It's on to Level 3 with the high school football playoffs.
#4 Slinger (8-3) travels to #2 Sun Prairie East (9-2) Friday, November 3. It's the third straight playoff home game for the Cardinals.
Bill Jacklin took over as the Owls' head football coach 13 years ago, and has certainly established a positive culture within the program, which includes an expectation of making the playoffs.
"When I took over, I told our coaches on the first day that it has to be an expectation every season to make the playoffs. We had made it once in six years, and that had to change. It's what we strive for and what we train for. I feel we're in a good spot with that, and it's our culture with the football program."
Jacklin's teams have earned two Level 3 appearances since he stepped in as head coach. Slinger lost to Waunakee, 17-10 in 2014 and in 2018, Homestead beat the Owls, 42-12.
Two years ago, the Cardinals' season ended with a 38-17 loss in Madison. They played in the Division I State Championship game at Camp Randall Stadium against Franklin. Kettle Moraine defeated Sun Prairie East last season, 27-6 in Level 3.
Senior quarterback Drew Kavanaugh leads Sun Prairie with 2,185 yards passing with 33 touchdowns. He can also run with the ball, and has six rushing touchdowns.
"Drew played tight end for us last season," said Cardinals' head coach Brian Kaminski. "He continues to get better, and has had a phenomenal season. He is doing a great job."
Sophomore running back Brady Kaufman leads the team with 1,095 yards rushing and nine touchdowns.
Slinger's impressive 52-25 Level 2 win over Germantown says a lot about how far they've come offensively, according to Jacklin.
"We have to run the ball. We struggled toward the end of the season with our running game, but we're getting much better...we're showing a lot of toughness and consistency with running the ball."
The Owls finished with 209 rushing yards as a team, with three touchdowns against the Warhawks. They also produced 157 yards passing with two touchdowns.
"Sun Prairie East has an explosive offense, they are talented," according to Jacklin. "Our offense has to keep the ball, and put together drives of 10 to 12 plays. The way we run the ball will be key for us Friday night."
Slinger's junior quarterback Michael Thiede is completing 58 percent of his passes, for 1,628 yards and 20 touchdowns. Two running backs have been solid for the Owls, including senior Jack Klippel. He has rushed for 695 yards and six touchdowns, while junior Kaleb Burkel has 603 rushing yards and five touchdowns. Senior Mark Leidel has been a sure-handed receiver, with 52 receptions for 812 yards and 11 touchdowns.
Slinger's talented middle linebacker Braydon Hayes leads the team with 101 tackles, 12 tackles for loss and two and a half sacks.
Kickoff is scheduled for 7:00.