Members of the Union Grove High School football shout in celebration to their supportive student section following the Broncos overtime victory against visiting Lake Geneva Badger Oct. 4 (Chad Hensiak/Southern Lakes Newspapers).

Broncos capture 1st SLC win

By Jason Arndt

Snagging victories has been a challenge for Union Grove in a highly competitive Southern Lakes Conference.

However, in an Oct. 4 Homecoming showdown with Lake Geneva, the Broncos finally captured their first conference win of the season 33-27 in thrilling fashion.

The thrilling contest, which saw a 27-27 deadlock after regulation, came to an enjoyable end for the Broncos in the first overtime.

After Lake Geneva Badger could not score to open overtime, the Broncos capitalized on the next possession, thanks to a Nick Williams’ 5-yard touchdown run on a read option from quarterback Nash Wolf.

“I saw a lot of Badgers coming at me, but I knew in my heart that I was going to be in the end zone,” Williams said about the decisive score.

For Wolf, who completed 14 of 21 passes for 166 yards, had a hunch his teammate would find the end zone to secure the win on Homecoming.

“That is a read option, so I tossed it to Nick and he scored. I knew he was going to get in,” he said. “We are so happy that all of our hard work has finally paid off and finally got the dub, especially on Homecoming.”

Williams, meanwhile, added the team continued to show resilience throughout the season.

“All of the adversity our team has been through, it is just so good to end up on the winning side,” he said.

Union Grove (2-5, 1-4 SLC) plays at Elkhorn Friday.

The Badgers, who find themselves in a peculiar spot, must win the next two games to qualify for the post season.

Lake Geneva (4-3, 2-3 SLC) hosts Delavan-Darien (2-5, 1-4 SLC) Friday before concluding its season against unbeaten Waterford (7-0, 5-0 SLC) on Oct. 18.

Minimizing mistakes
McClelland said his team’s ability to minimize its own mistakes while capitalizing on Badger’s miscues were key components to the Oct. 4 victory.

While Badger committed five turnovers, including three lost fumbles, Union Grove remained flawless on offense.

Additionally, the Badgers committed 19 penalties for 183 total yards, compared to Union Grove’s 10 for 90 yards.

“Going against Lake Geneva, you are always facing a disciplined team,” he said. “You got to understand that you can’t make many mistakes.”

Stopping the Badgers run game, consisting of bruising fullback Cole Gabor-Pullen, was another matter.

Gabor-Pullen, a 6-foot-1 and 226 pound senior, entered Friday’s contest with 849 yards rushing through six games.

“You got to pack it in, they got a big fullback, and Badger does a really good job of running the triple option,” McClelland said.

“Our biggest thing was taking away the run, taking away the inside run, which for the most part, we did a really good job of doing that.”

Although Gabor-Pullen amassed 139 yards on 21 carries, most of them came in the first half before the Broncos’ defense started taking away the inside rush in the third and fourth quarter.

“We had over 200 yards rushing in the first half, but we just kept giving them the ball,” Hensler said. “They played very well and played better than us.”

The Broncos’ mission to minimize the run game in the second half forced Lake Geneva to turn to its passing attack.

Grant DuMez, who went 5-for-11 in passing for 76 yards, threw two second half interceptions.

“We kind of got them out their element and made them throw the ball,” McClelland said.

Back-and-forth battle
Badger, however, carried a 13-6 edge into the second quarter following two rushing touchdowns.

After Carter Lazzaroni ran in for a 41-yard score, the Broncos answered with a 24-yard touchdown run by Garrett Foldy, which cut the Badgers’ lead to 7-6 following a failed kick.

A touchdown by Gabor-Pullen and failed kick put Badger ahead 13-6 after the first quarter.

The Broncos, meanwhile, responded in the second quarter with two touchdowns to take a 20-13 lead entering halftime.

Wolf opened the scoring with 2-yard run and later found Ryan Davis for 30-yard touchdown strike.

Badger reclaimed the lead in the third quarter, thanks to a Tannor Garrels 2-yard run followed by a DuMez 10-yard score, which put Lake Geneva ahead 27-20.

Wolf then answered in the fourth quarter with a 1-yard touchdown run to force overtime, where the Badgers could not convert in their first possession.

“Nash does a great job, he is a little bit of an undersized kid, as junior, but just puts it all on the line,” said McClelland, whose team improved to 2-5 overall and 1-5 in the SLC.

To read the entire story, see the Oct. 11 edition of the Westine Report.