Cole Kresken scored six touchdowns last week, including an 84-yard pick six to complement five rushing scores. What will be Kresken's encore Friday night? (Mike Ramczyk/Standard Press)

Cole Kresken scored six touchdowns last week, including an 84-yard pick six to complement five rushing scores. What will be Kresken’s encore Friday night? (Jennifer Eisenbart/Standard Press)

 

The time to feel out your system, try new things and take crazy chances is gone.

It’s October, and there are only three games left in the season.

In the Southern Lakes Conference this season, three teams have separated themselves from the pack, but that number is guaranteed to decrease to one or two this weekend.

We have a good, old-fashioned three-way first-place tie for the league right now between Lake Geneva Badger, Burlington and Wilmot. I purposely put Burlington second to not seem like a homer.

SPORT CHECK LOGO webSue me.

What better conference to have a tie than the SLC? After all, Waterford, Wilmot and Badger all tied atop the conference last season.

Hopefully, this Friday night will help clear up this mess of good teams at the top.

Wilmot, winners of three straight, travels to Lake Geneva for a rivalry throw-down with the Badgers, also winners of three straight.

The Panthers have shut down opponents to the tune of 66-13 the past three games.

On the other hand, Badger survived last week against Delavan-Darien despite six fumbles.

In Burlington, it’s a reunion between coach Steve Tenhagen and his former team, Delavan-Darien. Tenhagen led the Comets the previous seven seasons and won the SLC championship in 2010.

While Tenhagen said it will be all football Friday night at 7 p.m., he can’t deny it will be nice to catch up with everyone.

“I have a bunch of great friendships over there,” he said Tuesday night. “I’m close with the seniors as well. I know their strengths, but in the end, it will come down to execution.”

Executing is something the Demons haven’t had trouble with the past two weeks in comfortable wins over Waterford and Westosha Central.

Brad Burling hooked up with Ty Wiemer for a 92-yard touchdown, and running back Hunter Melby, despite playing with two separated shoulders, caught touchdown passes of 43 and 31 yards in a 41-6 rout over Central last Friday.

When the dust is settled, I expect Burlington and Wilmot to be the only first-place teams left standing with a fitting matchup on tap for Oct. 10.

Another thing that stood out last week was the play of Catholic Central tailback Cole Kresken.

The 6-foot, 200-pound beast ran for five touchdowns and added an 84-yard pick six for good measure.

It has to be some kind of record. I’ve never heard of such a game.

To me, it will go down as the greatest high school performance in the history of area football. At least for awhile. Can you think of another?

Alright, the prediction machine was back above the Mendoza line last week, so it should be smooth sailing from here on out.

Remember, if you’re at a game Friday night, tweet me score updates on Twitter @mikeramczyk17, and I’ll retweet you.

They say it takes a village to raise a baby. It does, just ask all the kind people I’ve met who ooh and ah at my four-month-old in random public places.

Well, it also takes that same village to cover area high school sports, so hit me up via email at sports@southernlakesnewspapers.com, Facebook (Standard Press Sports page) or on Twitter @mikeramczyk17 with any hot story ideas.

The Pack is back. All is right with the world.

Prediction for Thursday night against the Queens: Packers 45, Vikings 20.

Enjoy your weekend, get out and do something fun and holler at me if you see me in the streets.

Peace.

 

PREDICTIONS

Last week: 11-1

This season: 44-18

 

GAME OF THE WEEK

Wilmot (4-2, 3-1 SLC) at Lake Geneva Badger (3-3, 3-1)

I’ve heard too many things about the Badgers that I assumed would happen this season with a young squad.

They’re not experienced. They have a young, immature quarterback. They’re down on talent.

I keep hearing these things from fans and colleagues, but Lake Geneva keeps going out and proving everyone wrong.

Just when you thought it was safe to pick the surging Badgers, the big, bad, physical Wilmot Panthers come to town.

A team that absolutely trashed a Badger team with four college football players last season, Wilmot has veteran leadership and a lethal ground game.

Take the senior leadership over Badger’s youthful exuberance in this one.

 

PREDICTION: Wilmot 23, Badger 18

 

Delavan-Darien (3-3, 1-3) at Burlington (3-3, 3-1)

What in a blue moon happened to the Comets, my early favorite to win the SLC?

They started 3-0, ran and passed up and down and all over teams, won in Wilmot and were flying higher than the stars.

Then, physical, battering-ram-style offensive lines from Elkhorn, Union Grove and Badger simply smacked the Comets collectively in the mouth in three tough losses.

Delavan was close to knocking off Badger last week at home. However, dual-threat Jesse Collins, the reigning conference player of the year, was held to -29 rushing yards.

If you like offense, and I know you do, this one is the game to watch.

It features the SLC’s top two passers (Collins and Burling), top two rushers (Burling, Fabias Shipman) and top four receivers (Jake Benzing, Ethan Cesarz, Wiemer, Frankie Hozeska).

What separates the Demons is Melby, who is a wonderful running/receiving threat out of the backfield and would’ve been a strong fantasy football pickup in PPR leagues.

Also, Burlington’s defense is figuring out Tenhagen’s new system quite nicely.

“Our defense set the tone,” he said about Friday’s big win. “They played a great game.”

Granted, it was the Falcons, but Burlington held them to 200 total yards one week after shutting down Waterford’s weapons with ease.

Tenhagen will give his handshakes and catch up with some pre-game small talk, but when the ball is kicked, Burlington has a first-place status, home-field advantage and homecoming game good vibes to protect.

I expect the Demons to be extremely hyped for this one.

 

PREDICTION: Burlington 52, Delavan-Darien 28

 

Elkhorn (4-2, 2-2) at Union Grove (3-3, 1-3)

Every week, I pick the Broncos to lose. I know, what the heck is wrong with me?

I cover them. I love the school and the new facilities. Honestly, parents and coaches have been great to me in my first year here.

But slowly and surely, coach Jordan Hein is making me a believer. It seems like sophomore quarterback Matt Nelson gets better each week. Hein said he has taken another step in his development and is becoming a poised pocket passer.

There are athletes all over the field with Jameson Radtke, Travis Cadd and company, and the Broncos are finally learning what it takes to win in the SLC. They are the epitome of what can happen with dedication, hard work and a universal belief in a new way of doing things.

Here come the Elks, losers of two straight after a world-beating, 4-0 start.

Elkhorn was pretty much taken out back to the wood shed in a 45-7 pummeling from Waterford last week. Not so fast, though. It was Waterford’s homecoming, and the Wolverines were in a must-win situation.

This week, both the Grove and Elkhorn need wins to keep their playoff hopes alive.

The Elks must win two of their final three games to qualify for the postseason, but the Broncos must win all three.

Though the overall record is 3-3, Union Grove is 2-1 at home and averages 25 points per game.

Hold onto your pants, people, this upset train is moving fast.

 

PREDICTION: Union Grove 30, Elkhorn 21

 

Waterford (4-2, 2-2) at Westosha Central (1-5, 1-3)

Not much explanation is needed on this one.

Waterford needs two wins in its last three games to clinch its fourth straight postseason berth.

While a fourth straight SLC title for coach Adam Bakken may be out of cards, the Waterford offense showed signs of a comeback last Friday with 45 points and a ton of rushing yards.

With games against the Grove and Delavan left after Friday, Waterford could win out and keep a glimmer of hope for the crown.

 

PREDICTION: Waterford 35, Westosha Central 0

 

 

Other area predictions
Catholic Central 55, Thomas More 16

Muskego 26, Catholic Memorial 24

Mukwonago 34, Kettle Moraine 12

Big Foot 35, Clinton 30

Edgerton 28, East Troy 21

Whitewater 19, Evansville/Albany 14

Rio 40, Williams Bay 28

 

 

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