All is right with the world.
Last week, I finally pulled off a perfect 5-0 record on my high school football predictions.
It’s the stretch run, as teams have three games left to claim a berth in the WIAA postseason.
Catholic Central hosts its Homecoming game, Burlington battles the mighty Wilmot Panthers and rivals Union Grove and Waterford battle in our Game of the Week.
What did we learn from last weekend’s games?
Well, Union Grove’s Matt Nelson is still a man amongst boys, as he ripped off an unreal seven touchdowns in one game to get the Broncos back on track.
Waterford’s mix of smash-mouth running and smothering defense led to the team’s third straight complete performance.
Delavan-Darien stayed alive in the playoff race with a hard-fought victory at Burlington.
And Lake Geneva Badger needed overtime, but the Badgers proved they’re the team to beat in the Southern Lakes with a win over Wilmot.
Collegiately, Wisconsin pulled off an upset at Michigan State, as the Badgers had their way with a team that made the College Football Playoff a season ago.
And Aaron Rodgers looked like his two-time MVP old self with four first-half touchdown passes in Green Bay’s win over Detroit.
There are only three high school regular season games left, and the margin for error has vanished for some teams.
Let’s get into this week’s picks. Enjoy your football weekend.
Last week: 5-0
GAME OF THE WEEK
Union Grove (4-2, 2-2 SLC) at Waterford (5-1, 3-1 SLC)
A source with the Broncos said the Union Grove boys must try to contain the powerful Wolverines run game and put Matt Nelson in positions to be successful.
That’s easier said than done against Waterford, which boasts two powerful runners in Ben Michalowski and Jared Krattiger.
Waterford’s defense has shut down three straight opponents, as the Wolverines have outscored the last three foes, 94-6, in three convincing wins after a 10-7 loss at Wilmot.
Michalowski leads the SLC with 642 rushing yards.
Waterford beat the Grove twice last year, but Nelson has become a nearly unstoppable threat this season. And Holden Whybark (6-foot-5, 230 pounds) is a big target and is third in the SLC in receiving.
The 6-foot-4, 215-pound college hopeful Nelson has thrown for 13 touchdowns and more than 1,000 yards and ran for 10 more scores.
Adam Bakken’s defensive mind once again will be too strong, as he acknowledged Nelson is the best quarterback he’s seen during his six years in the SLC.
It won’t be as easy as the previous three weeks, but the host Wolverines will take care of business and stay in line for a fifth straight share of the SLC title.
In all likelihood, as it often does, the championship may come down to Waterford’s final game, at home in two weeks against undefeated Badger.
PREDICTION: Waterford 30, Union Grove 17
Burlington (2-4, 1-3) at Wilmot (5-1, 3-1)
The Panthers were one play away from beating mighty Lake Geneva on the road last week.
The Demons need three straight wins to earn a playoff berth.
The Panthers will be angry and have revenge on their minds from last week’s loss.
Burlington coach Steve Tenhagen will have his athletes ready to play. And stars Nick Klug and Grant Tully both commended the team’s solid offensive and defensive efforts last week.
But this game will play in Wilmot’s favor, as its running game and ball control should rule the day and force the Demons into difficult passing situations.
PREDICTION: Wilmot 31, Burlington 21
Racine Lutheran (3-2, 2-2 Metro Classic) at Burlington Catholic Central (1-5, 1-3)
Senior running back Aaron Rueber said the Toppers are on the verge of something good.
“We are very close to being good, we just have to get over the hump. Our biggest challenge has been our depth. We only have 10 upperclassmen, and that has hurt us a little bit,” he said.
The Topper Bowl titans are back for some home cooking, as the stands will be rocking for the annual Homecoming game.
Lutheran gains 278 yards per game, with 155 coming on the ground.
The Crusaders are led by running back Shamaj Williams, who has 519 yards and seven touchdowns.
Last week, Lutheran fell at home to Shoreland Lutheran, 28-21.
Catholic Central shut out Shoreland Lutheran, 21-0, for its only victory on Sept. 2.
Defense and the 12th man will help Central snap its three-game skid.
PREDICTION: Catholic Central 28, Racine Lutheran 24
Lake Geneva Badger (6-0, 4-0) at Elkhorn (1-5, 0-4)
The Badgers are standing tall this week after knocking off previously unbeaten rival Wilmot.
In two consecutive weeks, Lake Geneva’s clutch game has been off the charts with late defensive stops to seal victories.
Could this be a prime week for a let-down?
Elkhorn has an exceptional coach in Tom Lee, and the high school cycle always turns back in a program’s favor.
The Division 1 Badgers should flex their muscles on this one on both sides of the ball, as the boys hold their own destiny in the SLC.
Three more wins, and Lake Geneva will claim its first undefeated season in the 10-year Matt Hensler era.
PREDICTION: Lake Geneva Badger 40, Elkhorn 14
Westosha Central (1-5, 0-4) at Delavan-Darien (4-2, 3-1)
With a lot of attention going toward Nelson, who was recently nominated for the state’s top senior quarterback award, Delavan senior pass-run threat Jake Benzing has flown under the radar.
Don’t tell that to his opponents.
Benzing’s touchdown run with 6 minutes remaining beat Burlington last week, and his late scoring pass two weeks ago almost handed Lake Geneva its first loss.
The 6-foot, 200-pound Benzing is an elite athlete, with the ability to beat you in multiple ways on any given play. And with the SLC’s top two receivers, Mike Alder and Ethan Cesarz, Delavan’s offense is as dangerous as any team in the area.
Benzing’s 1,596 passing yards and 18 touchdowns lead the league, and he only has tossed six picks.
What sets him apart are his feet, which have produced 347 yards and three touchdowns.
Westosha’s Adam Simmons tossed his first career touchdown in place of quarterback Josiah McDermit last week, and Tre Williams is one of the most underrated receivers in the SLC.
The Comets should have fun in this one, but don’t expect the Falcons to go lightly.
PREDICTION: Delavan-Darien 38, Westosha Central 30