The Sun Prairie football team poses after a 26-21 win over Middleton Friday, Oct. 8.

With last week’s 26-21 win over Middleton, Sun Prairie has already claimed a share of the Big Eight conference title. With expectations high for a big playoff run, it’s going to be important for the Cardinals not to overlook their final regular season opponent, Verona.

The Wildcats enter this week’s matchup with a 6-2 record. Both losses have come in conference play against Madison Memorial (9-24) and Middleton (0-30). Both are teams that Sun Prairie has beaten. The Cardinals thumped Memorial, 50-7, and squeaked by Middleton, 26-21, last week.

While Verona does have a few blemishes on its conference record, it is no slouch. The Wildcats thumped conference opponents like Beloit Memorial, La Follette, and West by an average of 38 points.

Verona runs a very balanced offensive attack. In the passing game, the Wildcats are led by senior Mason Fink. Also a baseball player, the 5’11” signal caller can put some zip on the ball. He’s thrown for 1,003 yards this season, completing 55% of his passes for 14 touchdowns with six interceptions.

Fink has had two favorite targets this season: seniors Cole Jannusch and Karson Mitchell. Jannusch has caught 22 passes for 397 yards and eight scores while Mitchell has turned 20 receptions into 278 yards and four touchdowns. Both are formidable options and the Sun Prairie defensive backfield will have to be sharp.

The Wildcats lean on senior Kyle Krantz in the run game. He’s carried 76 times for 565 yards (an average of 7.4 yards per carry) and six touchdowns. His contributions made Verona a threat both through the air and the ground. Winning this game, as always, will come down to the level of performance from Sun Prairie’s defensive line.

Verona is a much more formidable opponent than the average Big Eight foe Sun Prairie has faced this season. Sure, a share of the Big Eight title is in the bag, but a win here would win it outright for the Cardinals. It is yet to be seen if they will bring their A-game and take care of business, or if the tantalizing idea of the impending playoffs will serve as too much of a distraction, causing a slip.

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