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Prescott, EPC play Level 1 playoff games Saturday

The Prescott and Elmwood/Plum City football teams will represent Pierce County in the WIAA football play which begins this weekend.

Kiick-offs for both teams' games will be at 2 p.m. Prescott is at Cumberland and the EPC-Alma/Pepin contest will be in Alma.

Prescott, 5-3 overall, will be at Cumberland, the champs of the Heart O' North Conference, in Division 5. The Beavers have a 7-1 record and are led in rushing by Zach Nyhus, a 5-8, 180-pound junior who has gained 851 yards on 111 carries with six touchdowns. Cumberland quarterback Kyle Narges has thrown for over 900 yards this season, completing 51 of 73 passes with 12 TDs and only one interception. The 6-0, 165-pound senior has a quarterback rating of 146.6. The Beavers spread the ball around when it comes to receivers and have three with over 200 yards in catches. Leading the way is Travis Miller, a 5-10, 160-pound sophomore with 15 catches for 290 yards and four touchdowns. Nyhus has also caught 17 passes for 240 yards.

Cumberland likes to do most of its damage in the second and third quarters. The Beavers have outscored opponents 106-46 in the second and 75-25 in the third. In terms of common opponents, both teams beat Barron, with Prescott topping the Golden Bears in their season opener 27-22 while Cumberland won 14-6. This is Cumberland's ninth playoff berth since 1998. They last played against Prescott in the playoffs back in 2000 where PHS won 33-20 on its way to the state finals that season. Prescott is playing in its seventh playoff contest, it's last being in 2005.

EPC, 3-5 overall, is facing a quite familiar foe in Alma/Pepin in its first ever playoff appearance. The Eagles are 7-1, Lakeland South runner-ups and playing in its fourth straight playoff appearance since becoming a co-op in 2009, although they have not made it past Level 1 yet.

The Eagles are led by senior, 6-0, 175-pound running back Ryan Erickson, who has over a thousand yards rushing and 12 touchdowns. Senior quarterback Cole Carroll has thrown for over 900 yards and nine touchdowns and A/P's top receivers are Brody Olson, John Nuzum and Justin Pearson, all with over 100 yards in receptions. Olson has 350 yards receiving with five touchdowns.

For EPC to avenge a 35-26 loss to the Eagles in the regular season they need to avoid giving up big plays, like the 55-yard fumble recovery run Carroll scored on for the game's first TD or the 40-yard run for a score which sealed the win in the fourth quarter.

Level 2 games are next Saturday. Prescott would get either Grantsburg or Elk Mound while EPC will play either Frederic or Clear Lake.