September 17, 2013 | 03:24 PMOn the last drive of the second quarter, Badger was only ahead by a touchdown against tough divisional rival Burlington High School.
Badger’s offense had been quivering with potential all night, but was stalled by penalties and was unable to bust loose.
For instance, fullback Andrew Allen tore through a gap in the Burlington line and ran 71 yards for a touchdown. But the run was called back on a holding penalty.
Two plays later, running back Matt Reynolds beat Burlington around the edge and zipped down the sideline for a 55-yard score, but that one was called back too. Holding again.
Badger was unable to score on that last drive before time expired in the half, but it was clear they were capable of much more. And in the third quarter, boy did they show it.
The Badger offense blew the game open in the second half and defeated Burlington 41-12 in what was supposed to be a close game between two rivals.
Badger won despite being slapped with 10 penalties for 78 yards. But even the sky-high penalty yardage wasn’t tall enough to cast a shadow on their palpable run game.
Time and time again, Badger backs found daylight. There were gaping holes in the Burlington line. The Demon linebackers were tightly sealed.
Allen ran for 179 yards and a touchdown, which put him on pace for a 1,300-yard season. And quarterback Collin Broderick had a break-out night.
Broderick ran for 123 yards and two touchdowns while posting 20 yards in the air including a 14-yard touchdown pass.
“Collin’s been nothing short of everything we want,” Badger coach Matt Hensler said after the game. “He’s done a great job.”
In the first three games, Broderick competently ran Hensler’s black-and-blue option offense. He proved Friday he could do a lot more than that.
Broderick’s first strike came with 2:48 left in the first quarter — a beautiful 14-yard touchdown pass to Reynolds. His second was an 18-yard touchdown run early in the second half. The third was a nearly identical 22-yard touchdown run six minutes later.
Broderick did throw an interception on the third play of the second half, though, with Badger only up 13-6. It put Burlington in great position to tie up the game from its own 33 yard line.
Fortunately for Broderick, his tenacious defense forced a Burlington fumble two plays later.
“In the first half I was rushing my throws,” Broderick said. “I threw that pick and the [offensive] line really stepped up.”
The rest of the game was all Badger. Broderick ran for two touchdowns and Tony Ashley snagged a 12-yard TD run in the third quarter.
Badger scored again in fourth-quarter garbage time — a 27-yard run by backup QB Tom Ritzman.
“We’re putting together long drives,” Broderick said. “Once the line gets their assignments down, we backs take care of the rest.”
Burlington couldn’t find an answer. Demons’ quarterback Brad Burling connected with Luke Dahl for a 13-yard score early in the fourth quarter, but it was too little too late.
“Up front, I think they’re really, really good.” Hensler said of Burlington. “Their offensive line is dominant.”
But the Badgers shredded that dominant offensive line and forced two turnovers while allowing only 215 yards of total offense.
Badger had 485 total yards.
“Obviously this was another big step for us,” Hensler said. “But we also saw plenty of things we got to fix. It was kind of a coach’s dream to get the win and still see what we need to improve.”
And improvement comes down to the penalties.
“Penalties, penalties, penalties,” Hensler said. “Penalties are a big issue.”
In the past two games, Badger has been penalized 21 times for 187 yards despite their lopsided victories. To put that into perspective — their opponents have only been penalized five times for 29 yards.
It’s a problem that might be hard to notice behind back-to-back double-digit wins, but the players agree – it’s there.
“We need to stop the mental mistakes,” said Badger lineman Logan Tenney. “I think we can score on anyone.”
The Badgers (3-1) will travel to Westosha Central High School this Friday, to take on the Falcons (0-4) in their first away game in three weeks. The Falcons have been outscored by opponents 88-6 this season, and have been vulnerable to the run, allowing more than 108 rushing yards per game.
Badger and Elkhorn are the only undefeated teams in the Southern Lakes Conference.