Undefeated Falcons making history thanks to transfer QB

Tanner Keller emerged as a star for Waterford in the Wolverines’ key victory over Wilmot last week. (Rick Benavides/SLN)

 

It’s not a typo.

The Westosha Central football team is 4-0, people, and it’s time to start getting used to the fact that Jaden Jackson may be the best quarterback in the area, let alone the Southern Lakes Conference.

Preseason conference favorite Wilmot is 1-3, and its county foe Westosha, winners of a whopping two games in the previous two seasons, is sitting pretty atop the SLC thanks to a kid who transferred from Utah back in January and is bringing excitement to a community starved for a winner.

Thanks to another last-minute comeback last Friday, this one in the final 10 seconds courtesy of a Jackson touchdown pass to Nic Frederick and Niko Lemke 2-point conversion, Jackson has now orchestrated three comeback victories on the team’s final drive.

Jackson’s legend is growing, and it has to be chalked up to pure magic, or fairy dust, or something ridiculous, because this isn’t supposed to be happening.

Westosha won one game in 2016, zero the year before, one in 2014 and zero in 2013.

So yes, the Falcons have already won as many games as the previous five years combined.

Jackson, a 6-foot-2, 210-pound physical specimen, has a strong arm and can move well in the pocket.

He has thrown for 650 yards with six touchdowns and only two interceptions.

Meanwhile, Wilmot is struggling with last year’s leading rusher, Robert Brent, out with a knee injury.

Waterford lost to powerhouse Badger, but dominated Wilmot last week thanks to three big touchdowns from sophomore running back Tanner Keller, who seemingly out of nowhere broke out for 150 yards with starter Ben Michalowski down.

Badger keeps crushing teams, and Burlington is finally healthy with quarterback Nick Klug and do-everything playmaker Grant Tully in the backfield.

It’s officially the halfway mark in the season, and like always, there’s really no way to predict how these teams will stack up, except that Badger is a cut above.

Central hasn’t beaten a superior opponent yet, and Lake Geneva is coming to town Friday.

Also, Burlington and Waterford offers the best rivalry in the area and should be a classic.

As for Delavan-Darien, Elkhorn and Union Grove, there’s always next year. However, the Comets showed plenty of firepower in last weekend’s blowout win over the Elks.

With five games left, I’d have to say it’s Badger’s conference to lose.

And Catholic Central dropped to 0-4 last weekend, despite scoring a season-high 17 points and showing steady improvement.

Tristan Welka showed some versatility with a 50-yard touchdown catch and a short scoring run.

In college football, Wisconsin struggled to knock off Florida Atlantic, but the Badgers’ hospitality toward their opponent, which was affected by Hurricane Irma, was admirable.

Finally, all is right in the world because the Green Bay Packers are 1-0 thanks to a defensive beat-down of Seattle. Green Bay returns to Atlanta, the site of last year’s NFC Championship nightmare, this Sunday, to open the Falcons’ new stadium.

As my daughter Coraline would say, while singing and dancing on the couch, “Go Pack, Go.”

On with the show!

 

FOOTBALL PREDICTIONS

Week 5

Last week: 2-3

Season: 13-6

 

GAME OF THE WEEK

Waterford (2-2, 1-1 SLC) at Burlington (2-2, 1-1 SLC), 7 p.m., Friday

If you can’t get excited for this one, you don’t like football.

The two rivals, only 8 miles apart, aren’t exactly best friends, to put it nicely.

The Wolverines have had Burlington’s number the past two seasons after the Demons won in Waterford in 2014.

This season, you have a young Waterford squad, especially on the offensive line, but a defense that’s shown glimpses of its usual greatness, especially after shutting down a very explosive, athletic Wilmot squad last week.

Tanner Keller, only a sophomore, is a star in the making at running back, and Ben Michalowski is expected to return to the lineup.

After Michalowski went down against Badger two weeks ago, Keller has stepped up, to the tune of the conference’s third-leading rusher at 381 yards.

Burlington put up 440 yards against one of the state’s best teams, Badger, last week, thanks to the return of Nick Klug at quarterback. With Klug and Grant Tully, the SLC’s second-leading rusher with 398 yards, the Demons should be able to move the ball.

But can they stop Waterford’s ground-control offense?

Burlington couldn’t stop Badger, but really nobody can.

With all hands on deck, expect a spirited effort from the quick-strike Demons, who have fallen victim to first-half turnovers the past two games.

I wouldn’t be surprised if Nick Webley, who’s caught eight balls for 222 yards and five touchdowns, makes a few game-changing plays.

 

PREDICTION: Burlington 35, Waterford 28

 

Badger (3-1, 2-0 SLC) at Westosha Central (4-0, 2-0)

The Cinderella story is over Friday night in Paddock Lake.

Jaden Jackson will reach into that hat, and there won’t be a rabbit there. Instead, a vicious, snarling Wisconsin Badger will be nipping at his fingers, driving the quarterback crazy.

Lake Geneva pressures the quarterback with athletes all over the field, and the defense causes turnovers.

Just ask Klug, who fell victim to a pick-six against the Badgers last week.

Badger will march up and down the field, and Jackson and the Falcons will finally lose.

Look for Will Keller, who leads the league with 441 rushing yards, to have a huge night.

 

PREDICTION: Lake Geneva Badger 55, Westosha Central 17

 

Union Grove (1-3, 0-2 SLC) at Delavan-Darien (2-2, 1-1 SLC)

Just when I thought Delavan didn’t have a strong squad this year, the Comets came alive last week.

Dakota Williams, at 6-foot-3, is a dynamic dual-threat quarterback, and Logan Rios is lightning fast in the passing game.

Moreover, Williams is strong pressuring the quarterback, and the defense is fast and athletic.

The Broncos have struggled this season. Quarterback Alec Spang has been a bright spot, but the defense hasn’t been able to finish games, and the running game hasn’t been effective.

I expect Williams to have another big game, and the Broncos will be forced to pass a ton.

A scoring fest could be in store.

 

PREDICTION: Delavan-Darien 33, Union Grove 24

 

Other area predictions

Greendale Martin Luther 34, Burlington Catholic Central 12

Wilmot 45, Elkhorn 10

 

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