Back in my high school days, my beloved Xavier Hawks used to play in a league that was mostly other Catholic high schools. There were some long road trips as a result - Marinette Catholic Central was up on the Michigan border, 90 minutes away, but the rivalries were fun. That's over now and Xavier now plays schools from smaller towns in the area. Like this week's opponent, Omro. (Word to the wise -- if you click the link, you'll get blasted with an annoying civic jingle. Don't do it. I'm serious. You've been warned.) Omro is an innocuous little town on the Upper Fox River, west of Oshkosh somewhere. I'm sure that everyone in Omro is lovely. And that's the problem. Rivalries are what make high school sports fun. There was always a special glow when a Xavier squad dispatched one of the hegemonic Green Bay schools, or the satisfaction of keeping our boot on the throat of Oshkosh Lourdes. That's all gone now. Now we have Omro. It's not the same.
Xavier Hawks 34, Hated Omro Fighting Foxes 10. No history here. But Xavier will beat them. They might beat them worse if they pretend that Omro is Lourdes. Just sayin'.
ACTUAL RESULT: XAVIER 33, OMRO 0. Easy stuff. Now the playoffs begin and it gets tough right out of the box - Xavier gets the #1 seed in their bracket in the first game, mysterious Wautoma. Game is on Tuesday at Wautoma. If Xavier makes an early exit, we'll pick up the trail with my brother Stinger's alma mater, the mighty Kimberly Papermakers.
Mounds View Mustangs 41, Stillwater Ponies 14. Meanwhile, back in Minnesota, our Mustangs have a rematch with a team they crushed earlier in the season. And they'll crush 'em again.
ACTUAL RESULT: MOUNDS VIEW 21, STILLWATER 7. Next up for the Mustangs, it's resurgent Roseville, which followed up its upset over our beloved Irondale Knights by knocking off White Bear Lake (Go Bears). Good for Roseville, I suppose.
Washburn Millers 41, Simley Spartans 27. This is a step up in class for the Millers, who dispatched Holy Angels pretty easily on Tuesday. Simley is a mid-level team in a good league that has some larger schools, so they are battle-tested. But this is a very good Millers team and they carry the hopes of the City with them. For at least this week, they should hold up the banner.
ACTUAL RESULT: SIMLEY 21, WASHBURN 14. Give Simley the nod - they really played fine defense, especially in the second half, and used their size to wear down the Millers. Another nice season for the Millers.
Lawrence Vikings 17, Beloit Bucs 10. I'm a proud Beloit alum, but I do have a spot in my heart for the Larrys, since the school is in Appleton. There was a time when Lawrence was a small school powerhouse, but that time has long past. Since the game is up in Appleton, favor the homestanding Vikings.
ACTUAL RESULT: BELOIT 21, LAWRENCE 6. Good win for the Bucs on the road. Next week it's nasty ol' St. Norbert, league scourge.
Illinois Fighting Obamas 31, Don Morton Nation 24. My beloved Badgers are again putting the BAD in Badgers -- last week's loss at Iowa City was highly alarming. The Illini are an erratic bunch and the game is in Madison, but that doesn't seem to matter so much right now. Hope I'm wrong, but I suspect I'm not.
ACTUAL RESULT: WISCONSIN 27, ILLINOIS 17. A potentially season-salvaging game for Bucky. And I managed to offend Mr. Stover in yet another way. That's what you get for being a Cubs/Cowboys/Illini guy, Dan -- that's a pretty tough parlay.
Minnesota Golden Gophers 27, Purdon't Boilermakers 17. The Boilers are down this year, so this is a good opportunity for the Gophers to assert themselves as an actual factor in the Big 10. The guess here is that they will.
ACTUAL RESULT: GOPHERS 17, PURDUE 6. You know what's really strange about the Gophers? They play defense. I've lived here for 16 years and the Gophers never play defense. A nice road win. Next up -- puzzling Northwestern.
Our pro teams are on bye, so no NFL this time!