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BREAKING: Clock strikes midnight on Badger Cinderella run

Chiefs clobber Kiel

October 30, 2010 | 07:24 PM
Kenosha -- A giant task awaited the Badger football team Saturday afternoon.

All the boys had to do was knock off Kenosha Bradford on its home turf in a WIAA Division 1 Level 2 tilt. The Red Devils came into the game 9-1, ranked third in the state and averaged 57.6 points per game. They have numerous D1 recruits including running back Melvin Gordon, who already is committed to Iowa.

Badger rode a six-game win streak into the contest thanks to a 16-14 playoff-opening win.

The local boys hung with Bradford for the first half, but explosive play after explosive play decimated the Badgers en route to a 54-24 loss. Badger coach Matt Hensler said his team was leery heading into the contest.

"I thought we were nervous," he said. "That affected us quite a bit. We were playing pretty tentatively in the first half. If you're not going full speed against Bradford, they will absolutely make you pay."

Bradford scored touchdowns of 40 or more yards four times, and every time Badger gained some momentum, the Red Devils came back with a big play.

Badger caught its first break of the game with 4:28 remaining in the second quarter. Down 27-10, the boys were forced to punt. Brendan Gruenwald-Schmitz booted the ball about 30 yards to midfield, where the ball bounced off Vonte Jackson's helmet. Trevor York recovered the fumble to set up Badger at Bradford's 44. Badger methodically moved the ball down the field with runs by York, Peter Krien and a heavy dosage of Rory Klean. On third and seven from the 9, Krien baited Bradford's defense with a fake dive to Klean and found York over the middle for a nine-yard scoring strike to cut the lead to 27-17 with 37.3 seconds left in the first half.

However, the Red Devils weren't done scoring by any means. On the second play of the ensuing drive, Bradford quarterback Gino DeBartolo rolled left and hooked up with Jackson for a 44-yard touchdown pass that drove a knife through Badger's comeback chances.

"That was huge," Hensler said. "It never should have happened."

Bradford increased its lead to 48-17 before York scored Badger's last touchdown on a one-yard run with 10:01 remaining in the game made the score 48-24. York put Badger deep inside Bradford territory with a 40-yard run on the drive. An unsportsmanlike penalty on Bradford set up Badger with a first and goal, then York punched it in. Despite a 31-point lead, Bradford defenders were talking "trash" during the drive and were penalized twice.

Playing in his last high school game, York racked up 116 total yards, including 107 on the ground, and two touchdowns. Klean led the charge with 142 yards on the ground with a touchdown. Krien added 77 yards.

Badger finished with a 6-5 record after starting 0-4. Senior Mario Blanquel said team play turned around the season.

"You could see guys' heads down at the beginning of the season," he said. "It was hard to stick with it. The seniors had to talk to the younger guys to stay together. And we played like a team the last seven games. It was a great year to start off like that and come back like that. I will never forget it."

Check Wednesday's Regional News for a complete story including photos and quotes from Hensler, Adam Van Schyndel, Blanquel and Brad Nugent.

Big Foot 39, Kiel 7

The Chiefs kept rolling along in a Division 4 Level 2 playoff game Saturday with 25 first-half points in another rout at Kiel.

Big Foot coach Rodney Wedig said it was his squad's most complete game of the year offensively and defensively.

"It was the best our offense has done all year, and Adam Bakken's game plan on defense was sound," Wedig said.

Sophomore running back Mason Dixon ran for more than 100 first-half yards for the second straight week en route to a 134-yard performance with a touchdown.

Kenny Walker rushed for 103 yards, while Jordan Gottman added 75 total yards including a touchdown run and a two-point conversion.

Big Foot (9-2) will return to Walworth to face New Holstein (8-3) next Saturday at 3 p.m. New Holstein downed Lakeside Lutheran 26-20 Saturday.

Check Wednesday's Regional News for a full story.

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