Two of the new members of the Campbell Conference Class D will meet for the division’s first place when Madison plays at Wells Friday night.

“This is probably one of the games of the week in the state, so there’s going to be a lot of hype,” Madison coach Scott Franzose said.

Both teams enjoyed successful seasons in Class C last year. Wells won the state championship, while Madison won seven games in the Class C North Big Ten Conference. Now, each team is 3-0 in Class D South, and each quickly established itself as a contender. Averaging 49 points per game, Madison is the highest scoring team in Class D, and only Class A Bonny Eagle has scored more points. Wells, on the other hand, has allowed a single touchdown all season, and is as good a defensive team the Bulldogs will face.

Here’s a look at the Madison-Wells matchup:

Where: Warrior Memorial Field, Wells

When: 7 tonight

Madison coach Scott Franzose on Wells: “I don’t think I’m going to tell you anything that most people don’t know. We’re new to the conference, but I’ve always been familiar with Wells. You look at these guys, they’re all upper classmen, maybe some first year starters. These are experienced guys, but the thing they do well is, they run that wing-T.”

Wells coach Tim Roche on Madison: “They’re fast. Both their quarterback (Evan Bess) and running back (Sean Whalen) are fast. I’m amazed by them because they don’t come off the field. Offense, defense, special teams. They’re always on the field.”

Three keys for Madison:

• Back to the future.

While Wells is a new opponent for the Bulldogs, Franzose sees familarities in the Warriors with a team Madison got to know quite well over the last few years, Winslow.

“They were one of those teams, very simialr to Wells, that they do what they do, and they do it very well. They always seem to have the athletes to do it,” Franzose said. “You look at Winslow, they would outformation you to death, but they had three or four plays to run. Trap, stretch, belly, and Wells is the same way… We’ve got to make sure we’re mentally sound.”

Like Winslow, Wells’ offense is built around the wing-T formation. In playing defense this week, the Bulldogs should think back to what worked when they defeated Winslow in the regular season last year.

• Mix it up.

To counter Wells’ strong running game, Madison wants to show different looks on defense and make it difficult for the Warriors to establish a rhythm.

“Defensively, I think we’re doing a tremendous job acoss the board. Being able to move fronts, that’s something we’re going to be able to have to do to stop what wing-T does well,” Franzose said. “We’ve to make sure we’re forcing the line of scrimmage and not giving those big guys room to run.”

• Special teams

Whalen is a strong kick and punt returner. He had returns for touchdowns in each of the first two games. Whalen doesn’t need to take a kick or punt back for a score, but if he and the Bulldogs are able to have long returns and shorten the field against Wells’ tough defense, they’ll be in good shape.

“Physically, they have some athletes. I like the way we match up. I think our speed can give them problems,” Franzose said.

Three keys for Wells:

• Potter’s field.

The Warriors have a deep group of running backs, but fullback Nolan Potter has the most potential to be the game breaker, in that he can wear down most defenses. Potter has seven touchdowns this season, and is complimented by running backs Tyler Bridge and Chad Fitzpatrick, as well as quarterback Michael Wrigley.

• Line play.

Roche said he’s looking for more consistent play from the offensive line. Since the Warriors average more than 30 points per game now, improved line play is a scary propostion for Wells opponents.

“Our skill kids are great. If we can finally get the line in tune, I think we can be pretty good,” Roche said.

• More physical football.

Physical is the first word almost everybody uses when describing the Warriors style of play. That has to continue against Madison. Whalen, Wescott, and Bess are elusive runners who typically break tackles. Wells dan’t give the Bulldogs extra yards.

“We just have to be disciplined and physical. We’ve got some kids who are going to pop you. We have to continue to do that. We want to be a great tackling team,” Roche said.

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

[email protected]

Twitter: @TLazarczykMTM

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