GAMES TO WATCH (7 p.m. kickoff unless noted)
MVC Holmen (2-5, 2-3) at Logan (2-5, 1-4)
MVC SERIES: The series is tied at 16 wins apiece after the Vikings beat the Rangers for a third time in a row last spring.
NOTEWORTHY: Holmen—The Vikings need to get past the turnover issues — they have 23 — that have hindered them this season in order to earn their 12th straight postseason opportunity. They also need a healthy Luke LeClaire to play QB after he was injured in last week’s loss to Central. ... LeClaire’s 724 rushing yards and 11 TDs lead Holmen, but FB Breken Turner (94-524, 5 TDs) has been another good option, especially in recent weeks. ... Reid Tengblad finished last week’s game at QB and had a long run to set up a short TD for Turner late ni the game; Logan—The Rangers have to win twice to get themselves into the playoff conversation if teams with 3-4 conference records are considered. ... They also have to get past a recent string of COVID-19 issues and get their best team on the field. ... Logan did beat Tomah 36-8 last week behind a big game from QB Josh Waite (62-for-107-860 yards, 7 TDs-5 INTs), who passed for 197 yards and 3 TDs. ... TE Scott Grossbach caught 3 passes for 118 yards and a TD against the Timberwolves. ... Logan getting back players like Eli Reynolds (96 carries-427 yards, 3 TDs) and DL Martell Owens (11 TFLs) back on the field will help.
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Central (5-2, 3-2) at Sparta (3-4, 2-3) MVC SERIES: The RiverHawks lead the Spartans 25-7, but Sparta won in 2018 and 2019 before the teams didn’t match up in the spring.
NOTEWORTHY: Central—The RiverHawks put together a very strong performance in beating Holmen 42-28 last week. ... Senior QB Mason Herlitzke (1,103 passing yards, 15 TDs; 507 rushing yards, 7 TDs) played a solid game with 3 passing TDs and 2 rushing TDs. ... His biggest players are made by either running the ball — he had a 60-yard TD run last week — or by throwing a pass to senior Jackson Warren (21-504, 8 TDs), who averages 24 yards per reception; Sparta—The Spartans have hit a touch stretch after winning three straight games earlier this season. ... Sparta has been outscored 103-27 in its past three games, including a 28-0 loss to Onalaska last week. ... Senior RB Nick Kent (109-617, 7 TDs) and QB Thomas Laufenberg (48-79-881, 11 TDs-5 INTs) are the top offensive threats. ... The Spartans have allowed 16 rushing TDs.
River Falls (5-3, 5-0) at Onalaska (4-3, 3-2)
MVC SERIES: These teams have never played in this conference together.
NOTEWORTHY: River Falls—The Wildcats have swept right through their new — and temporary — conference competition with their closest MVC win a 35-20 decision over Holmen and wins in five of their past six games. ... QB Vito Massa (56-108-1,051, 16 TDs-4 INTs) is 11 for 31 for 141 yards, 2 TDs and 3 INTs in the past two. ... The Wildcats have instead leaned on RB Cole Evavold (144-867, 8 TDs), who has rushed for 551 yards and 5 TDs in the past three. ... River Falls allows 65 passing yards per game; Onalaska—The Hilltoppers have to challenge the Wildcats through the air with WRs like Nick Odom (49-538, 6 TDs) and Michael Skemp (31-444, 6 TDs) around. ... Onalaska’s rushing game has also received a recent boost from sophomore Brady Kuhn (45-322, 2 TDs) the past three weeks. ... Onalaska’s defense has legitimate challenges with Massa, Evavold and 6-5 TE Ethan Campbell (13-217, 6 TDs).
Tomah (0-7, 0-4) at West Salem (5-1, 4-1)
MVC SERIES: The Panthers lead 4-2 but the Timberwolves prevailed 21-7 the last time they met in 2019.
NOTEWORTHY: Tomah—The Timberwolves have struggled mightily, and they will have to put it all together to stop that from happening again against a team with West Salem’s defense. ... Tomah needs to get the ball to WR Drew Brookman (22-494, 7 TDs), and QB Tom Hesse (56-141-734, 8 TDs-12 INTs) has to keep the ball out of West Salem’s hands; Aquinas—The Panthers want to get back on track after a 41-7 loss at River Falls last week. ... QB Brett McConkey 803 passing yards, 5 TDs; 365 rushing yards, 8 TDs) is the key to getting things rolling.
Scenic Bluffs Necedah (5-2, 2-2) at Onalaska Luther (4-3, 3-2), 7:15 p.m.
NOTEWORTHY: Necedah—The Cardinals have an effective QB in Landen Murphy (63-99-1,073, 13 TDs-3 INTs), who likes throwing to WR Josiah Hansen (24-463, 6 TDs) and RB Mehki Baradji (22-364, 4 TDs). ... Baradji has also rushed for 657 yards and 8 TDs after rushing for 3 scores in last week’s win over Boscobel; Luther—The Knights pulled off the stunner last week by ending Bangor’s 45-game conference winning streak. ... Luther QB Dillon Yang (733 pasing yards, 7 TDs; 719 rushing yards, 7 TDs) ran for 118 yards and passed for 95 against the Cardinals, who are trying to win their second game in a row for the first time this season.
— Todd Sommerfeldt