Mukwonago, East Troy, Waterford could all be underdogs

Dominic Miller (left) and Tanner Keller celebrate a touchdown earlier this season. The dynamic duo leads the 9-1 Waterford Wolverines into Friday night’s WIAA Level 2 playoff contest against Waukesha West. (Rick Benavides/SLN)

 

Whoa.

What happened last weekend?

The Southern Lakes Newspapers coverage area began the 2018 WIAA high school football playoffs with a wealth of prospects, six teams spanning four divisions.

But after Wilmot got upset, Burlington was shut out, Palmyra-Eagle fell and Lake Geneva Badger was shut down, only three squads remain – Waterford, Mukwonago and East Troy.

While the Wolverines take on mighty Waukesha West, East Troy and the state’s leading rusher, Jake Dessart, must travel to top-seeded Catholic Memorial.

The Classic 8 is by far the state’s best conference, with the likes of West, Memorial, Muskego, Mukwonago, Arrowhead and Kettle Moraine all winning last week, even with some being lower seeds.

So what on Earth can little Waterford and little East Troy, two programs stuck playing inferior conference competition, do to shock the world?

Well, Waterford has home field advantage, but West is fresh off a two-touchdown, 41-26 victory at Wilmot, the same place where Waterford struggled to a 24-14 win.

From 2012-15, West eliminated Waterford from the postseason, with quarterback Conor Blount (currently a walk-on QB at Oregon State University) leading a 60-0 annihilation of Waterford in 2015.

Blount’s younger brother, Brooks, now leads West, and their only losses are to four playoff teams, including top-ranked Muskego.

Muskego was able to win, 30-7, by running just about every play, something Waterford is also capable of doing.

Is Waterford as potent as Muskego? No.

But it’s all about matchups when the playoffs roll around, and Waterford matches up well with West, which features a dynamic quarterback, running back and receiver.

Adam Bakken will have his defense ready, especially at home.

As for the Trojans, I don’t see East Troy handling the 9-1 Crusaders, who feature quarterback Jake Fox and his 1,726 passing yards, 21 touchdowns and two picks.

Memorial’s only loss came to undefeated Muskego, by a mere one point.

Dessart, who plays quarterback, has run for more than 2,200 yards and led the Trojans to their first ever playoff victory last week.

However, playing from behind will ground East Troy’s dominant rushing attack.

Mukwonago, playing in its first postseason in four years, pummeled Lake Geneva Badger, 33-15, but must now go on the road to face the high-powered No. 2 Franklin Sabers.

Quarterback Justin Peck leads the Indians with 1,500 passing yards and 18 touchdowns, and Josh Jendusa has racked up 1,730 rushing yards with 15 scores. Peck’s 1-2 connection is receiver Wesley Jucszak, who’s hauled in 45 catches for 885 yards and six touchdowns.

Matt Devinger has passed for 20 touchdowns for the high-flying Sabers’ attack.

Something about this game, though, reeks of upset, I’m just saying.

 

FOOTBALL PREDICTIONS

Last week: 4-2

Season: 75-25

 

WIAA PLAYOFFS

 

Game of the Week

Division 2

(6) Waukesha West (6-4) 35, (2) Waterford (9-1) 28

 

Division 1

(3) Mukwonago (6-4) 30, (2) Franklin (10-0) 28

Division 3

(1) Catholic Memorial (9-1) 44, (5) East Troy (8-2) 30

 

 

 

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