High school football: Wisconsin first-round playoff predictions

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Here are some of the top high school football first-round playoff games involving teams from western Wisconsin, (* Teams listed by playoff seeds.)

No. 6 River Falls vs. No. 3 Menomonie, at University of Wisconsin-Stout, 7 p.m.

Menomonie beat River Falls 39-15 in the regular season just two weeks ago. That victory is the reason the Mustangs are hosting Friday’s game. River Falls enters the game knowing it moved the ball on the ground in the last meeting. But the Wildcats must convert drives into touchdowns, and hope they can slow the game down enough to keep the ball away from Menomonie’s suddenly potent offense. OUR PICK: Menomonie 28, River Falls 24

No. 8 Chippewa Falls (4-5) at No, 1 Hudson (8-1), 7 p.m.

Hudson had to work to edge Chippewa Falls 13-8 on Sept. 1. But Hudson’s offense clicked shortly after that game, and hasn’t slowed dow since. The Raiders are a lock to score 30-plus points on a nightly basis. Still, you cannot underestimate Chippewa Falls, which had to win its final two regular-season games to squeeze into the playoffs. OUR PICK: Hudson 31, Chippewa Falls 14

No. 5 Ellsworth (5-4) at No. 4 Baldwin-Woodville (7-2), 7 p.m.

Baldwin-Woodville blitzed Ellsworth 49-0 on Sept. 8. Baldwin-Woodville quarterback Cal Smith had a hand in six touchdowns — five through the air and one on the ground — in that game. But Smith didn’t take all the snaps as Baldwin-Woodville narrowly escaped against Amery last week. If Smith isn’t at full health, or doesn’t play altogether, against Ellsworth, the outcome of this game comes into question. OUR PICK: Baldwin-Woodville 18, Ellsworth 14

No. 7 Marshfield (4-5) at No. 2 New Richmond (8-1), 7 p.m.

New Richmond beat Marshfield 31-10 in Week 2 of the regular season. That helped set the tone for a phenomenal season for New Richmond. But can it quickly move past its Big Rivers Conference title game defeat to Hudson in time to get back up for a Marshfield team that has won three of its past four games? OUR PICK: New Richmond 21, Marshfield 14.

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