By Tim Wester
The soupy, soggy November turf. The power running game. The throwback goal posts. It all represents the best of Lake Geneva Badger football.
Friday night, the Badgers had it all on display against Middleton.
The Badgers ran the ball 46 times for 291 yards and didn’t commit a single penalty on their way to a 28-7 victory over Middleton in a WIAA division 1 sectional semifinal at Badger.
Badger quarterback Mason Dumez ran for a pair of touchdowns and threw for another, while Will Keller added a 51-yard touchdown run and 53-yard touchdown reception to propel second-seeded Badger into the WIAA sectional finals for the second straight year and third time in five seasons.
Badger previously lost 21-13 to Sun Prairie in a Division 1 sectional final in 2012 and then fell 28-14 to Waukesha West in a D2 final last season.
This time around, Badger draws top-seeded Franklin, which knocked off Milwaukee Marquette 45-23.
“It’s a big deal for our kids to get back to the sectional finals, and clearly as coaches we’re happy about it too,” Hensler said. “I don’t know if you go into the season and make the sectional finals your goal, but it’s sure exciting to be back again.”
The Badgers are back again after bludgeoning Middleton with a power run game.
DuMez got things rolling in the first quarter with a 29-yard touchdown run to make it 7-0 Badger.
The Cardinals eventually answered with a 12-play, 61-yard scoring drive capped by Dion Huff’s 3-yard touchdown to tie things at 7 in the second quarter.
Badger then grabbed the upper hand for good late in the quarter thanks to good field position that yielded a Will Keller 51-yard touchdown catch, and a Dumez 4-yard touchdown run to make it 21-7 at halftime.
“It was field position, and it was the mental state of the team knowing we could move the ball,” DuMez said. “And once we got the momentum, we just started rolling with it.
The 14-point advantage was too much for the Cardinals to overcome in the second half against the Badgers’ defense.
Middleton finally put together a long drive inside the Badger 10 early in the fourth, but failed to score after the Badgers forced an errant Davis Roquet pass on fourth down to end the drive.
The Badgers then put the finishing touches on the victory when Keller charged through a hole and sprinted 53 yards for a touchdown to make it 28-7 with 31 seconds left.
Now it’s up to the Badgers to figure out how to finally get through sectional finals and advance to state.
“Having been there last year, it’s not uncharted territory,” Matt Szeszol said. “We know what we have to do and having lost last year adds a little fuel to the fire.