Burlington’s Gage Taylor sprints past a lunging Wilmot defender during Friday’s homecoming game at Don Dalton Stadium. The Demons won the game, 13-6 to qualify for the WIAA playoffs and now face a showdown with rival Waterford Friday in the regular season finale. (Photo by Mike Ramczyk)

 

It always means something more.

The Burlington-Waterford football rivalry is a big one, and there isn’t much love lost between the two teams and schools.

It’s what makes high school sports great.

Two teams separated by about eight miles, the kids probably know each other pretty well and both have proud football traditions.

Burlington coach Eric Sulik was happy to clinch a playoff berth last week against Wilmot, but when asked how important this week would be, he didn’t hesitate.

“It’s Waterford,” he said. “We want to win.”

There will be no taking it easy, as the Demons want to improve on their WIAA Division 2 playoff seeding for next week.

Waterford also clinched a playoff spot with a 35-0 drubbing of Delavan-Darien.

So both schools will be in the playoffs no matter what. Congrats to the Demons and Wolverines.

Another big rivalry game Friday night is Westosha Central (4-4, 2-4 SLC) at Wilmot (0-7, 0-6).

The Falcons probably have an outside chance to sneak into the playoffs with a win, and the Panthers are purely playing for pride.

With two of the best student sections in the conference, this should be an exciting atmosphere.

Even though the Panthers are struggling this season, expect them to play their best ball.

And how about that instant classic last week?

Union Grove edged Lake Geneva Badger, 27-22 (I predicted the Broncos would win, 27-24) in the unofficial SLC championship game.

It was a classic battle between two of the state’s best running backs as Cole Berghorn ran for 170 yards for the Badgers, but Cody Cotton returned from injury for the Broncos and ran wild for 209 yards and four scores, including the game-winner, a 46-yard touchdown with 3:10 left in the game.

Berghorn’s short touchdown run made it 22-21 Badger with 7 minutes to play, but the Broncos were just too much.

With a win at Elkhorn Friday, the Broncos would win the SLC outright.

 

Badgers and Packers

The Wisconsin Badgers finally got a win, thank goodness.

It took beating Illinois and Bret Bielema (YUCK), but it happened and maybe this can start to turn things around for Bucky.

Mason Crosby went from goat to hero after making a game-winning 49-yard field goal in overtime to beat the Bengals Sunday. Crosby and Cincinnati’s kicker missed a bunch of potential game-winners earlier in the game, but that’s just the life of a kicker, man.

Sometimes the wind and the other elements just aren’t on your side.

But you have to admire the resilience of Crosby. The savvy veteran has made two walk-off winners this year and is a huge reason the team is 4-1.

It’s Bears week, so get ready for plenty of trash talk and overconfident Bears fans thinking they’re going to win the Super Bowl.

And finally, a few tears for the Milwaukee Brewers, who totally blew it with a 3-1 National League Divisional Series loss to the Atlanta Braves.

The Brewers’ shaky offense finally came back to bite them, as they only scored two runs in the first three games.

Then, when Milwaukee’s bats finally woke up Tuesday in Atlanta for game four, it was too late. The Brewers fought valiantly, but ultimately Freddie Freeman’s home run off Josh Hader in the eighth was the difference in the 5-4 victory.

Congrats to the Brewers on another great season and 95 wins, but to lose in the first round after such a promising run was extremely disappointing.

Milwaukee had World Series aspirations.

Oh well, at least the Bucks won the NBA title.

Let’s get back to business and check out my picks.

 

FOOTBALL PREDICTIONS: Last week: 7-0; season: 30-6

Game of the Week

Waterford (5-3, 4-2 SLC) at Burlington (4-4, 4-2)

The Demons have become a bit one-dimensional offensively, as they ran the ball almost exclusively in last week’s victory over a winless Wilmot team.

Burlington only put up 200 total yards in the win, but Connor McNamara ran for over 100 yards.

Waterford had six players run for more than 30 yards in a win against Delavan.

Both teams have been hot, as the Demons have relied on their defense and Waterford has leaned on its signature running game and defense.

But Max Northrop has also shown an ability to pass for the Wolverines. He tossed two touchdowns last week.

Waterford is on a four-game win streak, and I think their momentum will continue.

PREDICTION: Waterford 21, Burlington 14

Other area predictions

  • Catholic Central 40, Dominican 20
  • Wilmot 21, Westosha Central 17
  • Lake Geneva Badger 50, Delavan-Darien 7
  • Union Grove 45, Elkhorn 21
  • Green Bay Packers 23, Chicago Bears 17
  • Wisconsin Badgers 52, Army 21