Wilmot honored Michael Lois last week. Can the Panthers upset Badger tonight? (Earlene Frederick/SLN)

 

This kind of stuff happens every year in the Southern Lakes Conference.

A few football teams start out blazing hot, taking the world by storm and turning heads in the media and among local social circles.

Waterford and Burlington were those teams this fall.

But it’s been two months now since the season began, and oh, how things have changed.

While the Wolverines keep rolling, the Demons lost their top player, Nick Webley, to a broken fibula last week.

Webley underwent successful surgery Saturday and is in good spirits. He was in the top 10 in the Milwaukee area in receiving yards and receiving touchdowns. Furthermore, he has already been invited to Camp Randall stadium for a visit with the Wisconsin Badgers.

We’re pulling for you, Nick, get well.

Burlington emphasized the run during the second half of their 24-0 victory at Westosha Central last Friday, with sophomore Zach Wallace busting off a 50-yard run and including a game-changing interception in the end zone with the Falcons threatening to make it a ball game.

Now for the teams that started slow and are cooking.

Lake Geneva Badger, which started 0-4 for the first time in the Matt Hensler era (12 years), is suddenly 2-4 and 2-2 in the Southern Lakes, and two wins in their last three games will garner an area-best 12th straight playoff appearance.

And please don’t sleep on the Wilmot Panthers. Owners of the best pass rush in the SLC, thanks to Kevin Brenner and company, along with the biggest, most physical back in Austin Norton, the Panthers have the overall depth to compete even though they lost starting quarterback Zack Lamberson for the season.

Junior Zack Watson takes over for the Panthers, and while he’s used to playing running back and receiver, he did play the second half of last week’s 24-7 victory over Union Grove.

So even though Waterford and Burlington lead the conference with 5-1 overall and 3-1 league marks, the Panthers (3-1) and Badgers (2-2) should still make the postseason.

With Homecoming at Burlington High School this weekend, expect a Demons roster to rock and roll with a crooked number on the scoreboard.

What do you remember about Homecoming?

I went freshman year with a girl I thought liked me, then she got to the dance and ditched me.

Sophomore year, I was “cool” so I went with a group of the “cool” kids, with a girl who’s a friend.

Junior year, I went stag with a guy who’s a friend, and by senior year, I FINALLY had a date!

Jessica Wells. From Wind Lake. Gorgeous. Funny. Awesome. I was in love? Maybe.

We danced, it was a good night, but I found out when I dropped her off she only wanted to be friends.

Dreams crushed.

Heart broken.

High school, man, high school.

The moral of the story is go to Homecoming, experience all the beauty, dancing and mingling, but keep things in perspective.

If that certain someone doesn’t dance with you, or calls you a name, or humiliates you in front of 10 people who proceed to laugh, don’t worry.

It’s going to be OK.

It worked out for me! I’m a dad, I’m married and I’m loving life.

So have a blast, kids, and please be safe.

 

FOOTBALL PREDICTIONS

Last week: 11-1

Season: 49-15

 

Game of the Week

Wilmot (3-3, 3-1 SLC) at Lake Geneva Badger (2-4, 2-2 SLC), 7 p.m., Friday

Thanks to a dip in competition, the Badger have won two straight in convincing fashion.

In a system that takes an entire season to learn, especially with young players in the offensive backfield, the Badgers have been taking huge strides.

They hung tough with Waterford for one half, and nearly upset Burlington on the road.

Wilmot benefits on its home turf with great team speed.

But a backup quarterback is still a backup quarterback, though Watson is very good. It’s just a lot to ask him to go into Lake Geneva and beat the three-time defending conference champion.

The Badgers continue their hot stretch with a tough-nosed victory.

 

PREDICTION: Lake Geneva Badger 21, Wilmot 14

 

Elkhorn (2-4, 2-2 SLC) at Union Grove (3-3, 2-2), 7 p.m., Friday

In what on paper looks like an intriguing matchup, it will be interesting to see how the Elks bounce back after the nightmare of emotion that was last Friday night.

Just a week removed from their best player, friend and team leader Michael Lois suffering a frightening neck injury and being in jeopardy of never walking again, Elkhorn had to visit SLC-leading Waterford, a team that hadn’t lost at home in years.

It was a lopsided loss, but football simply didn’t matter.

Lois was on the minds of the entire conference, as all eight teams wore a No. 80 decal sticker on their helmets.

On Wednesday, Hayley Lois, Michael’s mom, said Michael is working hard on physical therapy and is returning to Children’s Hospital Friday for more X-rays.

The hope is to have Michael, who has been out of school since his accident Sept. 16, back in the classroom Tuesday.

On the field, the Grove was very much in the game against a strong Wilmot team last week.

The Broncos have an explosive offense and an underrated defense, led by playmakers in the front seven.

Look for a raucous home crowd to help the Grove continue its quest for a playoff appearance for the first time since 2015.

 

PREDICTION: Union Grove 35, Elkhorn 18

 

Other area predictions

Burlington 40, Delavan-Darien 10

Waterford 63, Westosha Central 7

Big Foot 33, Evansville/Albany 30

East Troy 42, Edgerton 14

Franklin 37, Kenosha Indian Trail 17

Palmyra-Eagle 31, Markesan 29

Muskego 65, Oconomowoc 12

Mukwonago 24, Waukesha North 9

Brodhead/Juda 44, Whitewater 26

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