By RICK SOLEM
It’s just the second round, but there doesn’t appear to be any free pass for Logan High School’s football team.
Top-seeded Logan’s opponent in the WIAA Division 3 playoffs at 7 p.m. tonight at Swanson Field looks tough.
Don’t let the No. 4 seed fool you. New Richmond (8-2) can move the ball and play defense. Offensively, the Tigers may even be a little more dynamic than the Rangers (10-0), though the most dynamic player still belongs to the home team.
While the 11th-ranked Rangers depend a ton on halfback Kyle Bakalars, the Tigers have a two-headed monster in the backfield and it’s anybody’s guess who gets the ball. Sam Altena and Jake Singerhouse each have just over 130 carries and both have 11 touchdowns.
Adding to this offense, New Richmond quarterback Brady Maus has thrown for 1,289 yards and 12 touchdowns. The 5-foot-8 junior is 85-for-149 on the season (57 percent) and has six interceptions.
The Rangers don’t do much in the passing game, but are efficient on the ground. Bakalars also has 130 carries, but way more yards (1,264 with 11 TDs) than either of New Richmond’s backs. Teammate Aric Elmore, the most dynamic player on the field, is just as efficient with the ball. He’s rushed 79 times for 767 yards and 8 TDs. Both have an impressive 9.7-yard average.
Defensively, the two teams are close. New Richmond gives up 15 points to Logan’s 8. Against the run, Logan has given up 1,081 yards and six touchdowns to New Richmond’s 997 and 12.
The two teams share a common opponent: West Salem. New Richmond defeated the Panthers 41-21 last round. A week after the 3-0 win over Holmen, the Rangers beat West Salem 29-14. Logan was up 29-7 with 4:34 to go in the fourth quarter in that one.
The Tigers have two losses – Rice Lake (7-3) and Somerset (10-0). Rice Lake had no problems with New Richmond, winning 45-10 in Week 2. Unbeaten Somerset, however, squeaked by the Tigers 34-27 on Sept. 26.
No. 3 BLACK RIVER FALLS (9-1) at No. 2 ST. CROIX CENTRAL (9-0)
These two teams are nearly identical in points for and against. The difference, St. Croix Central depends quite a bit on the rushing attack, while BRF appears to be the more complete offense. Trenten Smith and Cody Gostovich have 22 rushing TDs between them for 10th-ranked St. Croix, but it’s Ryan Gulich and his 13.7 yards per carry that could break the game open. BRF’s Jack Roou-to-Matt LaFaunge combination has been deadly this season. They’ve hooked up nine times. Rushing, BRF is led by Ryan Millis (if the wissports.net stats are correct) and his 861 yards (8.5 avg.) and 7 TDs. St. Croix averages 39.8 points a game and gives up 15. BRF averages 33.6 and gives up 13.3.
No. 5 AUBURNDALE (7-2) at No. 1 ARCADIA (1-0)
Auburndale shut out Westby 20-0 in Round 1. Fifth-ranked Arcadia had no problems with Westby Oct. 10, winning 41-10. Arcadia, however, hasn’t really had problems with anyone this season – it was up 31-12 late in the fourth quarter in a 31-24 win over Lancaster. The Raiders average 46 points and give up just 6 a game. They’ve held opponents to 7 or less in seven games, including five shutouts. Auburndale has a pair of shutouts, but has also put up a doughnut, itself – 27-0 to unbeaten and third-ranked Edgar.
No. 3 INDEPENDENCE/GILMANTON (7-3) at No. 2 ROSHOLT (7-3)
The first round of the playoffs was couldn’t have been any different for these teams. I/G needed a blocked extra point to get by Melrose-Mindoro, 14-13. Austen Whitwam was the hero in that game. Not just for his 214 yards rushing, including TD runs of 38 and 64 yards. Whitwam was the one that blocked that extra point. Rosholt, on the other hand, was up 42-8 at halftime before beating Cochrane-Fountain City 42-30. I/G beat CFC 41-19 on Sept. 19.
No. 5 NEW LISBON (7-3) at No. 1 BANGOR (10-0)
These two teams met Sept. 12. Bangor won 24-6. New Lisbon will pound it with RB Marshal Toelle and his 1,241 yards (5.3 avg.) and 8 TDs. QB Zach Martin has thrown for 852 yards, but just 6 TDs and 7 INTs. Kyle Woodward may be the team’s best player. Half Martin’s passing yards and all but one of those TDs has gone to him. He’s also run for 538 yards (6.6) and 7 TDs. Ninth-ranked Bangor runs it and runs it some more. Three times over, actually. Andrew Piske has 1,563 yards, 26 TDs. Seth Zabel has 873 yards 9 TDs. And Jack Reader has 771 yards, 8 TDs. No question what they’re going to do, just who is going to do it.
No. 3 HILLSBORO (7-3) at No. 2 PEPIN/ALMA (10-0)
Tommy Crandall and Warren Paulson are the Hillsboro offense. Crandall has 848 yards (10.1 avg.) and 13 TDs rushing, while Paulson has 768 (6.7) and 12. Twelfth-ranked P/A is much in the same. Trevor Heit has 955 yards (8.2 avg.) and 17 TDs, while teammate Lance Johnson has 857 yards (6.7) and 12 TDs. Sam Mueller can throw it, too, however. He has 1,058 yards (64%) with 11 TDs and 6 INTs.