Burlington quarterback Dalton Damon launches a pass while lineman Charlie Terry blocks Waterford defender Trevor Hancock during a Nov. 1 WIAA Division 2 Level 2 football game at Westosha Central (Rick Benavides/Standard Press).

Demons to face vaunted Waukesha West Friday

By Chris Bennett

Players who participated in the WIAA Division 2 Level 2 football playoff game between Waterford Union and Burlington high schools Nov. 1 will talk of the experience for years to come.

The fourth-seeded Demons, who upset No. 1 Waterford 24-18, will play at No. 3 Waukesha West in a Level 3 playoff game Friday.

West (8-3) advanced to Level 3 after beating Wilmot, seeded second, 35-0 Nov. 1 at Wilmot in a Level 2 playoff game.

The winner between West and Burlington will play either Hartford or Waunakee Nov. 8 at a neutral site Nov. 15 for a chance in the Division 2 state title game, which is Nov. 22 at Camp Randall Stadium in Madison.

Hartford, seeded No. 1 in its bracket and Waunakee, seeded No. 2, play tonight at Hartford.

Revenge game
Prior to the meeting on Nov. 1 Burlington last beat Waterford in 2014 – a 27-17 Southern Lakes Conference victory at Waterford on Sept. 19.

The Demons’ recent win snapped a six-game losing streak to the Wolverines.

The Nov. 1 contest between the Demons (9-2) and Wolverines (9-2) felt surreal before the ball was ever snapped.

Waterford’s 49-14 rout of the Demons Oct. 11 in a SLC game at Burlington loomed large, as did the weather.

The schools moved the game to Westosha Central High School in Paddock Lake after the area endured about six inches of snow late in the week.

Waterford and Burlington each play on natural grass fields. Each school decided clearing a natural grass field of heavy, wet snow would ruin the playing surface. Central’s field is a Field Turf, artificial surface.

The two teams played in a snowy, rainy mix all night, but conditions did not seem to hamper or affect either team until the fourth quarter.

The Wolverines took an 18-16 lead with 4:09 left in regulation after a 26-yard field goal by Michael Durand.

The Demons took over with good field position near their own 35-yard line. Burlington quarterback Dalton Damon and running back Zach Wallace traded carries before Damon scored on a four-yard run with one minute left in the game.

Damon scored the two-point conversion and the Demons’ defense held its own the final second to advance.

“It’s tough,” Waterford coach Adam Bakken said. “They made some plays after we kicked that field goal to take the lead in our last drive. They executed very well. I give a lot of credit to them.”

Bakken wondered if the Wolverines expected the game to be easier given the success Waterford had against the Demons in regular season play.

“In the playoffs, it’s totally different,” Bakken said. “They were a different team. They played well defensively. Their players that are usually one-way players playing defense – that had an impact.”

Coach Steve Tenhagen said the Demons were a work in progress on defense this season. Burlington replaced nine starters from last year’s unit, and recently started playing some of their offensive talent both ways.

Waterford finished with more than 300 yards of total offense, but did not get the big plays in the running game that characterized their team this season.

“We definitely loaded the box against them,” Demons coach Steve Tenhagen said. “We played (Zach) Wallace and (Ethan) Safar and (Dylan) Runkel a lot more tonight. They played the whole game on defense. The rest of the guys have continued to improve.”

The Wolverines rushed for 231 yards on 36 carries, led by 150 from Dominic Miller.

Quarterback Logan Martinson passed for 77 yards and a touchdown to Gavin Roanhouse.

The Demons’ Dalton Damon passed for 160 yards and rushed for another 62 with a touchdown. Wallace rushed for 98 yards and a score. Runkel caught three passes for 86 yards and a touchdown.

Looking ahead
In Waukesha West, Burlington is taking on an opponent that is among the finest Division 2 programs in the state for least the previous decade.

West has yet to allow a point in the postseason after shutting out Wilmot and beating sixth-seeded Kettle Moraine 31-0 Oct. 25 in a Level 1 game at West.

West finished third this past season in the hyper-competitive Classic 8 Conference this past season, which is considered among the state’s best for high school football.

West has won two titles – in Division 2 in 2004 and Division 1 in 2010 – under head coach Steve Rux.

West lost in the Division 2 state title game in 2014 and 2015.