Eau Claire, Glenwood City, Somerset (WQOW) -- The high school football season wraps up later this week with the WIAA State Finals, and three schools from the area are preparing to take that trip to Madison.
Eau Claire Regis punched its ticket with a Level 4 win Friday night over Edgar. Next up, another traditional power, defending Division 6 state champ St. Mary's Springs. The Ramblers defense has recorded five shutouts, while the unbeaten Ledgers have outscored their opponents by more than 500 points. Springs quarterback Evan Henderson has thrown for more than 1,000 yards, while running back Darin Ward has more than 1,000 yards rushing.
"They're real explosive," says Regis head coach Bryant Brenner, "they've got a tough defense just like Edgar's defense was very tough, but I think their offense is a lot more explosive and they can really score very quickly. They can run the ball, they can pass the ball equally as well, they've got a great quarterback, who's a threat as a runner and as a passer, they present a lot of challenges, but this is the kind of game that our kids work for, the kids put a heck of a lot of work into this thing year-round, especially in the weight room in the off-season, and this is why, I guess, why you put in all that hard work, to play in a game of this magnitude and play against a really good team."
Regis and St. Mary's Springs kick it off at 1:00 P.M., Thursday at Camp Randall Stadium, in the Division 6 championship game.
Glenwood City is going to the state finals for the third time in school history, but for the first time since 1997. The Hilltoppers take on Potosi in the Division 7 game. The Chieftains are making their first-ever trip to Camp Randall Stadium.
"I think Potosi poses more challenges than the short week," says Glenwood City head coach Shane Strong, "because they're so diverse. They run 21 different formations. I think the key for us to be successful is to stay with our base defense, make sure we adjust correctly. We've seen every one of these formations throughout the year, but we haven't seen them all out in one game, so just adjusting correctly, mentally focused, and play our positions."
Glenwood City plays Potosi in the Division 7 title game, at 10:00 A.M., Thursday.
Somerset is back at the state finals for a second straight season. The Spartans lost a double-overtime heartbreaker to Wrightstown last year. This time around, Somerset will face Big Foot, a program that made back-to-back trips to the state finals in 2008 and '09. This Chiefs team features 2,000-yard rusher Mason Dixon.
"They're pretty talented," says Somerset head coach Bruce Larson, "they have a good receiver. The quarterback is very talented, the quarterback is their second leading rusher, so if you focus on Mason Dixon the other guys will tear you apart. You just got to your defense, play assignment football, and get the job done."
The Division 4 state title game between Somerset and Big Foot is set for 7:00 P.M., Thursday.
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