Sports Express - Level 4 Playoffs Preview - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Sports Express - Level 4 Playoffs Preview

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Division 5

Amherst (11-1) vs. Stanley-Boyd (12-0), 7PM at Stiehm Stadium in Weston

The Falcons seek a return to trip to Madison after defeating Stratford in a Level 3 re-match last week. The defending Division 5 champions will have to take down unbeaten Stanley-Boyd to get to the title game. The Orioles are the Cloverbelt champions but haven't been to the state championship since making back-to-back trips in 1995-96.

Stanley-Boyd had an impressive Level 3 win last week over Bloomer and head coach Jeff Koenig says his team will be ready for the challenge.

"They're a great football team," Koenig says, "They already played Colby and knocked them off pretty soundly and they're just a great football team. We just have to play good fundamentals, good technique, and just try to play fast like we were able to the last couple weeks to really try to play our game."

Amherst head coach Mark Lusic admits that he didn't think the Falcons would make it this far back in August. Last year's squad was led by dual-threat QB Chris Zblewski until he suffered an injury before the title game. This year, the Falcons have found another dual-threat leader in Garrett Groshek. The sophomore has passed for 905 yards, targeting his brother, Garth, for 365 of those yards, and rushed for 1246 yards. The only player with more productivity on the ground is Chris's younger brother, Connor, who has 1343 yards to his name.

"I knew in August when we were looking at ourselves that we had a long, long way to go," Lusic said. "The kids get all the credit. We were not a level four team in August, I can tell you right now. Last year I think we were, this year we were not and the kids have come a long way."

Lusic has told his team that this is an opportunity not to take for granted.

 

Division 7

Pittsville (9-3) vs. Glenwood City (11-1), 7PM at Dorais Field, Chippewa Falls

The Panthers are playing in their first state semifinal game since 1990 and are in the midst of an eight-game winning streak. Glenwood City is the defending Division 7 champion, making the state semifinals after a 30-8 win over Pepin/Alma in Level 3.

One thing in Glenwood City's favor, the Hilltoppers know how to prepare for a game like this.

"You know, they have the experience in these big playoff games," says Glenwood City head coach Shane Strong, "and when things were down a little bit in the Owen-Withee game and early on in the Pepin/Alma game, they were able to rally around each other because they had been in that situation before. So it has really helped us."

Pittsville's three losses came against the trio of Marawood co-champions—Edgar, Stratford and Marathon. Panthers' head coach Dan Hahn says that those tough games helped prepare them to be a championship-contending team.

"We're seasoned ready, battle ready. We've been playing the best over the last 12 weeks. We've been playing the Marawood one of the tougher conferences in Central Wisconsin for the small schools. We're battle-tested and ready to go."

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