Badger advances to another state semifinal
LAKE GENEVA—Lake Geneva Badger football coach Matt Hensler couldn't help but smile at the end of his team's 28-7 WIAA Division 1 semifinal victory over Middleton.
The Badgers seemingly did all the things that the veteran coach enjoys about football.
They ran the ball 46 times for 291 yards, took advantage of good field position and didn't commit a single penalty on their way to a third consecutive victory over a Big Eight Conference team.
Mason DuMez ran for a pair of touchdowns and threw for another, while Will Keller added a 51-yard touchdown reception and 53-yard touchdown run to propel second-seeded Badger (12-0) into the state semifinals for the second straight year and third time in five seasons.
Badger previously lost 21-13 to Sun Prairie in a D1 semifinal in 2012 and then fell 28-14 to Waukesha West in a D2 semifinal last season.
This time around, Badger draws top-seeded Franklin, who knocked off Milwaukee Marquette 45-23.
“It's a big deal for the kids to get back to the sectional finals, and clearly as coaches we're happy about it too,” Hensler said. “I don't know if you go into the season and make the sectional finals your goal, but it's sure exciting to be back again.”
The Badgers bludgeoned Middleton with their power run game.
DuMez got things rolling in the first quarter with a 29-yard touchdown run to make it 7-0 Badger.
The Cardinals eventually answered with a 12-play, 61-yard scoring drive capped by Dion Huff's 3-yard touchdown to forge a 7-7 tie in the second quarter.
Badger then grabbed the upper hand for good late in the quarter thanks to good field position that yielded Keller his 51-yard touchdown catch, and a DuMez 4-yard touchdown run to make it 21-7 at halftime.
“It was field position and it was the mental state of the team knowing we could move the ball,” DuMez said. “And once we got the momentum, we just started rolling with it.”
The 14-point advantage was too much for the Cardinals to overcome in the second half against the Badgers defense.
Middleton finally put together a long drive to get inside the Badger 10 early in the fourth but failed to score after the Badgers forced an errant Davis Roquet pass on fourth down.
The Badgers then put the finishing touches on the victory when Will Keller charged through a hole and sprinted 53 yards for a touchdown to make it 28-7 with 31 seconds left.
Now it's up to the Badgers to figure out how to finally get through sectional finals and advance to the state championship game.
“Having been there last year, it's not uncharted territory,” Matt Szeszol said. “We know what we have to do and having lost last year adds a little fuel to the fire.”
LAKE GENEVA BADGER 28, MIDDLETON 7
Middleton 0 7 0 0—7
Badger 7 14 0 7—28
Scoring summary: L—Mason DuMez 29 run (Josh Taddeo kick). M—Dion Huff 3 run (Brett Wipfli kick). L—Will Keller 51 pass from Dumez (Taddeo kick). L—Dumez 4 run (Taddeo kick). Keller 53 run (Taddeo kick).
Statistics: First downs—M 13, L 16. Rushing yards—M 26—78, L 46- 291. Passing—M 25-12-0, L—9-3-1. Passing yards—M 160, L 58. Fumbles M 2-0, L 3-0.
Last updated: 11:04 pm Friday, November 4, 2016