Running back Cody Cotton braces for impact with Westosha Central’s Nick Argersinger (10) in last week’s Southern Lakes Conference game. (Photo by Michael Stefanich) 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The 2021 football season is well under way, and after three games, we are starting to see some clarity.

Jakob Simmons is still running away with the league rushing title, but is he really?

A newcomer has emerged to challenge the Westosha Central senior beast for the top rusher in the Southern Lakes this season.

Cody Cotton, a senior for the Union Grove Broncos who starred as a wide receiver as a junior, is now playing running back as a senior.

The Broncos haven’t missed a beat from last year’s 4-1 record and may even be a little better this fall, and Cotton is a major reason why.

You can’t teach speed, and Cotton has it in spades.

      The 6-foot-1, 175-pound athlete not only has the football instincts to make people miss with the football in his hands, but if he has even the slightest bit of daylight, the guy is GONE.

Cotton runs a blazing 4.41 40-yard dash, and he is now only 30 yards rushing behind Simmons for the SLC lead after a 221-yard performance with three touchdowns in last week’s shellacking of Westosha Central.

Simmons was “held” to 130 yards rushing, but he needed 25 carries to do it, a far cry from the way he was running roughshod in the first two weeks.

The Broncos have started 3-0 regardless of who’s been on the schedule, and Cotton has been killing it.

Running for 225 yards per game, with three consecutive performances of more than 220 yards, Cotton has 11 touchdowns already, including one receiving and one on a kickoff return.

Bumped down to Division 3 due to an enrollment of 993, the Grove’s chances to do some damage this year in the postseason are legit.

Nate Williams is a solid dual threat at quarterback, Cotton is Cotton, and most of the starters are back from last year’s squad.

Luke Kokat also provides one of the best receiving threats in the league.

It’s rivalry time for the Broncos against Waterford this week, so we’ll know for sure if the Grove is for real Friday night.

Over in Walworth County, Cole Berghorn is staking his claim for the league’s top back after a 328-yard, three touchdown performance in Lake Geneva’s 42-25 win over rival Waterford.

Berghorn, a 6-foot-1, 209-pound bulldozer, runs a 4.4 40-yard dash and is a powerhouse in the gym.

He has gained strength and speed at Lake Geneva’s EPTC gym under the tutelage of Cory Englebert, whose staff has become the go-to guys for improving area athletes.

Look out, folks, Lake Geneva Badger is back!

 

WEEK 4 PREDICTIONS

Game of the Week: Waterford (1-2) at Union Grove (3-0)

One of the better rivalries in the state, in my opinion, the Wolverines have gotten the better of this matchup for years.

In fact, Waterford coach Adam Bakken has never lost to the Broncos.

Waterford has won 12 straight contests, including two single-digit victories back in 2015 when Union Grove was really good and had stud quarterback Matt Nelson.

The COVID-19 pandemic didn’t allow the teams to play last year, and let’s face it, things have changed.

The Grove got a brand new weight room a few years back, and the athletic program is making major strides, with its baseball dominance the last two years.

And a lot of those studs play multiple sports.

Though Badger is really good, the Wolverines just allowed a 300-yard rusher, something that doesn’t often happen to Bakken, who is a defensive specialist.

Bakken will have a good game plan to slow down Cotton, but overall the Broncos have too much talent and the home-field advantage won’t hurt.

It’s a new day, and this win will be historic for Union Grove.

      PREDICTION: Union Grove 28, Waterford 17

 

Westosha Central (2-1) at Burlington (1-2)

I’m still not sure if the Falcons are for real, but last week’s blowout loss to the Grove was a major indicator.

The Broncos could advance far in the Division 3 postseason, so the loss wasn’t necessarily a bad thing, but the question is can either of these teams, Falcons or Demons, make the playoffs this year?

The Falcons were devastated when star quarterback Michael Mulhollon and receiver Jack Rose didn’t return for their senior seasons, so they are young at skills positions, just like Burlington.

But the Demons have consistently played strong defense this season, minus one half against Racine Horlick, and the offense is slowly improving.

Simmons will have a big game, but the Demons have enough on the offensive and defensive lines to pick up a home victory.

PREDICTION: Burlington 24, Westosha Central 20

 

Delavan-Darien (1-1) at Elkhorn (1-1)

Somewhat of a bitter rivalry, you can throw out the records when these two schools, separated by only five miles, play against each other.

There was once a tire slashed in the parking lot during one of these games.

The love lost meter is at ZERO.

It will be an amazing high school football atmosphere, no doubt.

      PREDICTION: Elkhorn 28, Delavan-Darien 14

 

Other area predictions

  • Lake Geneva Badger 40, Wilmot 18
  • Catholic Central 35, Living Word Lutheran 12
  • Whitewater 14, Edgewood 12
  • Big Foot 32, Lodi 24
  • Muskego 45, Mukwonago 34
  • Palmyra-Eagle 41, Pardeeville 20
  • McFarland 27, East Troy 26