Gallagher steps up with 101 yards

 

Colton Surges runs for a big gain Friday night. In one season, the quarterback has become a veteran in Matt Hensler’s offense. (Tanner Fields/SLN)

 

By Michael Hoey and Tim Wester  

The Lake Geneva Badger football team gained sweet redemption in its WIAA Level 1 playoff win over Kenosha Bradford on Friday night.

In week two, the Badgers (9-1) led the Red Devils (6-4) all night long until Bradford scored with 10 seconds left to win, 26-21. The Badgers jumped on the Red Devils early this time and did not let them back into the game in a 42-26 home win.

“It was our focus ever since we found out we were playing Bradford,” running back Will Keller said when asked about getting revenge for that early season loss.

“We were just looking to get redemption,” Keller said. “We knew we didn’t play our best in Week Two, we felt like we left a lot on the field—we definitely made a big step up this time.”

“It was great,” quarterback Colton Surges said of the redemption win. “We are not the same team we were two months ago.”

“It was amazing,” fullback Wes Sontag said. “It was one of the main reasons I wanted to beat them.”

The Badgers opened the game with a defensive stand, forcing one of five first-half Bradford punts. The Badger defense was suffocating in the first half as Bradford did not even get into Badger territory until there was less than a minute left in the half.

Badger scored touchdowns on runs by Surges and Sontag and a pass from Surges to Dawson Vance to build up a 22-7 halftime lead.

The Badgers started the second half with touchdown runs by Sontag and Adam Gallagher to take a commanding 36-7 lead, and the defense held off a Red Devil rally to pull out the win.

Coach Matt Hensler liked his team’s preparation.

“Playoff time is fun,” he said. “I thought we had a good week of practice.”

Hensler said the offensive line, Surges, and the running backs all did well in making the Badger offense go. The defense was impressive as well.

“We gave up a couple of big plays, but overall we played good defense,” Hensler said.

The Badgers move on to play Franklin (9-1) in Level 2 on Friday, Oct. 27 at Franklin.

While Keller, Badger’s leading rusher, was held to 36 yards, Adam Gallagher came through with 101 yards, including a 70-yard score in the third quarter.

 

Everything goes right

Badger defensive lineman Alex Evans learned breakfast is the most important meal of the day the hard way.

After skipping breakfast and having a light dinner, Evans was bent over throwing up on the sidelines during the game.

Evans nutrition miscalculation was about the only thing that went wrong for the Badgers.

The Badgers, who lost to Franklin 35-14 in a state semifinal contest last season, are eager to avenge last season’s playoff defeat.

“It’s definitely an honor to get to play Franklin again,” said Evans who shook off the fatigue with a blocked punt and a sack against Bradford. “We are really looking forward to playing them again after scrimmaging them in the preseason and you could just see the emotion from our team and we wanted to get after them so bad.”

The Badgers certainly got after Bradford from the opening kick. Surges led a 12-play, 51-yard scoring drive with a 1-yard touchdown run. Will Keller added the 2-point running play to make it 8-0 Badger.

Then following an Alex Evans blocked punt deep in Bradford territory, Surges added a 2-yard touchdown run to make it 15-0.

Then with Bradford loading the box to stop the run, Surges fired a 44-yard deep pass to Angelo Camalieri and connected on a 29-yard touchdown pass to Dawson Vance to make it 22-0.

“It was huge to connect on those passes against Bradford,” Surges said. “Especially when guys like to the load the box against us and we can chuck it deep; it just makes us super dangerous.”

The Red Devils went to its more conventional high-powered passing game late in the first half with quarterback Tony Martin’s 7-yard touchdown pass to Cody Tostrud to cut it to 22-7.

The Badgers then took full advantage of a softened Red Devil defense with a Sontag 27-yard touchdown run and then Gallagher’s 70-yard touchdown run to make it 36-7 Badger midway through the third.

Bradford eventually answered and gained momentum with Marshaun Bell’s 6-yard touchdown run Martin’s 14-yard touchdown pass to Tostrud to cut it to 36-20.

“I was supposed to play both ways tonight, but when you are pushing 300-pound lineman around, you get so tired,” Evans said. “I also made the mistake of not eating breakfast and not enough for dinner and ended up throwing up on the sideline.”

 

Badger turns to passing game

Surges picked up the slack for the tired Badger defense with a 33-yard quick hitter over the middle to Camalieri to make it 42-20.

“Passing is legal, so might as well do it,” Lake Geneva Badger coach Matt Hensler said. “We try to get big passing plays in every game, but we knew we could get our tight end Angelo down the seam a little bit, so we did.”

Bradford added one more score late on a Martin 17-yard pass to Marquon Williams, but it was too little too late.

The Badgers now look to avenge last year’s playoff-elimination loss to Franklin.

“A lot of things have improved since the beginning of the year for us,” Hensler said. “Our offensive line has improved and Surges is much more comfortable now and is really a veteran quarterback, and defensively we are attacking much better.”

The improved Badgers and talented Franklin could potentially be one of the best second round games in the division 1.

 

 
 

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