Despite a 2-4 overall record, Union Grove quarterback Alec Spang, who wasn’t slated to start at the beginning of the season, is nearing 1,000 yards passing. (Earlene Frederick/SLN)

 

After some debating and soul-searching, I’ve contemplated the idea of modifying my weekly predictions to exclude scores.

For the past few weeks, it’s been stewing in my mind, as Westosha Central students voiced their displeasure to my face about my lopsided prediction of their game against Badger.

I assured them it’s all in good fun, and sure enough, I got a “I love you, Mike Ramczyk” from a member of #FalconFam last Friday night in Burlington.

But things boiled over after Burlington’s victory over Westosha Friday night, when a coach presented his issues – emphatically.

Unpleasant words were hurled, and he was understandably frustrated.

“They’re just high schoolers,” he said.

Yeah, true, they are only high school kids. And they are sensitive and emotional and going through a roller coaster of hormones at this delicate age.

But I wouldn’t be doing my job if I only wrote to placate, or praise, people. I report the truth, or my version of the truth, based on my experiences covering football, a game I love and hold dear with the utmost respect.

Why do we want to coddle and protect our high school athletes from the media, like they absolutely cannot accept someone saying they are going to lose, or they had a bad game last week, or they will need to step it up and have a big game in order for their team to win?

Why can’t we promote reality to these kids?

If they’re not playing well, the newspaper must still report on the story.

Life isn’t always perfect.

Struggles and obstacles exist, and the beauty is that a low always means better times are ahead.

So, no, coach, I’m not going to take it easy because it’s the nice, polite thing to do.

My predictions are based on research and countless hours spent watching games over several years as a sports editor.

Your team is just fine, you guys will persevere, and you will make the playoffs.

Honestly, it’s refreshing that someone isn’t afraid to give me an opinion to my face. The only way I can get better is through feedback.

Thanks, again, for your encouragement, all is well, and I hope to interview you again.

While certainly not my first rodeo, as coaches have screamed at me, AD’s have scolded me via email and people have literally asked my boss to fire me, this was a first.

“Keep doing what you do,” he said after his verbal barrage.

I will, sir, thank you, and here we go with the latest episode of the most must-see show in print:

Wilmot running back Austin Norton has emerged as a star. Can he help the Panthers upset Badger Friday and turn the SLC upside down? (Earlene Frederick/SLN)

FOOTBALL PREDICTIONS

WEEK 7

Last week: 5-0

Season: 21-8

     

GAME OF THE WEEK

Lake Geneva Badger (5-1, 4-0 SLC) at Wilmot (3-3, 3-1), 7 p.m., Friday

What a beautiful, entertaining event this will be.

Two teams with run-first, fly-around-the-field defense mentalities clash in a heated rivalry, as many of these kids grew up playing Genoa City baseball together.

Lake Geneva is No. 8 in the state in Division 1 in the latest rankings, and the Panthers are out to prove their slow start to the season is a fluke.

While Waterford shut down Wilmot in dominant fashion, the Panthers came back last week with a 55-10 thrashing of a talented Union Grove team on the road.

Lake Geneva Badger quarterback Colton Surges and the Badgers are 5-1 and ranked No. 8 in the latest Division 1 state poll. (Mike Ramczyk/SLN)

This week could make or break Wilmot’s season. If they want to be considered a serious contender in the Division 2 state playoffs, a win would go a long way, and could set up another dreaded three-way tie for the conference championship.

A.J. Frisby has a new buddy in the backfield, Austin Norton, who has picked up where injured running back Robert Brent left off thanks to 461 rushing yards in the past three games.

The 6-foot-1, 190-pound Norton is only a junior, but he’s proven to be a beast.

Nobody has beasted on opponents more than Badger’s Will Keller, though. A threat in the kick return, punt return and run games, he is second in the SLC behind Waterford’s Tanner Keller (726 yards) with 702 yards.

If you want to go based on talent and overall depth alone, Badger is hands down the best team in the league and SHOULD, repeat, should win.

But Frank Bucci Field will be rocking for this party, which can be considered the final must-see game in the SLC slate.

I don’t expect Wilmot to contain Keller and the Badger triple option attack, but the Badger defense will have its hands full as well, since Frisby is so dangerous and good at extending plays with his feet.

I hope this one comes down to a big play at the end, and here’s to competitive balance.

 

PREDICTION: Wilmot 34, Lake Geneva 33

 

Burlington junior Zach Anderson could be a wild card Friday night, as he is quietly putting together a solid season. (John Fisher/SLN)

Burlington (3-3, 2-2) at Delavan-Darien (2-4, 1-3), 7 p.m., Friday

A trap game for the Demons, who are coming off an emotional high of 56 points in a game that honored late coaching legend Don Dalton, Burlington is in must-win mode.

Burlington simply cannot lose this game and expect to beat Wilmot. The sheer pressure of that combined with Wilmot’s talent could be a recipe for disaster.

Fortunately for Burlington, head coach Steve Tenhagen earned his coaching stripes for the Comets for years before coming home to Burlington.

In fact, in 2010, Tenhagen led the Comets, behind dual-threat, undersized quarterback Justin Fowlkes, to a conference championship.

I really like where the Demons are right now, with Nick Klug looking 100 percent healthy based on his elusive and explosive running last week, along with Grant Tully’s sneaky powerful moves and

Zach Silverman and the young Comets are coming off a 41-6 loss to Lake Geneva. (Mike Ramczyk/SLN)

ability to catch the ball out of the backfield.

Last week, Burlington, behind two pick-6’s from Ben Golon and Nick Webley, along with a long interception return from Zeff Jones, proved it can stifle the passing game.

Delavan-Darien junior Dakota Williams likes to pass and has weapons on the outside like Logan Rios. Williams is big and strong and can run as well, but the Demons possess speed on defense.

Burlington must beat Delavan and Elkhorn in the final three weeks to clinch a playoff berth, and a win over Wilmot would be nothing more than gravy and playoff seeding fodder.

They will take care of step one Friday.

 

PREDICTION: Burlington 30, Delavan-Darien 17

 

 

Union Grove at Elkhorn, Friday, 7

Alec Spang and the Broncos are probably doing some soul searching after last week’s home loss to Wilmot, an absolute baptizing.

But the Broncos still possess premium athletes like Jacob Ross and Jack Pettit, and the Elks are really hurting this year.

Though Braeden Mohr is performing at the quarterback position with 417 rushing yards and 356 passing yards, he is the majority of the offense right now.

The Broncos will be stewing and focused, and last week’s result should have them fired up.

Spang should pass the 1,000-yard milestone in this one.

Look for Ross to have a breakout game.

Braeden Mohr has amassed nearly 800 total yards and six touchdowns this season. (Rick Benavides/SLN)

 

PREDICTION: Union Grove 27, Elkhorn 19

 

Westosha Central at Waterford, Friday, 7

Waterford junior Tanner Keller, being hoisted here after a touchdown Friday, has ran for more than 500 yards in the past three games. Waterford has won three straight games. (Rick Benavides/SLN)

The Falcons are trending downward right now, with two straight losses after four wins to open the season.

Unfortunately, they are running into a buzz saw at Waterford.

Junior Tanner Keller, who replaced an injured Ben Michalowski as the lead tailback earlier this season, has only needed three big games to become the SLC’s leading rusher.

He ran for another 170 yards last week and put up 187 against Wilmot.

The Wolverines have figured things out defensively, and they’re still not even fully healthy yet.

Waterford suddenly has a multi-faceted, home-run-hitting run game that hasn’t been touched in three straight wins.

Westosha should put together a more spirited effort than last week, with Niko Lemke and Adam Simmons back in the fold.

If Central loses, it will have to beat Delavan and rival Wilmot to finish the season.

Anything can happen in rivalry games, so the Falcons’ playoff hopes are still alive.

Jaden Jackson is a bona fide stud and will keep his squad in the game, no matter what.

 

PREDICTION: Waterford 28, Westosha Central 17

Jaden Jackson fires a pass last Friday as Tyler Huffhines stays in to block. Can the Falcons somehow outscore Waterford Friday night? (John Fisher/SLN)

 

Racine Lutheran 34, Catholic Central 20 (game is Saturday at 11:30 a.m. at Horlick Field, Racine)

Catholic Central’s Charles Robinson (far left) can’t wrestle the ball away from Kenosha St. Joe’s players last Friday. The interception was returned 40 yards and set up a Trojans score. (Mike Ramczyk/SLN)

Comments

comments