By Art Kabelowsky Special to Published Oct 20, 2009 at 8:55 PM

Area high school football fans are digging in for a wild and busy week. The wilder and busier it is, the better it is for the teams involved.

This is Week 9, the final week of the regular season. It brings a couple of twists to the routine that teams have been following regularly since practice began in early August.

For one thing, this week's games are mid-week affairs. Most Milwaukee-area teams play on Wednesday; elsewhere in the state, most games will be played on Thursday.

And after the last score is reported Thursday night, WIAA officials will pull a good old all-nighter in their headquarters just south of Stevens Point. They have several tasks to achieve while coaches, players and fans around the state click their refresh buttons, looking for answers -- usually with such tenacity that it crashes the WIAA's servers.

First, the officials will apply the strict and well-defined playoff qualifying criteria to all teams, coming up with a list of the top 224 qualifiers.

Then, they will rank those schools by enrollment, placing the 32 largest schools in Division 1, the next 32 largest in Division 2, and so on until all seven divisions are filled.

Then they will pair the qualifiers in each division into geographical sections, generally grouping the 16 northernmost teams on one side of the bracket and the 16 southernmost schools on the other.

They will seed the top schools -- based generally on nothing other than their conference record and placement -- to fill the brackets, all the way down to the first-round pairings. (One caveat: Teams from the same conference will not be slated to meet in the first round.)

And, finally, they will consult their list of pre-approved playoff host sites to assign locations to each game, with preference given to the higher-seeded team.

First-round playoff games will take place at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 27, followed by second-round games on Saturday, Oct. 31. The march will continue until teams qualify for the seven divisional championship games, which will be played Thursday and Friday, Nov. 19-20, at Camp Randall Stadium in Madison.

Statewide, 30 teams enter the final week of the regular season with 8-0 records. The only area teams on that list are Kenosha Bradford (of the Southeast Conference), Milwaukee Marquette (Greater Metro), defending Division 1 state champion Homestead (North Shore), Pewaukee (Woodland), Waterford (Southern Lakes) and Waukesha West (Classic 8).

Forty-six more state teams are currently 7-1 overall, including these area representatives: Brookfield Academy, Brown Deer, Burlington Catholic Central, Cedarburg, Menomonee Falls, Lake Country Lutheran, Milwaukee Bradley Tech, Milwaukee Riverside, Milwaukee Vincent, New Berlin Eisenhower, Racine Lutheran and Whitnall.


Several area teams have already locked in playoff berths heading into the final round of regular-season play, while a handful of teams are still perched on the precarious must-win fence.

Teams from local conferences that are already in (along with their likely, though NOT all guaranteed, divisional placement):

Division 1: Arrowhead, Hartford, Homestead, Kenosha Bradford, Kenosha Tremper, Menomonee Falls, Milwaukee Bay View, Milwaukee Hamilton, Milwaukee King, Milwaukee Marquette, Milwaukee Riverside, Oconomowoc, Racine Park, Waukesha West.

Division 2: Cedarburg, Franklin, Greendale, Lake Geneva Badger, Milwaukee Bradley Tech, Milwaukee Vincent, Sussex Hamilton, Waterford, West Bend West, Whitnall.

Division 3: Brown Deer, Catholic Memorial, New Berlin Eisenhower, Pewaukee, Union Grove, Wisconsin Lutheran.

Division 5: Greendale Martin Luther, Milwaukee Heritage Christian.

Division 6: Brookfield Academy, Lake Country Lutheran, Racine Lutheran.

Division 7: Burlington Catholic Central.


At 4-3 in the Woodland Conference's Blue Division, New Berlin West is sure to earn a playoff spot if it can win at home against winless Greenfield on Wednesday. Even with a loss, the Spartans are still mathematically likely to meet the WIAA's qualifying criteria.

On the other hand, it appears the following area teams MUST win this week to meet the playoff qualifying criteria:

  • North Division (City)
  • Kettle Moraine (Classic 8 Conference)
  • Brookfield Central (Greater Metro)
  • St. John's Northwestern and Kenosha St. Joseph (Midwest Classic)
  • Germantown and Milwaukee Lutheran (North Shore)
  • Oak Creek (Southeast)
  • Burlington and Delavan-Darien (Southern Lakes)
  • Slinger (Wisconsin Little Ten)
  • South Milwaukee (Woodland)

Woodland Conference administrators did a fine job setting up the 2009 schedule. The 12-team league has two divisions of six teams each, and the final round of play pits teams from different divisions. Interestingly, the top teams in each division play one another, as do the next-best teams. Unbeaten Pewaukee (8-0, 7-0) plays host to Whitnall (7-1, 6-1) in one Woodland showdown, and Brown Deer (7-1, 6-1) takes on New Berlin Eisenhower (7-1, 6-1) in another big test.

In other big games:

At least a share of second place in the City Conference is on the line when Vincent (6-1, 6-1) meets Hamilton (6-2, 6-1) at Pulaski.

Second place in the Classic 8 will be decided when Arrowhead (6-1, 5-1) plays host to Catholic Memorial (6-2, 5-1).

In the Greater Metro, Brookfield Central (5-3, 3-3), a team that has not met its high expectations (the Lancers have three Division I college recruits), faces a must-win situation at home against strong Sussex Hamilton (6-2, 4-2).

Burlington Catholic Central (7-1, 5-0), the defending Division 7 state champion, needs to beat host Racine Lutheran (7-1, 4-1) to earn sole possession of the Midwest Classic Conference South Division title.

Germantown (5-3, 3-3) faces the toughest possible must-win situation, needing to beat defending Division 1 state champ Homestead (8-0, 6-0) to earn a playoff berth. Also in the North Shore, Milwaukee Lutheran (4-4, 3-3) must win at Whitefish Bay (5-3, 4-2) to make the playoffs.

Records won't matter in the battle of Kenosha, as Tremper (5-3, 4-2) takes on the hard-charging Bradford Red Devils (8-0, 6-0) at Carthage College. Bradford has rushed for 3,154 yards in eight games, an average of 394.3 yards per game.... Also, Oak Creek (5-3, 3-3) must win at Racine Park (5-3, 4-2) to clinch a post-season spot.

In the Wisconsin Little Ten, Oconomowoc (5-3, 5-1) can prevent visiting Wisconsin Lutheran (6-2, 6-0) from taking sole possession of the league championship with a victory.


All games in the listings below are scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. Wednesday unless otherwise noted. A team's overall record is listed first in parentheses, followed by conference record where applicable.

Washington (1-7, 1-6) vs. Bay View (4-3, 4-3) at South Stadium, 4:30 p.m. Wednesday
Marshall (1-7, 1-6) vs. Bradley Tech (7-1, 7-0) at South Stadium, 7:30 p.m. Wednesday
Custer (2-6, 2-5) vs. Riverside (7-1, 6-1) at Pulaski, 4:30 p.m. Wednesday
Vincent (6-1, 6-1) vs. Hamilton (6-2, 6-1) at Pulaski, 7:30 p.m. Wednesday
North (3-5, 3-4) vs. Madison (2-5, 2-5) at Custer, 7 p.m. Wednesday
King (6-2, 6-1) at South (2-6, 2-5), 7 p.m. Thursday
Onalaska (3-5) at Pulaski (0-8, 0-8), 7 p.m. Thursday (non-conference)

Catholic Memorial (6-2, 5-1) at Arrowhead (6-1, 5-1)
Kettle Moraine (4-4, 3-3) vs. Pius (2-6, 2-4) at Wisconsin Lutheran College
Waukesha South (1-7, 0-6) at Mukwonago (1-7, 1-5)
Waukesha North (3-5, 2-4) at Waukesha West (8-0, 6-0)

Sussex Hamilton (6-2, 4-2) at Brookfield Central (5-3, 3-3)
Brookfield East (3-5, 1-5) at Menomonee Falls (7-1, 5-1)
West Allis Central (4-4, 2-4) vs. Wauwatosa East (0-8, 0-6) at Hart Park
Milwaukee Marquette (8-0, 6-0) at West Allis Hale (3-5, 3-3)

North Division
Heritage Christian (6-2, 5-1) at The Hope School (3-5, 3-3), 7 p.m. Tuesday
St. John's Northwestern (4-4, 3-3) at Wayland Academy (2-5, 2-4), 3 p.m. Wednesday
Lake Country Lutheran (7-1, 5-1) at Living Word Lutheran (1-7, 0-6), 4 p.m. Wednesday
Brookfield Academy (7-1, 5-1) at Whitefish Bay Dominican (2-6, 2-4), 6:30 p.m. Wednesday
South Division
Burlington Catholic Central (7-1, 5-0) vs. Racine Lutheran (7-1, 4-1) at Horlick Field, Racine, 4:30 p.m. Wednesday
Racine St. Catherine's (3-5, 2-3) at Greendale Martin Luther (4-3, 3-2), 6:30 p.m. Wednesday
University School (4-4, 1-4) at Kenosha St. Joseph (4-4, 2-3), 6:30 p.m. Wednesday
Shorewood/Messmer (0-8) at Shoreland Lutheran (3-5, 1-5), 6:30 p.m. Wednesday (non-conference)

Homestead (8-0, 6-0) at Germantown (5-3, 3-3)
Cedarburg (7-1, 5-1) at Nicolet (1-7, 0-6)
Grafton (1-7, 1-5) at Port Washington (3-5, 2-4)
Milwaukee Lutheran (4-4, 3-3) at Whitefish Bay (5-3, 4-2)

Kenosha Tremper (5-3, 4-2) vs. Kenosha Bradford (8-0, 6-0) at Carthage College
Racine Case (0-8, 0-6) at Muskego (0-8, 0-6)
Franklin (6-2, 5-1) at Racine Horlick (2-6, 2-4)
Oak Creek (5-3, 3-3) at Racine Park (5-3, 4-2)

Waterford (8-0, 6-0) at Lake Geneva Badger (6-2, 4-2)
Burlington (4-4, 3-3) at Union Grove (5-3, 4-2)
Westosha Central (3-5, 1-5) at Wilmot (4-4, 2-4)
Delavan-Darien (4-4, 3-3) at Elkhorn (1-7, 1-5), 7 p.m. Thursday

Wisconsin Lutheran (6-2, 6-0) at Oconomowoc (5-3, 5-1)
West Bend East (0-8, 0-6) at Slinger (4-4, 3-3)
Hartford (4-4, 4-2) at West Bend West (4-4, 4-2)
Watertown (1-7, 1-5) at Beaver Dam (3-5, 1-5)

Whitnall (7-1, 6-1) at Pewaukee (8-0, 7-0)
New Berlin Eisenhower (7-1, 6-1) at Brown Deer (7-1, 6-1)
Greendale (6-2, 5-2) at Cudahy (1-7, 1-6)
Greenfield (0-8, 0-7) at New Berlin West (4-4, 4-3)
Wauwatosa West (3-5, 2-5) at St. Francis (1-7, 0-7)
South Milwaukee (4-4, 3-4) at St. Thomas More (2-6, 2-5), 7 p.m. Thursday

Art Kabelowsky Special to

Art Kabelowsky has spent 33 years in the sports writing business, the last 12 with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Art was named the Journal Sentinel's Prep Editor in July, 2000, directing its high school sports coverage until he accepted the paper's offer of a voluntary buyout last August.

A graduate of Sussex Hamilton High School and UW-Whitewater, Art has also worked for daily papers in Fort Atkinson, Racine, La Crosse and Decatur, Ill. He has been sports editor in Fort Atkinson and La Crosse.

Art spent five years as a beat reporter covering the La Crosse Catbirds of the Continental Basketball Association and has also covered a Rose Bowl, countless Green Bay Packers games and more than 25 years' worth of state high school basketball tournaments and football finals.

He lives on the northwest side and has spent the last few months volunteering as an assistant football coach at Milwaukee Riverside High School.