrey Zeh and 457 yards rushing from Dean Neff. The Eagles have completed only six passes all year. Edgerton delivered a 42-0 win over Clinton last week, and remains in the Rock Valley title hunt behind the 562 yards passing from Drew Hanson and 481 yards rushing from Ethan Krause.


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