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Week 7 Predictions

October 7, 2009

Chippewa Falls @ Superior

In Week 2 this season, everyone was talking about the Spartans getting their fourth shot at D.C. Everest after close losses of two and three points in the 2008 season. The Spartans were taken down once again by two points as they fell to 0-2 on the season. There is another series with the Spartans that has produced two close finishes over the past two years. Chippewa Falls spoiled the Spartans homecoming in 2007 after a late missed extra point by Superior and last year in one of the most exciting games of the season, Chippewa pulled out another one point victory 28-27 at Dorais Field. A blocked extra point in overtime (by yours truly) was nullified by a running into the snapper penalty and Collin Schindler was able to boot it through the uprights to keep their undefeated conference run alive.

Fast forward to this season and both these teams are needing this victory badly to keep pace with Menomonie, Hudson and Eau Claire Memorial for the BRC title. Chi-Hi looked impressive last week in their 30-0 drubbing of Eau Claire North while the Spartans fell to the overlooked Memorial Old Abes 25-7. If Chippewa can control the game on the ground with Brad Heumpfner I don’t think Superior’s defense is good enough to keep him under 150 yards and three touchdowns. That spells problems for Superior because everyone knows that they still have not scored more than 14 points in a game this season. The Spartans haven’t been getting enough production out of NDSU-bound Zach Colvin and the offensive line isn’t giving quarterback Kellen McCoshen enough time in the pocket. The Spartans need to find their offense before they try to make another playoff run or else it could be one and done for the third time in as many seasons.

A win for Chippewa means the playoffs, a loss for Superior means they need to win their last two to make the playoffs. I’m taking Chippewa as Coach Raykovich feeds the ball to Heumpfner 30+ times in this one, leading the Cardinals to their fifth consecutive playoff appearance.

Chippewa Falls 28  Superior 14

Players to Watch:  Matt Leis TE Chippewa Falls
Ethan Taylor LB Superior

River Falls @ Eau Claire North

Is Eau Claire North going to win their last three games and make the playoffs? Probably not. Do they have a shot to hand River Falls their fifth consecutive loss.

Definitely.

North’s two weaknesses. Their offense can’t run the ball. Their defense can’t stop the run. I believe that if the Huskies can make one of those weaknesses a strength in this game, they can beat the Wildcats. I think it will come on the defensive side of the ball as the Wildcats running game hasn’t been putting up huge numbers as of late. Oscar White led the team in rushing with only 52 yards last week against Hudson and fullback Ben Wunrow has been a non-factor in the last three games for River Falls.

Another key to success for North will be quarterback Brett Bodenburg hooking up with Tyler Sonsalla and Austin Reider down the field. I don’t think Bodenburg can go for 300 yards again like he did against Rice Lake but I think he will need to throw for at least 200 and two touchdowns if the Huskies are going to win this one.

The X-Factor in this game for River Falls is 6’4” 220 lb. Zach Pavlichek. It seems like every game he has had the ball in his hand near the end but he is yet to have a breakout game. River Falls Coach John Bennett has received scrutiny for his decisions this season and he needs to make up for it by getting the ball to Pavlichek and WR Ricky Troester in this one. It could be a shootout and that’s why I’m taking North.

Eau Claire North 28  River Falls 27

Players to Watch:  Zach Pavlichek TE/LB River Falls
Tyler Sonsalla WR/DB Eau Claire North

Eau Claire Memorial @ Rice Lake

The best chance for Memorial to make the playoffs comes this week with their showdown at Pug Lund. Memorial has been clicking on all cylinders and they will need to be prepared for a Rice Lake team that is loaded with seniors that already know they aren’t making the playoffs. Over the past three seasons that the Warriors haven’t made the playoffs, they have won at least one of their remaining games after being eliminated from playoff contention. The Warriors will try and make it four years in a row as they are looking for a huge home victory to salvage their season and break a four game losing streak.

The Old Abes put up big numbers last week in their homecoming victory over Superior amassing 350 yards of total offense. Running backs Bobby Nyland and Ricky Caldwell are becoming a thunder and lightning tandem out of the backfield and quarterback Zac Mestelle has been slinging the rock to the likes of Kal Herzog, Pat Hince and John Shook. The defense has played well also, allowing a total of nine points in their last two games. The Old Abes will need to win this game on defense. They are facing a wishbone attack that has been averaging over 200 yards and 19 points a game.

Rice Lake in turn will need to rely on their secondary to come up big in this game. The Warriors were torched for 300+ yards in their loss to North earlier this year and they will need to defend the improved passing attack of Memorial. Senior Trae Coleman leads the Rice Lake secondary and should be matched up on Herzog in this one. The Warriors had two one hundred yard rushers last week in Nick Pederson and Chris Ester and they will need similar numbers out of the backfield to help control time of possession and keep ECM’s offense off the field.

Rice Lake will give Memorial a run for their money in this one but I think the Old Abes are too motivated and on too much of a run to let the playoffs slip away this week.

Eau Claire Memorial 21  Rice Lake 14

Players to Watch:  Avery Sega LB Eau Claire Memorial
Cole Westphal FB Rice Lake

Menomonie @ Hudson

Two weeks ago I said that it was best offense vs. best defense in the Menomonie and Superior game. I was wrong. Hudson has the best defense in the conference and they are proving it week in and week out with safeties, interceptions and last week, a deflected pass by Hudson defensive back Mike Bennett to secure a victory over River Falls. Menomonie put up over 30 points last week for the third time this season while Hudson shut down River Falls for their third game allowing less than ten points this season.

Menomonie just keeps rolling and they are doing it in different ways each week. In the beginning of the year they utilized the passing attack to beat opponents, now Coach Labuda is going with more of a balanced attack that has showcased running back Brady Benn over the past two weeks. The best field general in the conference, Kasey Kruse, will be at it again this week as he tries to dissect the Hudson defense. I think Menomonie’s offense can score some points on Hudson but it will be their defense that will be relied on to shut down the spread option attack of Hudson. Forrest Dupree has added his name to the long list of top-notch linebackers in the conference this year. He will need to have a big game in order to account for Menomonie’s smaller defensive line taking on the behemoths of the Hudson O-Line.

Three weeks ago, Hudson used their home field advantage to their advantage and upset Chippewa Falls 19-14. They are going to need everyone in Hudson to get out on Thursday and cheer on the Raiders for them to take down the Indians. Their defense should be able to keep tabs on Kasey Kruse but they won’t be able to shut him down. The Raiders need their biggest offensive game to beat the Indians. Last year’s leading rusher, Andy Edholm hasn’t rush for over 100 yards yet this season and is due for a breakout game. The quarterback tandem of Beau Hommes and Davy Branson should work in the running game but one of them will need to emerge as a passer this week and get the ball to Zach Beinlich and the other Raider weapons through the air.

I know they say defense wins championships but that’s not the case in the BRC this year. Menomonie wins this game and moves one step closer to clinching their first BRC title since 2006.

Menomonie 17  Hudson 10

Players to Watch:  Forrest Dupree LB Menomonie
Andy Edholm FB Hudson

Dan Tracy

BRCFootball.com

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