Lake Geneva Badger football’s winning tradition to be tested

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By Tim Wester, Special to The Gazette
Wednesday, August 20, 2014

After losing most its starters to graduation last spring, the Lake Geneva Badger football team is scrambling to find the proper replacements.

Head coach Matt Hensler, however, isn’t looking for a sympathetic ear. And he won’t likely receive one from the other Southern Lakes Conference coaches, whose teams have often been on the losing end against Badger.

“There is no doubt the strength of our program will be tested this season,” said Hensler, who has directed Badger to seven straight playoff appearances, including an 8-3 record and a three-way tie for the SLC title last season. “I really don’t know what we have just yet without having a chance to look at tape from our scrimmage. The good news is we have good kids who are very coachable.”

The bad news is many on the current roster lack experience, including the quarterbacks.

Isaac Ziervogel appears to be the early front-runner for the starting quarterback job, with J.T. Sulzer and Mick Borchert still battling for the spot.

“The biggest thing for our quarterbacks is to get used to the speed of varsity ball, which can be tough,” Hensler said.

One familiar face that Hensler will rely on is fullback Tristan Steiner, who started two games for Badger last season.

Stenier’s twin brother Trevor will help open holes in the middle of the line as the starting center.

Fellow returner Josh Kundert will also see plenty of action at a tackle. As for the rest of the offensive line, Hensler said there are as many as eight kids competing.

“There are a lot of unknowns right now, but we’re hoping that once we can watch the film of our first scrimmage, we can sort a lot of these questions out,” Hensler said.

With the offense still taking shape, the Badger defense has routinely had the upper hand in drills thus far.

“The defense is ahead of the offense right now,” Hensler said. “But that seems to be that way every year, because defenses can be aggressive and come downhill and be aggressive from the start.”

Interior linemen Ruben Garcia and Cole Mikrut lead the charge for the Badger defense.

Senior middle linebacker Nick Kretch will lead the linebackers after a strong offseason and summer.

The secondary will be led by Patrick Quinn, Chase Craig, Zane Zachary and Tyler VandDeVelde.

The inexperienced Badgers will once again be facing a talented and deep Southern Lakes Conference.

“Our goals stay the same every season, regardless of returning players,” Hensler said. “We expect to compete for conference championships and make runs in the playoffs every year.”

The faces may be different, but Hensler is definitely going to make sure the expectations stay the same.

Last updated: 9:56 am Wednesday, August 20, 2014

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