Badger dominates Delavan-Darien in Lakes football finale
But that’s just a catchy headline.
The truth is, it wasn’t as straightforward as Stan over Gonzalez. Rather, it was Badger High over Delavan-Darien, as the Badgers rolled over the Comets, 42-7, in a Southern Lakes Conference finale here Thursday night.
The Badgers dominated in every phase of the game, forcing five turnovers and gaining 398 total yards to Delavan-Darien’s 147.
Two early takeaways set the tone, sending Badger to a quick 14-0 lead. After that, the game never was in doubt.
“We had two very difficult losses in a row that we should have never (lost),” Stan said. “It was great how we came back.
“We had good attitudes in practice this week. Everybody played as a unit. They all played together and went to the whistle and just hit it real hard when we needed to.”
The win boosted the Badgers to 4-2 in the Southern Lakes and 6-2 overall, locking up their WIAA Division 2 playoff appearance. The Comets finished the regular season at 5-4 and 3-3, putting them in the Division 3 playoffs.
Worrying about a playoff berth was something the Badgers were happy to avoid.
“It’s never good to kind of have the feeling where you don’t know if you’re going to make it into the playoffs on your back through practice,” Stan said. “Now that we’re official, it’s definitely a real good feeling.
“Now we just take one game at a time and find out who our next opponent is and beat them.”
Stan was phenomenal against Delavan-Darien, running 18 times for 107 yards and completing 4 of 7 passes for 112 yards, including touchdown strikes of 29, 24 and 32 yards.
It that wasn’t enough, Stan’s interception of a Gonzalez pass and return to the Comets’ 7-yard line in the first quarter set up Badger’s first touchdown.
“It’s awesome to see a kid like him succeed and play and perform so well,” Badger coach Matt Hensler said of Stan. “He’s been so dedicated, and he’s done so much.
“He’s the first guy in the weight room, the last guy to leave, and he’s a leader on the practice field.”
Gonzalez, on the other hand, had a tough night running Delavan-Darien’s spread-option offense. He ran for just 42 yards and went 4-of-13 passing for 45 yards with no touchdowns and three interceptions.
“I’m going to blame it on myself right now,” Gonzalez conceded after the game. “I didn’t do my job. I didn’t come ready to play, and it’s hard to run an offense without the quarterback playing (and) doing his part.”
After the Badgers took a 21-0 lead in the second quarter, Gonzalez did guide the Comets on a 15-play, 74-yard touchdown drive. That was capped by Josh Cesarz’s scoring plunge on fourth-and-goal from the 1 with 1:09 left in the first half, leaving Badger with a 21-7 halftime advantage.
But the Badgers made the pivotal play of the game on their first drive of the second half. Facing fourth-and-16 at the Delavan-Darien 29, Stan heaved a pass to the left side of the end zone that receiver Braden Tice caught over Delavan-Darien’s Jarrett Fowlkes for the touchdown.
Instead of a big stop for Delavan-Darien, Badger took a 28-7 lead and steamrolled the Comets from there, with two scoring passes from Stan to Henri Lorenzi mixed in.
Behind the blocking of Rick Ecklund, Carl Miller, Braden Krien, Jaren Floreani and Michael Britton along the offensive line and Lorenzi at tight end, Badger had 286 rushing yards on 49 attempts. Fullback Kyle Spangenberger carried 18 times for 161 yards.
Gonzalez, meanwhile, was picked off twice by Tice in the fourth quarter. The Comets never got their spread-option attack working in what was a steady rain, but that was much less of a factor than Badger’s defense.
“That’s the risk you take with running this offense,” Delavan-Darien coach Steve Tenhagen said. “But we still expect to execute within it, and we still expect to get the snap and still be able to do the things that we need to do to run our offense.
“Tonight, Badger took it away. I wouldn’t blame it all on the rain. I would say they played a very good football game defensively.”
BADGER 42, DELAVAN-DARIEN 7
Delavan-Darien 0 7 0 0—7
Lake Geneva Badger 14 7 14 7—42
Scoring summary: LGB—Justin Bowers, 4 run (Dylan Flynn kick). LGB—Jared Stan, 1 run (Flynn kick). DD—Josh Cesarz, 1 run (Nathan Boltz kick). LGB—Justin Gustafson, 2 run (Flynn kick). LGB—Braden Tice, 29 pass from Stan (Flynn kick). LGB—Henri Lorenzi, 24 pass from Stan (Flynn kick). LGB—Lorenzi, 32 pass from Stan (Flynn kick).
Statistics: First downs—DD 9, LGB 19. Rushing—DD 36-102, LGB 49-286. Yards passing—DD 45, LGB 112. Passes—DD 13-4-3, LGB 7-4-0. Fumbles—DD 5-2, LGB 0-0. Penalties—DD 7-59, LGB 4-25.