And then there were two

Waterford players Ben Michalowski (33), Zach Stiewe (68) and Danny Noll (24) show Burlington’s Nick Klug (5) respect after last Friday’s overtime classic. (Rick Benavides/SLN)

 

Last week, we saw Wilmot, East Troy and Burlington bow out in the first round of the playoffs, while Lake Geneva Badger and Waterford are moving on to Week 2.

Badger crushed a team it lost to in the beginning of the season, Kenosha Bradford, while the Wolverines escaped with a 28-27 overtime victory, after rival Burlington opted to go for two and the win on the road.

Burlington played perhaps its best game of the season, physically controlling the line of scrimmage early and building a 21-7 lead, before Waterford stormed back behind the strong running of Ben Michalowski, a key fumble recovery and a questionable taunting call.

Both Waterford and Badger must go on the road this Friday night for long bus rides against two higher seeds with better records and what coaches deemed better resumes.

Please follow Sports Editor Mike Ramczyk on Twitter @mikeramczyk17 Friday night for updates, and check out www.myracinecounty.com for a game story of Waterford.

In the college ranks, Wisconsin improved to 7-0 behind a stellar defense and is ranked fifth in the nation.

A home game against Michigan could be the only thing that stands between the Badgers and a perfect record and a spot in the Big Ten championship game.

Wisconsin would face most likely Penn State or Ohio State, teams that face each other this weekend.

Finally, the Green Bay Packers are in a world of trouble.

After all-universe quarterback Aaron Rodgers went down with a broken collarbone against Minnesota, Brett Hundley has posted passer ratings in the 30s in two consecutive losses.

Last week at home against the Saints, Green Bay blew a 14-7 halftime lead in an ugly 26-17 loss.

Rookie running back Aaron Jones provided a glimmer of hope with 131 rushing yards, but Hundley will have to step up and make some throws downfield to Jordy Nelson and Davante Adams if the Packers want any chance of winning.

Oh, and the defense, which lacks talent, playmakers and a quality scheme from Dom Capers, can’t stop anyone.

I hate to say it, but Green Bay’s streak of eight straight playoff appearances is in serious jeopardy, and I’d be more surprised if the Packers make the playoffs than miss.

On one final note, Happy Halloween to everyone.

Come on down to Spooky City Saturday morning in downtown Burlington for some early trick-or-treating, and have fun and be safe on Tuesday, Oct. 31.

Make sure to be nice and give out candy at your place. Us parents and our 3-year-olds, and kids of all ages, will appreciate it.

On with the show.

 

FOOTBALL PREDICTIONS

Last week: 3-1

Season: 34-11

 

Lake Geneva Badger’s Will Keller (2) was shut down in last week’s playoff opener. He may need to revert to his 1,000-yard rushing form if the Badgers want to pull off the upset Friday. (Earlene Frederick/SLN)

Game of the Week

(3) Lake Geneva Badger (9-1) at (2) Franklin (9-1), 7 p.m., Friday

A rematch of last year’s WIAA Division 1 Level 4 playoff game should be a classic.

The Sabers knocked off Lake Geneva, 28-14, to advance to Camp Randall Stadium, where they lost in the state championship.

Badger was left to an offseason of improvement, and just before the season, showed it can move the ball and score at will against Franklin in a preseason game.

Preseason games really don’t mean much, but it was most likely a confidence boost.

This season, Franklin crushed Waterford but barely squeaked by Wilmot and Kenosha Bradford, two teams Badger has beaten.

Lake Geneva, which lost its only game of the season to Bradford in Week 2, thumped the Red Devils at home last week in the playoff opener.

Bradford didn’t start passing until the second half, but its athletes were able to make plays and put up points in the passing game.

Passing has always been Franklin’s specialty, and this season is no different. The Sabers average nearly 200 passing yards per game, and quarterback Max Alba has thrown for 1,845 yards and 21 touchdowns with five interceptions.

Brad Tobin leads the team in rushing and receiving.

Badger will counter with its borderline unstoppable run game, which averages 300 yards per contest.

The run game faced its biggest challenge when 1,000-yard rusher Will Keller was shut down last week, but Adam Gallagher ran for 101 yards and Colton Surges and Wes Sontag each contributed more than 50 yards.

Badger went into Franklin and knocked off the favored Sabers in 2012, and I’m rooting for the upset again.

 

PREDICTION: Lake Geneva Badger 38, Franklin 35

 

Senior defensive lineman Zach Maydak blitzes Burlington’s Nick Klug last week. The Wolverine pass rush faces a stiff challenge with Monona Grove quarterback Alec Ogden Friday night. (Rick Benavides/SLN)

(4) Waterford (8-2) at (1) Monona Grove (10-0), Friday, 7 p.m.

This is a lot to ask of the Wolverines.

Coming off an emotional comeback and thrilling overtime win over their main rival, the Wolverines now must face the team that knocked them out of the first round of the 2016 playoffs.

Last year, quarterback Alec Ogden came into Waterford and tossed the ball around the field with ease, as the Silver Eagles upset the Wolverines.

Monona Grove became the Division 2 state runner-up.

This season, Ogden is even better, and I made the mistake of picking Wilmot to upset Grove last week.

Ogden threw for three scores and ran for two in a game the Grove led 35-6 at halftime.

Also, Jackson Thomsen ran for 146 yards and a score.

Waterford will lean on the running game with Michalowski and SLC leading rusher Tanner Keller, who each ran for more than 100 yards last week.

Monona Grove averages a whopping 468 yards per game, with 238 passing and 230 rushing.

“They are two-dimensional,” said Waterford’s Zak Slusar, who broke up the 2-point pass on the final play of last week’s win. “They can run and throw the ball effectively. We have to shut them down and make them one-dimensional. Time of possession is really important for us this week. Our offense has to be able to march down the field and eat up the clock to keep their explosive offense off the field.”

Waterford’s defense and running game will make noise, but the Silver Eagles are too good.

 

PREDICTION: Monona Grove 28, Waterford 14

Comments

comments