BREAKING: Badger football slams Central, undefeated in SLC
September 10, 2011 | 03:37 PMPaddock Lake -- In high school football or any sport for that matter, big-time players make big-time plays.
On Saturday afternoon, quarterback Peter Krien, Badger's field general and offensive juggernaut, made a big-time play when his team badly needed one.
Facing a fourth and four from their own 40-yard line and clinging to a 28-21 lead over Westosha Central early in the fourth quarter, the local boys lined up in a punt formation with Krien taking the snap. But Krien took off, sprinting to the left for a 32-yard gain to keep the drive alive.
Two plays later, senior running back Ed Ruzga scampered into the end zone for a 10-yard score, giving Badger a commanding 35-21 lead on its way to a dominant 42-21 victory.
Badger improved to 3-1 overall and 2-0 in the Southern Lakes Conference. The Badgers nearly doubled the Falcons in yardage, 369-198.
Badger coach Matt Hensler said it wasn't his call on the fake punt.
"I didn't even know we called it," he said. "It's an automatic when we have them outnumbered on one side. I was as surprised as you were. Thank goodness for Rory Klean, who called it. He made a great block on the edge to spring Peter. He knows if he calls it, we better make it."
While the final score may indicate a blowout, it was very much a game in the first half.
Badger punted on its first two possessions and had a turnover on downs before finally breaking through early in the second quarter. Krien dragged three tacklers with him into the end zone for a 15-yard scoring run with 9:30 remaining until halftime.
Although the Badgers racked up 345 rushing yards for the game, they didn't start jelling offensively until their first scoring drive.
"It was a little different mentality today," Hensler said. "We weren't quite into it the way we've started the last few weeks. These kids are very coachable, and they love routine. So with a Tuesday and Saturday game, it threw us off a little."
Central fired right back with an 88-yard kickoff return for a touchdown by Aaron Fincher, tying things up at 7-7. But the Badger ground attack kept going strong. With 3:59 left in the half, Klean busted up the middle for a 17-yard score, giving Badger a 14-7 lead.
Then the Central passing game, which misfired all first half, picked it up just before the half.
Quarterback Tyler Stoxen hooked up with Jason Castona short before hitting Fincher deep, setting up a first and 10 at the Badger 13 with less than a second left. Stoxen connected with Castona, an all-conference receiver, on a slant pass with zeroes on the scoreboard to tie the game at 14-14 at the half.
Halftime is meant for adjustments, though, and Badger figured Central out on both sides of the ball in the second half.
Krien capped off a 48-yard drive with a four-yard scoring run with 8:27 left in the third quarter, putting his club back on top at 21-14. A steady dose of Krien, Klean and Chris Walker runs fueled the drive.
On Central's next drive, a big sack by Romo Barriga forced a third and long and eventual punt from the Falcons. Playing with a short field again, Klean highlighted a 40-yard drive with a three-yard touchdown run with 2:58 left in the third, building the lead to 28-14.
"I was so proud of how the guys played in the second half," Hensler said. "We did a great job defensively. Our front four were active all day. They were fighting off blocks and making plays. Castona only had one catch. Our d-backs did an awesome job. To hold the best receiver in the conference to one catch, I'll take that."
However, the home Falcons weren't ready to fly away just yet. They marched down the field on their ensuing possession, and Stoxen found Damiyan Travino for a 16-yard touchdown pass to cut Badger's lead to 28-21.
After Ruzga's decisive touchdown, Walker added one for good measure, a one-yard run at the 3:58 mark in the fourth quarter, making it 42-21. Walker's score came after the Badger defense forced a turnover on downs on the Westosha Central 1-yard line.
Krien ran for 146 yards on the day, often carrying multiple tacklers on his carries. Klean added 120 yards on 20 carries.
Badger hosts Delavan-Darien Friday night at 7 p.m. The Comets (3-1, 2-0) feature an aerial assault led by quarterback Danny Supernaw and receiver Marcus Hudson. Hensler knows it won't be easy to stay perfect in the SLC.
"We're in the hunt in the SLC, and we're very excited about that," he said. "Delavan is excellent. We're young in the defensive backfield, but we're growing up every game. We're getting better offensively, but there's definitely room for improvement across the board."
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