The WIAA football post-season gets underway this weekend with action around the state. Several local teams including Eau Claire Memorial will play in Level 1, the Old Abes punched their ticket for the post-season with a victory over Eau Claire North last week, earning them a second chance to play Big Rivers champion Hudson.
The Old Abes will be hoping to avoid the 21-nothing first quarter hole they faced against Hudson when the two teams met back in mid-September. Memorial coach Paul Kling says his team must find a way to stay close early and control the tempo. Kling says, "We know what's at stake and we know where they're at as a level in terms of their ability. Again, we want to control the tempo of the game, we want to control what we can do, that's what we have, that's our attitude right now."
For Eau Claire Regis, the Ramblers completed a perfect regular season with a hard fought win over Stanley-Boyd last week, coach Bryant Brenner's team will play Flambeau in a Division 6, Level 1 game at Carson Park Friday night. Brenner says last Friday's win over the Orioles was great preparation for the post-season. Brenner says, "One thing it taught us is that if we're ever down in a game, we just gotta continue to fight, keep going, and you know we can draw on that experience with Stanley eventually momentum will swing back in our favor and we gotta take advantage of it."
As for Stanley-Boyd, despite their second place finish in the Cloverbelt, coach Jeff Koenig's Orioles were given a four-seed in Division 5, their reward, a first round date with the defending state champ Colby. Stanley-Boyd beat the Hornets 23-10 earlier this season.
Koenig says, "Four seed is something we weren't really happy about but it's just something we have to deal with. We talk about it all the time, it doesn't matter how good we are, we have to beat everybody if we want to make it through the playoffs and it's a little bit of a motivation factor for them."
Finally in Division 2, Menomonie will open the playoffs tomorrow night at home against La Crosse Logan, coach Joe La Buda's Mustangs must overcome injuries to key players including all-state linebacker and tight end, James Gates. La Buda says, "We have a lot of guys out, you know a lot of injured players, a lot of guys out so we're going to have to have some guys step up, we're pretty shorthanded right now."