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September 21, 2012 | 08:59 PMA couple minutes into the fourth quarter Friday night, it was gut-check time for the Badger football team.
Facing the rival Wilmot Panthers and clinging to a 21-7 lead, the Badgers were deep in Panther territory and looking to put the game out of reach. In need of a big play, Badger coach Matt Hensler called timeout.
Irate, Hensler marched on the field and emphatically begged "somebody, anybody" on the offense to step up. Badger turned the ball over on downs on its previous series, and a stingy Wilmot defense had been causing Badger fits.
Junior Matt Reynolds heard Hensler loud and clear.
Two plays later, the two-way star took a pitch left, broke two tackles and plunged into the end zone for the dagger, giving Badger a 27-7 lead with just under 10 minutes to play. Reynolds added another score for good measure, and the host Badgers knocked off the pesky Panthers, 34-7.
Badger improved to 4-1 overall and is tied atop the Southern Lakes Conference standings with Waterford (4-0). With three SLC games left, Badger's showdown with Waterford Oct. 11 at Waterford could be for the conference title.
Wilmot fell to 3-2 and 2-2 in the SLC.
Badger's defense was menacing in the second half and caused Wilmot's pass-first offense all kinds of headaches. In the second half alone, Wilmot quarterbacks threw four interceptions, one each to Trent Bobula, Austin Borst, Peter Krien and James Langnes. Bobula and Borst finished with two picks each, and Badger picked off a total of six errant Wilmot tosses.
Up 27-7, Badger's relentless pursuit of quarterback Noah Strasser led to a Krien pick. Then, Krien reeled off a 20-yard run to set up Badger at the Wilmot 12. On fourth and 3 from the 4-yard line, Krien's quarterback sneak set up a first and goal. Badger stacked the backfield in a full-house look, and Reynolds punched it in off left tackle.
Krien, a senior quarterback, had a monster game, racking up 203 yards on 26 carries with two touchdowns. The two scores were 41 and 87 yards and gave Badger a 13-0 lead in the first quarter.
After a 27-yard touchdown strike from Strasser to Erik Nevoso made it 13-7 after one quarter, Badger senior fullback Robert Johnson answered with a 31-yard scoring scamper in the second quarter. A Krien two-point run gave Badger a 21-7 advantage.
Badger totaled 351 yards on the ground, slightly less than its season average of 386.
Wilmot only managed 207 yards, 34 of which came on the ground. The Panthers also committed 11 penalties, whereas Badger committed a season-low four.
Check Wednesday's Regional News for comments and photos from the game.
Big Foot 63, Beloit Turner 0
Thanks to an astounding 42-point first quarter, the Chiefs increased their Rock Valley Conference win streak to 40 games Friday night in Beloit.
Big Foot improved to 5-0 overall and 4-0 in the RVC South, where it stands alone in first place.
Everybody had a turn offensively, as the starters were taken out by the second quarter.
Quarterback Carter Hehr did just about everything, returning a kick, throwing and running for a total of four touchdowns. Hehr ran back the opening kickoff 70 yards for six, and the rout was on.
Matt Ripkey and Daniel Pierce caught touchdowns from Hehr.
Senior Mason Dixon, Walworth County's leading rusher, went off for 131 yards on a mere five carries and added three scores.
Brandon Hausner and Jon Recob added touchdowns on the ground.
Hehr was five of five passing for 83 yards for a perfect quarterback rating of 158.3.
Big Foot outgained the Trojans, 409-155.
Other area scores
Fall River 41, Williams Bay 0
Waterford 27, Westosha Central 0
Evansville 26, Whitewater 6
McFarland 22, East Troy 6
Burlington 55, Delavan-Darien 21
Burlington Catholic Central 42, Shoreland Lutheran 12
Brodhead/Juda 41, Clinton 13
Elkhorn 35, Union Grove 16