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BREAKING: Badgers, Chiefs march on to second round of football playoffs

October 26, 2010 | 09:45 PM
Football is a game of momentum.

And a big play can either ascend a team to victory or deflate it to defeat.

In a Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association Division 1 playoff opener at home Tuesday night, the Badger football squad used momentum-changing plays in all three phases to edge Janesville Parker, 16-14.

It was Badger's sixth straight victory (6-4 overall). Parker's season ended at 6-4. The win was Badger's first ever Division 1 playoff victory and third playoff opening round win in four years. Coach Matt Hensler said it was an exciting game.

"Parker is a very good team that is rich in history," he said. "For us to play those guys for the first time is a pretty big deal for us. Our defensive line was very aggressive and did a great job. Also, our linebackers did a great job reading plays. And Branden Allen flew through alleys tonight."

The first big play came with time winding down in the first half. After Badger linebacker Nick Stilp came up with a huge stuff on a fourth and three play, quarterback Peter Krien went to work. On second and 10 from his own 34, Krien faked a handoff to Rory Klean, cut it up the middle behind a sea of white jerseys and broke to the outside. Sixty-six yards later, Krien was in the end zone with a long touchdown run that gave Badger a commanding 16-7 halftime lead.

"Everyone said we wouldn't have much of a chance in D1, but we proved them wrong tonight," Krien said. "On the touchdown run, I kept it and followed my blockers."

But Parker was far from done. After Badger missed an opportunity to blow the game wide open with an incomplete halfback pass deep down the right sideline, Parker broke through the line for its first big break of the game. Punting from deep inside his own territory, Badger's Brendan Gruenwald-Schmitz had his kick blocked. This set up Parker with a first and 10 at Badger's 17 midway through the fourth quarter.

Badger clamped down defensively, pushing Parker back on third and fourth down at Badger's one-yard line for a turnover on downs. Parker standout running back Adam Vesterfelt, who carried the ball 39 times for 141 yards, couldn't penetrate the stout Badger defense.

To ice the victory, Badger came through on special teams. After advancing the ball to the Badger 5-yard line, Gruenwald-Schmitz redeemed himself in grand fashion, booting a 24-yard punt.

With around two minutes left, Parker drove 34 yards and scored with 58 seconds remaining. But an errant onside kick traveled out of bounds, and Badger took a knee three times to solidify the win.

Badger, the third seed, will travel to second-seeded Kenosha Bradford (8-1) Saturday for a second-round game. The Red Devils pounded Milwaukee Bay View, 70-8, Tuesday night. But the Badgers won't back down by any means.

"They're the best team in the state according to a lot of people," Hensler said of Bradford. "We have to switch gears and adjust our mindset. We have to get healthy and get our bodies under us. Our biggest task is to play aggressive and confident. We have a situation where we absolutely have nothing to lose."

Check www.lakegenevanews.net for more information on both Badger and Big Foot's second-round games.

Big Foot 35, Lake Mills 0

Walworth — The Chiefs scored all of their points in the first half en route to a first-round thrashing of the L-Cats.

Top-seeded Big Foot (8-2) posted its third straight shutout in style, holding Lake Mills to zero first downs in the first half and nine rushing yards the entire game.

Equally impressive was the ground attack. Sophomore Mason Dixon racked up 224 yards rushing on 18 carries, 151 of which came in the first quarter.

Also, junior quarterback Jake Wedig ran for two scores and threw one, a 70-yard strike on a slant to sophomore receiver Matt Ripkey. Ripkey caught the ball in stride 20 yards downfield then outran everyone. Coach Rodney Wedig commended the offensive line.

"The O-line has been our strength," Wedig said. "We have really challenged them. They were opening huge holes for Mason."

Wedig added he was very impressed by the dominant defensive effort.

Junior running back Kenny Walker added an 11-yard touchdown in the first quarter.

Big Foot will travel to Kiel (7-3) Saturday. Kiel beat Racine St. Catherine's 18-15 in overtime Tuesday night.

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