By Michael S. Hoey


The Lake Geneva Badgers gave one of the best teams in the state a good run but fell just short of advancing to Level 3 of the WIAA football playoffs Friday in a 24-17 road loss to Franklin, ranked No. 6 in the state.

The Badgers, themselves ranked No. 7, were trying to avenge a loss for the second week in a row. Last week the Badgers advanced to Level 2 with a 42-26 win over Kenosha Bradford, the one team to beat the Badgers this year during the regular season. This week the Badgers were hoping to avenge last year’s Level 4 playoff loss that left Lake Geneva one game short of the WIAA state tournament. Franklin went on to finish as the runner-up.

The Badgers failed to do so largely because of a poor first half that left them behind 16-3 at the half. The Badgers opened the second half strong and took a 17-16 lead, but the high-powered Franklin offense refused to be held in check for an entire half. The Sabers scored the go-ahead touchdown and held the Badgers the rest of the way for the win.

Coach Matt Hensler took responsibility for the poor first half saying it was his job to sense the pulse of his team and recognize where the team is at.

“I failed at that miserably,” he said.

“You have one of the best teams in the state and you can’t just not play for an entire half,” Hensler said. “We didn’t do anything in the first half, we didn’t play hard. We just gave them a whole half and that’s ridiculous.”

Hensler said his Badgers have been to the playoffs so often in recent years that there was no reason for them to be nervous, but it still seemed to be the case.

“That’s on nobody but me for not recognizing it,” Hensler said.

Hensler said the second big problem for the Badgers were the unusually high number of penalties the team had.

“That’s on the coaches and me for not paying enough attention to details – we pride ourselves on that,” Hensler said.

Hensler said no adjustments were made at halftime that led to the Badgers outscoring Franklin 14-8 in the second half. He said he just told them to play harder and they played hard enough to put a scare into the Sabers, but Franklin pulled out the win.

Check out next week’s Lake Geneva Times for the full story.


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