Burlington in must-win scenario against dangerous Jackson, Westosha

Lake Geneva Badger’s Will Keller (2) single-handedly reversed his team’s fortunes last Friday thanks to a few long touchdown runs and 261 rushing yards. (Earlene Frederick/SLN)

 

There isn’t much room left for error in the 2017 high school football season.

After Waterford continued its hot play last week to defeat Burlington, the Demons are reeling with two conference losses and may be in a must-win situation Friday at home.

Also, Westosha Central proved it’s no fluke, as the Falcons took the powerhouse Lake Geneva Badgers down to the wire before eventually falling.

And Wilmot is not dead, especially after a shellacking of Elkhorn. It could be the spark the team needs as it still has to face Badger in a huge rivalry game.

Finally, Union Grove finally picked up a victory, in impressive comeback fashion on the road against Delavan-Darien.

The most impressive performance from last week was the running prowess of Badger running back Will Keller, who went off for 261 yards on only 16 carries to almost single-handedly help the Badgers fend off a game Central squad.

So what have we learned about these area teams?

With the right motivation, especially some brainless reporter picking a team to lose, anybody can win on any given Friday night.

Like I tend to do, I picked against Waterford last week, and head coach Adam Bakken cut out my column from the paper and showed his team.

In the post-game interviews, seniors Jack Trautman and Ben Michalowski both cited my prediction and how it was wrong and personally pushed them to show up and win.

Well, the Wolverines made their point.

Their defense and running are still on point, and they will be very hard to beat when they get fully healthy.

More prediction backfire came at Burlington High School last Thursday at the boys volleyball game, when the Westosha student section, easily the most energetic and loud “Fam” in the SLC, let me have it about my 55-17 prediction of the football team losing to Badger.

It even got to a point where I was walking in the parking lot, and a big pickup truck of Central kids stopped and yelled at me.

“We’re going to beat Badger Friday,” the driver yelled with purpose.

“I hope so,” I said, as I always like to see the underdog win.

“No, you don’t,” the passenger said as they drove away.

Badger won, 42-26, so I’d say I wasn’t too far off.

The point is that it’s nice to see these kids reading what I write, whether they hate it or like it.

The future of America is bright when teenagers are still reading newspapers.

And while the old ego took a few blows from these kids, I think they know it’s all in good fun, and I’m just doing my job.

Please don’t take it personally.

They are just numbers, and they’re meaningless once the game begins.

The Wisconsin Badgers are still perfect thanks to a Steve Young-like performance from quarterback Alex Hornibrook at BYU.

And the Green Bay Packers, with key injuries to Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb and Mike Daniels, among others, proved once again they can’t hang with an elite offense in Sunday night’s beatdown in Atlanta.

Julio Jones was just too good, and Aaron Rodgers was terrible.

An interception and a forward pass behind the line of scrimmage fumble return for a touchdown. Really?

Without their tackles, the Packers were struggling to protect Rodgers and must figure something out fast.

Sure, Cincinnati is 0-2, but the Bengals’ desperation combined with Green Bay’s injuries could make for a let-down game Sunday at Lambeau Field. Don’t be shocked if the Packers struggle, especially defensively, as Andy Dalton, A.J. Green and Joe Mixon are talented threats.

My best friend is starting his security job at Lambeau for Sunday’s game, and he is only like 5-foot-8. I’m hoping he doesn’t get dominated by belligerent drunks.

He’s one of the biggest Packers fans I know, so he probably wouldn’t care.

Once again, I got chatty, so let’s get on with the show.

 

WEEK 5 PREDICTIONS

Last week: 3-2

Season: 16-8

 

GAME OF THE WEEK

Westosha Central (4-1, 2-1 SLC) at Burlington (2-3, 1-2), 7 p.m., Friday

This is probably a must-win situation for the Demons if they want to make the playoffs.

You must go at least 4-3 in your conference to qualify for the postseason, and the Demons still must travel to Wilmot, which will be a very difficult test.

With four SLC games to play, Burlington must finish up 3-1 to make the playoffs for the first time since 2014.

With a special dedication to late football coaching legend Don Dalton, who passed away this summer, set for halftime, Don Dalton Stadium should be rocking.

While Waterford seemed to know everything Burlington was going to do before it happened last week, the Demons have had much more success against the Falcons in recent years, just like everyone has.

But it’s a new Falcons squad, and quarterback Jaden Jackson proved that last week, as his 295 yards and three touchdowns almost beat mighty Lake Geneva Badger, which blew out Burlington.

The Demons seem to trying new things offensively, with Grant Tully taking some quarterback snaps while starting QB Nick Klug plays receiver.

Burlington’s offense woke up late in the game against Waterford, and Klug said after the game it could be the momentum the team needs heading into Friday night.

If you like offense, this game should be for you, as both teams can put up points.

Westosha is a very good team, and it will make the playoffs, but the Demons simply need this game, badly.

Not playing against Waterford’s defense will be a breath of fresh air for the Demons, who should get back to normal Friday.

 

PREDICTION: Burlington 30, Westosha Central 27

 

Wilmot (2-3, 2-1) at Union Grove (2-3, 1-2)

Union Grove quarterback Alec Spang showed his leadership last week with a furious fourth-quarter comeback.

Down 14 points at Delavan-Darien, Spang tossed two touchdown passes and ran for another to rally the Broncos to an improbable 21-14 victory.

However, the Comets got down to the Grove 2-yard-line with a chance to tie the game before a Bronco QB sack ended the game.

So the Broncos’ passing attack is lethal, but has been inconsistent this year.

Defensively, they haven’t been able to stop too many opponents, but a spirited effort against Delavan has them trending in the right direction.

But Wilmot, by most accounts, is a different animal, and it showed it in last Friday’s rout of Elkhorn.

Star running back Austin Norton, who replaced last year’s SLC leading rusher Robert Brent, who suffered a knee injury, ran for more than 200 yards.

The Panthers are still one of the most explosive, athletic teams in the SLC, and they seem to be back on track after a dud against Waterford.

Wilmot can still share the SLC title if it wins out, which would include a win over first place Lake Geneva.

I think the Panthers have the ability to run the table, and it starts Friday.

 

PREDICTION: Wilmot 28, Union Grove 21

 

Other area predictions

Lake Geneva Badger 40, Delavan-Darien 17

Waterford 45, Elkhorn 7

Kenosha St. Joe’s 33, Burlington Catholic Central 14

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