If not necessarily in productivity, then certainly in appearance.
In his first varsity start, junior quarterback John Leibforth led Badger High to a 20-0 Southern Lakes Conference win over Elkhorn here Friday night.
And if you didn’t know better, you’d have thought Stan was back out there.
From his diminutive stature to his uncanny ability to slip tackles to his quick decisions running the option, Leibforth looked just like Stan. He even wears the same number.
“It looks a little weird with No. 2 there, doesn’t it?” Badger coach Matt Hensler said.
Leibforth may have a ways to go to match Stan’s passing productivity, but he carried the ball 14 times for 117 yards, including touchdown runs of 40 and 32 yards in the fourth quarter to clinch the win, which kept Badger (5-1) a game behind Waterford (6-0, 4-0) at 3-1 in the conference race.
“We have a ton of faith in him,” Hensler said of Leibforth. “He’s tough as nails. He’s just plain, simple tough. The other kids believe in him, so it’s a pretty good deal to see him out there doing what he can do.”
The Badgers already have lost two quarterbacks to injury, and even Leibforth missed a couple games when he hurt his foot in practice before Badger’s fourth game, which he was supposed to start. But he was back against Elkhorn (1-5, 1-3), and he’ll start the rest of the season, barring injury, according to Hensler.
The Badgers took an early 7-0 lead over the Elks when Trevor York (22 carries, 175 yards) took his team’s second play from scrimmage 80 yards for a score. But Badger kept getting in its own way, losing three fumbles and committing 12 penalties for 100 yards to keep the Elks alive.
Elkhorn’s defense was valiant in defeat, especially senior linebacker Eduardo Castro, who recovered two fumbles and made a number of outstanding plays. But the Elks were pushed around at the line of scrimmage on offense, totaling just 61 yards and punting more times (8) than they gained first downs (6).
“We’re struggling,” Elk-horn coach Tom Lee said. “There’s no doubt about it. We’re trying to put the pieces together, and we’re trying to improve each week, and we’re not quite there yet.”
BADGER 20, ELKHORN 0
Elkhorn 0 0 0 0—0
Lake Geneva Badger 7 0 0 13—20
Scoring summary: LGB—Trevor York, 80 run (Nicholas Stilp kick). LGB—John Leibforth, 40 run (kick failed). LGB—Leibforth, 32 run (Stilp kick).
Statistics: First downs—E 6, LGB 20. Rushing—E 23-31, LGB 57-388. Yards passing—E 30, LGB 68. Passes—E 4-22-2, B 4-11-0. Fumbles—E 2-2, LGB 6-3. Penalties—E 3-15, LGB 12-100.