Upon Further Review: Week 5 full of comebacks
Halftime leads were not safe around here Friday night.
Four of the 11 high school football games involving teams in The Gazette coverage area involved second-half comebacks, including two games where first place was on the line.
More on that in a minute, but first the most dramatic second-half comeback, which was turned in by Brodhead/Juda.
The Cardinals, who opened the season 0-4 and will likely need to win out to extend their state-record 25-year streak of making the WIAA postseason, trailed visiting McFarland 27-20 at halftime—a score that stood up until late in the fourth quarter.
Brodhead/Juda came through in the clutch, with Parker Johnson finding Brekan Day for a 21-yard touchdown pass with just 61 seconds remaining. The Cardinals then went for two and the lead, and Day caught another pass from Johnson to make it 28-27.
“There was a minute left, and they have a pretty good field goal kicker. If we didn't go for it (the win) at that point, I didn't feel like we were going to get the ball back,” Brodhead/Juda coach Jim Matthys said Saturday.
The Cardinals had to hang on from there. Riddled by penalties all night, they were flagged twice on the ensuing kickoff, and a nice return gave McFarland the ball on the Brodhead 25-yard line. But the Cardinals intercepted a pass on the first play of that series to help prevail.
Day rushed for 81 yards and a touchdown, had 42 receiving yards and the late score and was a playmaker defensively, as well.
“Brekan took the game over in the second half,” Matthys said. “He had two picks, I think, in the second half, and obviously had the touchdown and two-point conversion.”
While the odds may still be stacked against the 1-4 Cardinals at the midway point in the season, Matthys hopes the comeback victory can help his young team build momentum.
“It was obviously a point where we had to have a victory to have any chance of making the playoffs,” Matthys said. “It was great to see how, when we're down with less than two minutes left, they dug deep. And it was nice to see them rewarded for all their hard work.”
Beloit Turner and Badger aren't in such predicaments when it comes to their playoff probabilities. Turner clinched its spot by winning Friday night and improving to 5-0, and Badgers needs just one more league win in the final four weeks to clinch a return.
But they both needed comebacks Friday to keep their strong seasons rolling.
Turner trailed Big Foot 22-12 at halftime but then woke up in a big way with 34 second-half points on the way to a 46-28 road victory.
Sophomore quarterback Kenny Draeving threw for two touchdowns and ran for two more, and the Trojans forced three turnovers defensively.
It was Turner's second big comeback on the road this season. The team also scored 14 fourth-quarter points to force overtime with Evansville/Albany and went on to win 20-14.
And Badger has certainly become used to second-half comebacks, though coach Matt Hensler doesn't seem to pleased about it.
His Badgers trailed previously unbeaten Westosha 20-14 at the break Friday, but running back Will Keller and the Badgers outscored the Falcons 28-6 the rest of the way.
In all three Southern Lakes games thus far, Badger has trailed either at the half or with less than three minutes remaining in the second quarter. But it has won all three games by an average of 18 points.
“I'm at an absolute loss what to do to get us to play better because we had a great practice yesterday and a terrific walkthrough today and were dialed in,” Hensler told Gazette correspondent Tim Wester after the most recent comeback. “So I have no clue."
Elsewhere in the Southern Lakes, Delavan-Darien/Williams Bay led 14-0 at halftime against Union Grove, but the Broncos scored three unanswered touchdowns in the second half to prevail.
An error in the official box score received from Friday's game between Jefferson and Clinton led to some discrepancies in Saturday's edition of The Gazette.
Just to set the record straight, Clinton won 32-7.
It's always fun to see the winning team host the Monterey Rock after the annual crosstown rivalry football game between Janesville Parker and Janesville Craig.
It got me to wondering if there should be a traveling trophy between the two city rivals in every sport ...
We're passed the midway point in the season, so it's time to start the weekly area playoff update.
Sun Prairie clinched the Big Eight Conference's first official postseason bid by beating Beloit Memorial to improve to 5-0. Middleton and Madison West are a win away and will likely clinch their spots in Week 6.
In the Rock Valley, Clinton and Turner—two of the three smallest schools, in terms of enrollment, in the 10-team league—have clinched playoff spots with their 5-0 starts. The winner between Jefferson and East Troy this week will join them.
And Badger, which made a run to the Division 1 state semifinals last year, can clinch its spot back in the field with a victory over Delavan-Darien/Williams Bay this Friday.
Last updated: 11:36 pm Saturday, September 16, 2017