The time of the year has arrived for three high school football teams from the Lake Country where there are no more guaranteed Next Weeks.
A field of 224 teams in seven divisions will begin first round play this Friday and Saturday in the WIAA football playoffs, and three of those teams reside in the Lake Country. Lake Country Lutheran, Pewaukee and Arrowhead will open tourney play at 7 p.m. Friday.
Lake Country Lutheran (9-0) and Pewaukee (8-1) will play first-round games at home. LCL, seeded fourth, will host No. 5 seeded Dodgeland (8-1) in a Division 6 game, and No. 3 seeded Pewaukee will entertain sixth seeded Jefferson (7-2) in a Division 3 clash.
Sixth-seeded Arrowhead (5-4) will open Division 1 action on the road Friday against host Verona (8-1). Verona has the No. 3 seed.
Despite its undefeated record, Lake Country Lutheran drew the No. 4 seed in its eight-team grouping. The Lightning were one of two teams in the state to be undefeated and seeded fourth.
While the Lightning have scored in all three phases of the game, Dodgeland will provide few surprises come Friday night. The Trojans have attempted just 53 passes this season.
Dodgeland averages 31 points per game and loves to pound the football. They are led by running backs Andrew Mountin and Matt Moynihan. Mountin has carried the ball 125 times for 1,103 yards and 14 scores. He averages 8.8 yards per carry. Moynihan has 83 carries and averages 7.5 yards per attempt.
The Trojans also play solid defense, giving up just 114 points this year. In seven of their nine games they allowed nine points or less.
Lake Country Lutheran is making its ninth straight playoff appearance.
Pewaukee faces a similar challenge. Jefferson has run the ball 391 times this season and attempted just 75 passes.
The Eagles average 30 points per game and have given up just 128 tallies. Their only losses came to Brodhead/Juda (5-4) and Clinton (8-1).
Offensively, running backs Hunter Milbrath and Evan Anfang lead the way. Milbrath is averaging 6.1 yards per carry, and Anfang is gaining 6.3 yards per attempt. Milbrath leads the team with 16 touchdowns.
On defense, the Eagles have been sharp the last three games, allowing just 14 points.
Pewaukee is in the playoff field for the 12th consecutive season.
Arrowhead will play against a Verona team that is ranked ninth in the state. The Wildcats' only loss came to No. 7-ranked Sun Prairie (8-1) by a 13-9 score in the eighth game of the season. Verona tied Sun Prairie for the championship in the highly competitive Big Eight Conference.
The Wildcats are averaging 28.8 points per game and have allowed just 10 points per start. They have 17 rushing touchdowns and 13 passing.
Quarterback Max Fink has completed 71 of 141 passes this season, and Drew King is the team's top rusher with 833 yards on 132 carries. He has 91 more rushing attempts than any of his teammates. In the air, seven players have caught touchdown passes.
AHS is making its 21st consecutive playoff appearance and 25th in the last 26 seasons.