Well-tested Marathon team takes on CardinalsMarathon's record may only be 6-4 compared to Spring Valley's 8-2 but Red Raiders have been tested time and time against some of the best small school teams in Wisconsin.
SPRING VALLEY - Marathon's record may only be 6-4 compared to Spring Valley's 8-2 but Red Raiders's football team have been tested time and time against some of the best small school squads in Wisconsin.
It's why they are playing the Cardinals in Level 2 of the WIAA Division 6 playoffs Saturday at Syverson Park. Kick-off is at 3 p.m.
Last weekend the upset the top seed in the bracket, then undefeated and No. 3 ranked Athens 27-21. SV head coach Matt Ducklow says there is a reason why the Red Raiders were able win in spite of the records.
"They are in a very tough league," Ducklow said. "Week in and week out they have to face some of the best small school teams in the state and it prepares them well."
Marathon plays in the Marawood Conference which features powerhouse programs like Edgar, Stratford, Rib Lake/Prentice, and bigger schools like Tomahawk, Phillips and Chequamegon.
Marathon has good balance on offense but they lean more towards the passing side as quarterback Colin Suebert has thrown for 1,323 yards and 17 touchdowns. The Raiders' top receivers is Vince Dinkel with 48 catches for nearly 600 yards and nine TDs. Marathon spreads the receptions out as three other players have over 100 yards receiving. Marathon's top rusher is Dillon Sanchez with 123 attempts and 678 yards and nine scores. Teammate Gage Seehafer has rushed for nearly 300 yards and has six TDs. The Raiders also have a sizeable and veteran line led by 6-4, 310-pound senior Brad Bernarde, 6-0, 270-pound senior Mitchell Franke, 6-0, 285-pound senior Jacob Theilman and 6-1, 230-pound senior Christian Bielefeldt.
No. 13 ranked Spring Valley has a balanced offense too although it leans more towards the runs side as the Cardinals have three running backs with over 500 yards rushing. Quarterback Jon Newton has thrown for over 800 yards and receivers Cory Schlosser and Gabe Verges have over 200 yards receiving. But Ducklow feels the Cards will need more out of the passing game as the playoff levels get higher.
"We haven't had to throw a lot this season and but Jon (Newton) has complete the key passes when he's needed to," Ducklow said. "I don't think a great passing game i necessarily based on how many passes you throw but on the number of completions, yards and touchdown. If you only threw 10 passes but have over 100 yards and three touchdowns your team has a good passing game."
The winner will play either unbeaten No. 6 ranked Hurley or one-loss and No. 8 ranked Eau Claire Regis, who are squaring off in Hurley on Saturday.
The WIAA Level 2 Playoff Football Game between Spring Valley High School and Marathon High School will be held in Spring Valley at 3 p.m. on Saturday, October 29. Admission is $4.00 for everyone: adults, students, and children. Passes are not permitted. Tickets will be sold at the usual locations on McKay Avenue and on Foote Avenue. Correct change is appreciated. Cardinal fans are encouraged to carpool to the game to help alleviate parking issues. Limited parking will be available in the usual locations surrounding the field, in the pool parking lot, and along adjacent streets. The main parking area will be on the practice field directly north on McKay Avenue. Parking attendants will direct fans. Because the practice field will be used for parking, children will not be permitted to play there during the game. Children attending the game should plan to sit with their parents. A full concession stand will be available.