Christian Brenner (22) celebrates with teammates after a touchdown against Union Grove Aug. 31. (Rick Benavides/SLN)

 

Thanks to a thumping of Lake Geneva Badger on live TV last Thursday, the Waterford Wolverines are going to win the Southern Lakes Conference, right?

Let’s not go there just yet.

While that epic rivalry tends to determine the league’s champion each year, school just started this week and teams still have six games remaining.

Junior running back Tanner Keller went off for 200 yards rushing, and Josh Szeklinski picked off two Badger passes, including an 85-yard pick-6, and Waterford exploded in the second half for a blowout victory.

It’s safe to say Waterford is in the driver’s seat in the SLC, but this weekend could be every bit as important in determining a champion.

Three-year defending champion Lake Geneva Badger is now 0-3, so the league could officially be wide open.

On Friday night, we’ll see if Burlington and Wilmot are serious contenders for the throne.

The Demons, who are 3-0 and have throttled three opponents, have a chance to beat Badger for the first time since the teams rejoined the SLC in 2009.

And Wilmot, fresh off a dominant victory over Delavan-Darien, can play spoiler to Waterford’s undefeated conference hopes in what should be a classic showdown on the Illinois border on Wilmot’s freshly renovated turf field.

Walworth County rivals Elkhorn and Delavan-Darien, perhaps the most underrated yet heated rivalry in the area, will clash in Delavan, while Union Grove and Westosha Central will both seek their first SLC win in Paddock Lake.

Don’t forget about Catholic Central, which was overmatched by a ranked Racine St. Cat’s team last week, but has a chance to bounce back this week.

My predictions have been pretty good this year, and my Waterford pick last week worked out. I was a perfect 11-0, so I got lucky.

Last week and over the holiday weekend, I enjoyed three fantasy football drafts, one of which included my 81-year-old dad (I help him because he’s allergic to computers) and my best friend.

I am officially amped for the NFL season, which begins Thursday and features Packers-Bears right off the bat Sunday night.

At home in Lambeau Field, Green Bay should get the win, but I have to give credit to Chicago for pulling off the Khalil Mack trade.

Aaron Rodgers could be running for his life against one of the best pass rushers in the game, and the fact that the Bears out-bid my beloved Packers for Mack cuts like a knife, folks.

Do yourself a favor and enjoy some football this weekend, staring with the high school boys on Friday, Wisconsin on Saturday and the return of a healthy Rodgers Sunday.

 

PREDICTIONS

Last week: 11-0

Season: 27-8

 

Game of the Week

Waterford (2-1, 1-0 SLC) at Wilmot (2-1, 1-0 SLC), Friday, 7 p.m.

The Wolverines seem to have the momentum after a huge win over defending conference champion Lake Geneva Badger, but the Panthers are just as much of a conference title contender as Waterford.

Both teams feature strong defenses and run-heavy offense.

Waterford junior Tanner Keller lead the league with 478 rushing yards and seven touchdowns, and he’s averaged 159 yards per game.

Senior workhorse running back Austin Norton has amassed 229 yards and four scores on the ground for Wilmot, including a game-winning in four overtimes to knock off Kenosha Bradford.

Both teams are extremely physical and well-coached.

In the end, home-field advantage wins out.

 

PREDICTION: Wilmot 20, Waterford 17

 

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

Logic says a 3-0 team is likely to beat an 0-3 team, but the three-time defending conference champion Badgers aren’t your average winless squad.

Lake Geneva, while young and inexperienced, has plenty of talent and will figure out Matt Hensler’s complex offense eventually.

But it’s going to take at least another week.

Nick Webley is on another planet right now for the Demons, and the rest of the squad is following his lead.

Burlington is taking the ball away, passing at an elite level and running enough to keep defenses honest.

A rowdy home crowd should help the Demons, who have lofty expectations this fall.

 

PREDICTION: Burlington 35, Lake Geneva Badger 28

 

Other area predictions

Catholic Central 28, Shoreland Lutheran 14

Union Grove 40, Westosha Central 10

Delavan-Darien 33, Elkhorn 20

Big Foot 40, Whitewater 19

East Troy 37, McFarland 23

Palmyra-Eagle 38, Horicon/Hustisford 21

 

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