Can Nick Webley be shut down by Josh Szeklinski and the Waterford secondary Friday night? (John Fisher/SLN)

 

– We are sharing personal stories from our 9/11 experience this week in honor of Tuesday’s 17th anniversary of 9/11. Here’s an excerpt from me, Sports Editor Mike Ramczyk              

 

I vividly recall waking about 10 a.m. to prepare to commute to UW-Waukesha my freshman year back in 2001, and sitting down on the living room floor to breaking news.

Fires, footage of airplanes flying into buildings and utter hell.

I felt so floored, I probably didn’t speak for a good few minutes and just listened to everything.

Osama Bin Laden wanted a day that would change America forever, and what he really got was karma.

At school that day, yes I went, it was like a graveyard.

Most classes were cancelled, and any interaction with anyone for 6 straight hours was about the people of NYC.

Legions of students that had never even met or seen each other gathered in the halls and student lounges, watching any flat screen around.

Since the hatred and anger toward the Muslim community has lessened, thank God, let’s think about everyone who sacrificed their lives, and their heroic families, for their strength.

The tragic, unthinkable terror that was 9/11 made us stronger than before, and it united us for a greater good.

The fact that a lot more people didn’t take their own lives or hurt others, due to such tremendous trauma and pain, is frankly astonishing.

The images of human beings jumping to their deaths, will never leave my mind.

But centimeters away in my brain are lasting images of love, pure, unconditional LOVE among strangers, even among enemies, in our darkest and most needy time.

I love you, America, God Bless us all.

We are one color, one race, one creed. And when someone knocks us down, Lord willing, we get back up.

Every time.

 

#NEVERFORGET

 

Now, a touching story from one of our best writers, Chris Bennett

I struggle to stay upbeat and positive on the anniversary of 9/11, and the anniversary of 9/12 is another gut punch. As I listened to the radio at my office that day it seemed every report broke news of another building coming down at the WTC complex.

There are certain things I find hard to explain to my children.

The feelings of despair and anger and confusion in the immediate wake of this national tragedy is chief among them, and I’ll be overjoyed if they never experience such emotions.

I stayed in a hotel that overlooked Ground Zero in May of 2003 as part of the Navy’s Public Affairs team for Fleet Week. I over-tipped a proud Puerto Rican concierge named Guillermo the entire time on the off chance I might need something during my stay – I was on per diem, and what the hell did I know about life in Lower Manhattan?

What I got for my money were moments outside with “Willie” smoking (I still smoked at the time) and him telling me all of his first-hand stories from 9/11. It was fascinating.

On 9/11, he scrawled a mark on a planter with a knife to show the depth of the rubble, because he didn’t figure anyone would ever believe him. He helped wash people in the lobby of the hotel – people I imagine looked like the gentleman in the photo below.

He got me a car service to take me to the airport on my final day. We hugged and said good-bye. He thanked me for my service, and I thanked him for his.

 

FOOTBALL PREDICTIONS

Last week: 4-4

Season: 31-12

 

GAME OF THE WEEK

Burlington (4-0, 2-0 SLC) at Waterford (3-1, 2-0), Friday, 7 p.m.

Remember what happened the last time these two rivals got together?

It was the best playoff game in this series’ history.

Waterford scored in overtime, and Burlington answered with a Nick Webley touchdown.

Instead of playing it safe and tying the game with the kick, Steve Tenhagen rolled the dice with a two-point try – the same play call that yielded the touchdown.

But a deflection ended it, and the Wolverines escaped with a WIAA Level 1 playoff victory, 28-27. It was the second time in 15 years Waterford beat the Demons in the playoffs.

Also, it marked the seventh time in the last eight seasons Waterford beat Burlington.

The exception came in 2014, when a ball-hawking Demon defense forced turnovers early and dominated in Waterford.

The common denominator in the 2014 and 2018 Burlington teams is a dominant receiver – Frankie Hozeska then and Webley now.

And while Brad Burling was a dynamic pass-run threat under center, he simply didn’t have the power and grit of Dalton Damon, who is ninth in the state of Wisconsin with nearly 900 passing yards in four games.

Waterford counters with the two-headed rush attack of Dominic Miller and Tanner Keller.

After a blowout victory against a talented Badger team, Burlington had to come back late to topple Lake Geneva.

Furthermore, Waterford stayed hot last week with an impeccable defensive performance in Wilmot.

Never underestimate the power of a great high school running back (Keller) combined with a dynamic, quarterback-chasing defense.

 

PREDICTION: Waterford 35, Burlington 30

 

Other area predictions

Elkhorn 25, Wilmot 15

Catholic Central 44, Milwaukee Thomas More 19

Lake Geneva 66, Westosha Central 5

East Troy 29, Evansville 11

McFarland 40, Whitewater 13

Palmyra-Eagle 21, Pardeeville 18

Mukwonago 27, Waukesha West 21

Muskego 61, Kettle Moraine 7

Franklin 25, Oak Creek 16

 

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