Senior captain, star receiver suffers broken leg, defense steps up to dominate Falcons

Zach Wallace’s fourth-quarter interception in the end zone assured the Falcons wouldn’t crack the scoreboard Friday night. (Mike Ramczyk/SLN)

 

 

By Mike Ramczyk

sports@southernlakesnewspapers.com

On a somber night where the Southern Lakes Conference football community honored an injured player, the Burlington Demons dealt with an injury of their own.

A 24-0 victory over Westosha Central in Paddock Lake helped Burlington improve to 5-1 and become WIAA playoff eligible, but the Demons may be without star wide receiver Nick Webley for the rest of the season.

The Falcons remained winless (0-6, 0-4 SLC).

Two weeks removed from an invite to Camp Randall Stadium to watch the Wisconsin Badgers play and potentially pick his college football destination, Webley was in a hospital bed late Friday and into Saturday with a broken fibula, according to Webley.

“I’m feeling alright,” Webley said via text message Friday night. “I broke my fibula but luckily don’t need any surgery.”

On Saturday morning, Webley confirmed he will need surgery.

“It’s worse then they thought, and I am going to need surgery.”

In the second quarter, Webley was undercut by a Falcon defender. He needed to be carted off the field.

Initial reports from the sideline indicated a serious leg injury.

Not only does Webley account for 38 percent of the Demon offense (12 touchdowns, or 72 of 190 points), and 150 total yards per game, his leadership qualities off the field make him a special athlete.

One could argue Webley’s positive attitude and belief in his teammates are every bit as important as his play on the field. And even on weekends, you can find Webley and teammates helping in the community at youth football games.

Burlington head coach Steve Tenhagen said after Friday’s game that it won’t be easy to replace the 6-foot-3, 200 pound force.

“He’s at the hospital right now, and it’s a lower leg injury, that’s all I know,” Tenhagen said. “When you take a player that’s contributed as much to our offense this season as Nick has, other players are going to have to step up.”

“Any time you lose a leader that’s an ‘all-in’ guy, that’s put in the time and the effort, he’ll be alright at the end of the day. Whether or not he comes back and plays, we’ll find that out later, he’ll be around and be the leader we need him to be.”

“Julian’s done it for us all year long with his injury. Unfortunately it’s a part of the game. They don’t stop the game after it happens. Next guy has to step up and be ready to go.”

 

Anderson turns the tide

With the game tied at 0-0 midway through the third quarter and Central seemingly poised to snatch the Demons’ hearts after such a deflating injury to Burlington’s best player, it was the defense that stepped up.

Senior linebacker Zach Anderson stripped Myles Kazumura at midfield, and the ball bounced directly under the short, powerful Anderson.

He picked it up and scampered 50 yards for a scoop and score that gave Burlington a 7-0 lead with 7 minutes to play in the third.

“That got us some momentum we definitely lacked,” Tenhagen said. “It gave us a spark, and we played better.”

That was all the offense needed as a wake-up call.

The Demons would score on their next three possessions, beginning with an 8-yard toss from Damon to Jack Hartzell to make it 14-0 late in the third quarter.

But a game Falcons squad simply wouldn’t go away.

On the next possession, Cam Krueger snagged a deep ball for 35 yards to set up the Falcons in Burlington territory.

A few plays later, Central advanced to the red zone.

That’s when sophomore Zach Wallace took over.

Playing safety for Webley, Wallace jumped a deep post in the end zone for a leading interception.

He turned around and busted a 50-yard run, showing elusive speed down the left sideline, to set up more points, this time a Cora Anderson 21-yard field goal.

Damon powered his way for an 8-yard touchdown run on a read option to finish the scoring with 3 minutes to play.

“Westosha brought a level of physicality that I hadn’t seen on film, and we didn’t,” Tenhagen said. “A lot had to do with penalties. You have to adapt to the officiating. There were a lot of holding calls, and it went both ways.”

“Our defense did a tremendous job, as we expected them to. We have to play better offensively, but we wore them down in the second half.”

Wallace ran for a game-high 119 yards on 12 carries.

Dalton was a workmanlike 10-for-20 for 116 yards through the air, and added 87 yards on the ground.

The Demons committed 11 penalties to Westosha’s four.

Also, despite the close score most of the game, the Demons outgained the Falcons, 343-192.

The ring leader of the dominant defensive effort was senior defensive lineman Brian Konz, who led the team with five tackles including an impressive three for loss.

Konz added a quarterback sack.

Josh Letkewicz added five tackles, and Jack Shenkenberg had four.

Steven Tully and Wyatt Hayes both contributed three tackles.

Players from both teams were wearing a decal on their helmets with the number 90 in honor of Elkhorn junior football player Michael Lois, who suffered severe neck injuries due to a pool accident Sunday.

Burlington returns home Friday at 7 p.m. for its annual Homecoming game, against Tenhagen’s first coaching home, Delavan-Darien (1-5, 0-4 SLC).

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