Athlete of the Week: State football teams

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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) - Our Osseo Automotive Athletes of the Week are from the state finalist teams in football; Bangor, St.Croix Central and Rice Lake.

For the Bangor Cardinals, this will be their 2nd trip to state in the past three years after winning the title back in 2015.

Bangor will enter their championship game with an undefeated record, as will their opponent, Black Hawk.

Both teams are also powerhouses when it comes to offense, each averaging over 50 points a game.

Cardinals senior Cade Amborn hopes their experience will help them take home another gold ball on Thursday.

"It is a different feeling this year, getting to contribute. Going to state that year really helped us and I think we are going to be a litte more used to it with the crowd."

Fellow senior Cado Amborn agrees and thinks his team has has improved since week one.

"I feel like it has helped out the experience. The preparation on turf, we have been in an area and the field we have been on, so it should feel pretty similar.

Since week one our speed has increased, we have become more well rounded and we work real well together as a team. I think that is the reason for our success."

In Division Four, St. Croix central will attempt to make school history and win back-to-back state football championships Thursday night against Lodi.

The Panthers are now 12-1 after defeating freedom in level 4, 42-21.

While the Blue Devils sport an undefeated 13-0 record and Lodi is about a half hour away from Camp Randall Stadium, St. Croix Central senior Collin Nelson doesn't think that will factor into this state title game when they return to Madison looking to repeat...

"It's a great feeling. I mean, obviously ever since we left that field it was our goal to get back there the next year. It's been a lot of hard work for everyone on our team obviously. A lot of dedication this summer. It's a cool feeling to have it pay off and us get back there. Now we've just got one more game to finish the season."

Running Back Alex Fischer is ready for a good battle against Lodi.

"It's going to be a fight in the trenches I think. They've got a really good running back this year. They've got a pretty physical team. We're going to do our best to suffocate that run and shut them down. Make them beat us with the pass. I think if our line comes ready to play we'll be just fine."

In Division Three, Rice Lake is heading to state for the first time since 2014 when this year's seniors were freshman. The Warriors topped Notre Dame in level four after losing to them last year.

Rice Lake's best asset is their offense, scoring 147 points in their 4 playoff games,but their defense has only given up 34 points in those games.

They'll face stiff competition in undefeated New Berlin Eisenhower Friday, but Dan Hill knows his Warriors have been preparing for this since they started playing football.

"Guys that stayed with us, freshman scout players on that team were down there, made that trip and got to step onto Camp Randall. They've been talking about that ever since and trying to convince their teammates that we gotta get back there. Now, they've put themselves in that position to have a shot at that dream.

Linebacker Sam Bliese wants to take advantage of this trip to Madison.

"I've imagined this for so long and to see it actually come true now, it's going to be fantastic. I'm going to try and cherish every moment of it."

Brandon Sutton sees this game as the culmination of his team's hard work

"It's a heck of an opportunity. I'm super excited. We've been working for this for four years, to have it all come together this year, it's amazing."

2017 Football State Championships

Thursday & Friday, Nov. 16-17
Camp Randall Stadium, Madison, Wis.

Thursday, Nov. 16

Div. 7: Bangor (13-0) vs. Black Hawk (13-0) - 10 a.m.
Div. 6: Iola-Scandinavia (11-2) vs. St. Mary's Springs (13-0) - 1 p.m.
Div. 5: Amherst (12-1) vs. Lake Country Lutheran (13-0) - 4 p.m.
Div. 4: St. Croix Central (12-1) vs. Lodi (13-0) - 7 p.m.

Friday, Nov. 17

Div. 3: Rice Lake (10-2) vs. New Berlin Eisenhower (13-0) - 10 a.m.
Div. 2: Waunakee (13-0) vs. Brookfield Central (13-0) - 1 p.m.
Div. 1: Kimberly (13-0) vs. Sun Prairie (13-0) - 4 p.m.

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