still in search of first win
September 08, 2010 | 08:36 AM
West Allis — Currently, the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association awards playoff berths to high school teams that end the regular season with a winning record in their conference.
Just like their winless neighbors at Williams Bay and Big Foot, that is very good news to the Badger football team.
Badger rallied for 14 unanswered points before falling in the fourth quarter en route to a 17-14 defeat at the hands of nonconference foe West Allis Hale Friday night.
Badger, now 0-2, will begin the Southern Lakes season Friday at home against Delavan-Darien. Coach Matt Hensler is relieved that the nonconference season is finally behind his squad.
"The preseason is over," he said. "Now it's for real. All the games from here on out will count. We really want a good start in the SLC. It means more than anything."
The Huskies lit up the scoreboard first with a touchdown run late in the first quarter.
Trailing 7-0 at halftime, Badger made some adjustments that paid off nicely in the third quarter.
The local boys reeled off touchdowns on their first two drives of the second half. And junior fullback Rory Klean was dominant in the process.
He scored on a one-yard touchdown with eight minutes left in the third quarter, then turned right around and scored on an eight-yard jaunt with around five minutes left in the same quarter to give Badger a 14-7 lead.
The second score was set up by a Brandon Allen fumble recovery at the Husky 30-yard line.
Then special teams blunders helped lead to a Husky comeback. Badger's Brendan Gruenwald-Schmitz shanked a punt from his own end zone in the beginning of the fourth quarter which set the Huskies up at the Badger 15. However, Badger's stout defense held West Allis to a field goal, cutting the lead to 14-10.
On Badger's next possession, an all-out Husky blitz forced a Max Fanning fumble, and Hale was again in business at Badger's 15. They once again took it right down Badger's throats for a scoring run, making the contest 17-14 with seven minutes remaining in the game.
Hensler said a fatigued defense had trouble stopping the Huskies in the fourth quarter.
Badger punted with three minutes left, but the local boys got the ball back with a little under a minute left.
After a long completion to Trevor York, a Hail Mary pass was picked by West Allis.
Klean led Badger in rushing with 88 yards on 19 carries with the two touchdowns. Fanning finished with 50 yards passing on three completions.
Hensler said his squad is still learning on the fly.
"Hale ran multiple schemes and blitzes, and our offensive line couldn't keep up," he said. "We are inexperienced there. But we are improving by leaps and bounds every day. They picked up a lot more stuff Friday. There were about eight plays where we were one guy missing an assignment from breaking a big play on offense. And Hale improved defensively from when we beat them last year."
Now Badger will have to face a tough Delavan-Darien team that has averaged 50 points per game in its two wins this year. Running back Justin Fowlkes rattled off three long touchdown runs Friday and gained 183 yards in a 34-14 win at defending Division 4 state champion Big Foot.
Hensler knows his team must get amped up for the high-powered Comets.
"They have shifted to running the ball more this year instead of passing," he said. "Fowlkes is quite a bit stronger than last year. But we had a big jump in attitude and effort last week. We will stay the course on offense and watch a lot of film in preparation."