Source: Lake Geneva Regional News

BREAKING: Badgers withstand 21-point rally, bash Burlington
Local boys rack up 432 yards on offense

by Mike Ramczyk

September 01, 2011

On Tuesday night at Badger High School, dominance turned into humiliation for the Badger football team, but the end result was sweet, sweet redemption.

The local boys jumped out to a 28-0 halftime lead in a Southern Lakes opener against Burlington. Game over, right?

Wrong.

Despite a flurry of 21 unanswered second-half points from Burlington, the Badgers persevered with a late touchdown en route to a 35-21 victory.

Badger improved to 2-1 overall and 1-0 in the SLC. Burlington dropped to 1-2 and 0-1.

What a roller coaster ride for both teams. Badger dominated the first half, doing whatever it wanted on offense. Quarterback Peter Krien busted through for two touchdowns and threw for a 50-yard score to receiver Jake Kozlowski on a play where there wasn't a Burlington defender within 20 yards. Rory Klean's 9-yard punishing scoring run gave Badger a 28-0 lead with 2:43 left in the first half.

But before the Burlington faithful could leave the stadium and start their cars, their team came to life.

Luke Syens began the comeback with a 79-yard touchdown run with 11 minutes left in the third quarter, then quarterback Jayden Essman hooked up with Kasey Solofra on an 11-yard check down to the flat to cut the Badger halftime lead in half at 28-14.

It became a full-fledged comeback when Burlington recovered a Klean fumble with 10 seconds left in the third. After a solid drive led by a 19-yard Chris Walker run and a couple first down runs, Klean was about to score but had the ball jarred loose just before he crossed the goal line. Burlington drove 80 yards, highlighted by a 57-yard pass to junior receiver Ty Dennis, a Lyons Township resident. Essman capped off the drive with a 5-yard strike to Chad Redmer, inching closer to Badger at 28-21.

On its ensuing possession, Badger only gained a yard before punting. Burlington fired back with a 40-yard pass to Dennis, but a huge stuff by Badger defensive back Matt Reynolds stymied Burlington's momentum. He stuck Syens on a sweep right for a loss of 5, setting up a second and 15 at the Badger 44.

After a false start, Essman found Dennis on a deep slant on third and 20, but the ball slipped through his hands. On fourth and 20, the Burlington punter dropped the ball, putting Badger in excellent field position at the Burlington 40.

Krien showed the heart of a champion after that. On the first play, he dragged several tacklers for a 25-yard gain. Later in the drive, a toss to Ed Ruzga went for 13 yards. On second and 2 from the Burlington 8, Krien practically walked into the end zone after a strong fake dive, giving Badger the lead for good at 35-21.

"It was the nail in the coffin," Krien said of his decisive touchdown.

Badger coach Matt Hensler gave credit to the Demons.

"We had a little bit of an emotional let-down," he said. "I give a lot of credit to Burlington for not laying down. I was happy our offense punched one in at the end. Our seniors are coming a long way. Our kids were still fired up in the second half. We just made a few mental errors."

Badger finished with 432 yards offensively, 369 of which came on the ground. Klean led the charge with 127 yards on 20 carries. Krien rushed for three touchdowns and had 95 yards. Walker barreled over defenders to the tune of 105 yards on 13 carries.

"Our line got low, and it just kept pushing the defensive line," Walker said. "I saw holes."

Burlington totaled 340 yards, 250 through the air. A star may be born with Dennis, who caught seven balls for 195 yards.

Badger's next game was pushed back from Friday night to Saturday afternoon at 1 p.m. at Westosha Central.

"They have a lot of speed, and Castona (receiver) is excellent," Hensler said of the Falcons. "I'm just proud of our seniors for hanging in there tonight and continuing to battle."

Check the Sept. 15 edition of the Lake Geneva Regional News for photos from this game. Also, check www.lakegenevanews.net, the Lake Geneva Regional News and Resorter Facebook page (http://on.fb.me/qsfira) and Twitter (mikeramczyk17) for updates on this Saturday's game in Paddock Lake including a full story, photos and player and coach reactions.

Badger 35, Burlington 21

BUR 0 0 14 7 - 21

LG 7 21 0 7 - 35

First quarter

LG - Peter Krien 14 run (Peter Karr kick), 5:33

Second quarter

LG - Krien 28 run (Karr kick), 10:19

LG - Jake Kozlowski 50 pass from Krien (Karr kick), 7:04

LG - Rory Klean 9 run (Karr kick), 2:43

Third quarter

BUR - Luke Syens 79 run (run failed), 11:04

BUR - Kasey Solofra 11 pass from Jayden Essman (Syens run), 6:59

Fourth quarter

BUR - Chad Redmer 5 pass from Essman (kick good), 8:57

LG - Krien 8 run (Karr kick), 4:18

Stats

Rushing - LG: Klean 20-127; Chris Walker 13-105; Krien 14-95; Ed Ruzga 9-42. BUR: Syens 12-109; Redmer 3-13; Solofra 4-4. Passing - LG: Krien 2-3, 63 yards, TD. BUR: Essman 14-28, 250 yards, 2 TD. Receiving - LG: Jake Kozlowski 1-50; Eric Winger 1-13. BUR: Dennis 7-195; Solofra 5-42; Pat Smet 1-9; Cody Miller 1-6; Redmer 1-5.