Preview: Both Badger, Burlington
October 06, 2010 | 08:36 AM
Take a trip down South Road in Lyons, and you will find plenty of households with plenty of students.
But not all of the teenagers living in this area attend Badger High School. In downtown Lyons, near Lyons Center School, an interesting dynamic occurs. It is about equidistant from Badger and Burlington High Schools.
Lyons Center actually is part of the Burlington School District. So it's very possible to have one student attend Badger High School and his or her neighbor attend Burlington High School. This could cause a verbal spat or two, or 100.
This proximity only adds fuel to the fire that is the Burlington-Badger football rivalry. Although a friendly one, geography alone makes this matchup a special one. Friday night, at about 7 p.m. at Burlington Stadium, the 2-4 football squads will face off.
Up until 1996, Badger and Burlington were both members of the Southern Lakes Conference. Under the coaching of legend Don Dalton, the Demons consistently beat the Badgers, winning many SLC titles in the process. Burlington then moved to the Southeast Conference from 1997 to 2008, but the Demons returned to the SLC last year.
The SLC has vastly improved since the 1990s. Schools such as Westosha Central, Wilmot and Waterford have continued to increase enrollment, and now all have more than 1,000 students. Delavan-Darien and Union Grove, despite being the two smallest schools, have consistently competed (Delavan currently leads the SLC at 4-0). So it hasn't been easy for Burlington since rejoining last year.
Badger exacted a 13-year revenge on the Demons at home last year with a 20-14 overtime victory. This year, both teams are in desperate situations. With a 2-2 SLC record, Badger must win two of its final three games against Burlington, Waterford and Union Grove to make the playoffs. And the Demons (1-3 SLC) must win all three games against the Badgers, Wilmot and Union Grove to advance to the playoffs for the first time since 2006.
The Badgers are hoping to make it to the second season for a fifth straight year. Last year, they advanced to the third level of the WIAA playoffs, the furthest of any Badger team.
What adds to the game is that it's Burlington's homecoming. Badger defensive coordinator Ed Krien said his squad needs this victory.
"We need two out of three to make it in, so we're treating each one of our final three games as 'must wins,' Krien stated in an e-mail Monday. "Burlington is going to be ready seeing it's their homecoming game. I'm certain they haven't forgotten last year's overtime loss to us, either, if they were looking for any other motivation."
A Burlington original
Krien graduated from Burlington High School, and he taught there for 13 years from 1989 through the 2001-02 school year.
His brother Bill coaches the sophomore Demons squad, and he will up in the booth with a headset on with the defensive coaches during Friday night's tilt.
Ed also coached wrestling and football at Burlington, and he worked alongside current head coach Hans Block and assistant coach Eric Burling.
"I have worked the Tony Romo camp a couple of times (including the last two years) when Hans needed an extra coach," Ed said. "I still consider both of those guys friends and enjoy visiting with them when we bump into each other at different sporting events and things throughout the year."
Ed's oldest son, former Badger player Brady Krien attended St. Charles in Burlington for a year, and Ed's wife taught at St. Mary's Grade School in Burlington for a couple of years. So the Burlington roots are strong for Ed.
While both programs are traditionally running teams, Ed said Badger will be ready for an expanded playbook.
"Burlington may have opened up its playbook a bit this year, but they still love to run the football," he said. "They've got a power running game and some other sets that really rely on motion and misdirection. They will throw the ball to a couple of very talented receivers. They are balanced enough that you have to respect both aspects of their game. We'll work on being very assignment solid and disciplined this week. We'll try to put our kids in position to make plays just like I know they will."
Ed gave credit to Block and his approach.
"I'm sure Hans is the preaching the same kinds of things to his kids," Ed said. "The team that does a better job executing its game plan will probably come out ahead because I believe we are evenly matched as far as personnel goes. It's a big week for both teams."