Lake Geneva Badger pulls away in 4th quarter
LAKE GENEVA—Lake Geneva Badger head coach Matt Hensler tabbed Elkhorn High's football team as the sleeper of the Southern Lakes Conference this past summer.
Hensler's prediction proved to be more accurate than he might have liked.
Elkhorn (4-4, 3-3) gave Lake Geneva everything it could handle for three quarters before the Badgers finally took control late in the fourth and pulled out a hard-fought 27-7 victory here Friday night.
Badger senior two-way performer Matt Reynolds scored an 84-yard touchdown on a fumble return, along with touchdown runs of 1 and 4 yards to help Badger (6-2, 5-1) remain tied atop the Southern Lakes Conference with one game to play.
Reynolds' fumble recovery was the first of three turnovers forced by the Badgers defense that led to 21 points.
“Our defense was dynamite, for sure,” Hensler said. “We did a great job stuffing those guys, and getting the takeaways was just a huge momentum lift for our team.”
Reynolds provided the biggest lift in the second quarter when he scooped up an Elks fumble at the Badger 16-yard line and scampered 84 yards for a touchdown to break a scoreless tie.
“I think there was just a little bit of that residual 'what if' in our minds after our loss last week,” said Hensler, whose team was coming off a disappointing 28-14 loss at Wilmot. “That huge scoop-and-score by Reynolds was a big-time momentum swing for us.”
The Badgers later built on their momentum in the third behind Reynolds' 4-yard touchdown run. That made it 14-0 Lake Geneva.
But the feisty Elks roared back with 10-play, 85-yard scoring drive, capped by Braden Mann's 1-yard touchdown run that cut the deficit to 14-7 early in the fourth.
The Badgers drove deep into Elks territory on the ensuing drive before Elkhorn recovered a Reynolds' fumble at the 29 with seven minutes to play.
Lake Geneva's defense, however, took control from there, nabbing a tipped Arik Anderson pass on the ensuing possession at the Elks' 31. Six plays later, Tony Ashley capitalized on the turnover with a 4-yard touchdown run to build the lead to two scores.
The Badgers then recovered an Anderson fumble at the Elks' 15, setting up Reynolds' 1-yard touchdown run with a minute to play that put the game out of reach.
“The score at the end of the game wasn't a true story of how well we played tonight,” said Elkhorn coach Tom Lee, whose team needs a victory against Burlington next week to earn a playoff berth. “After we cut the lead to 7, we caused a turnover, but they (Badger) just got it right back, proving why they are such a good team.”
• Delavan-Darien 48, Westosha Central 21—Jesse Collins threw for four touchdowns and ran for two more as the Comets kept their playof hopes alive on the road.
Collins threw for 194 yards and threw touchdown passes to three different receivers, including two to John Damrow. Collins also ran for 166 yards, scoring twice from eight yards out.
Delavan-Darien improved to 4-4 overall and 3-3 in the Southern Lakes. The Comets need to beat Waterford, which is tied for the league lead, on the road next week to advance to the postseason.
DELAVAN-DARIEN 48, WESTOSHA CENTRAL 21
Delavan-Darien 13 14 14 7—48
Westosha 7 7 7 0—21
Scoring summary: DD—Thone, 10 pass from Jesse Collins (Salas kick). WC—Kopczynski, 58 run (Kopscynski kick). DD—Stephen Rodriguez, 34 pass from Collins (Salas kick). DD—John Damrow, 28 pass from Collins (Salas kick). WC—Biehn, 8 pass from Kufuss (Kopscynski kick). DD—Collins, 8 run (Salas kick). DD—Rodriguez, 4 run (Salas kick). WC—Carey, 30 pass from Kufuss (Kopsynski kick). DD—Collins, 8 run (Salas kick). DD—Damrow, 10 pass from Collins (Salas kick).
Statistics: Rushing—DD 42-239, WC 33-139. Passing yards—DD 196, WC 169. Passes—DD 21-15-0, WC 21-13-0.