Waterford’s Casey North cuts off a teammate’s block during Friday’s game against visiting Burlington. The Wolverines beat the Demons 14-7 and will face Union Grove Friday night. (Photo by Mike Ramczyk)

Waterford, Union Grove set for playoff battle

Just when you thought the boiling rivalry blood had calmed down and lowered the area’s collective football fandom blood pressure, think again.

What some have called the “Fox River Rivalry” may be over, as Burlington struck first with a 9-7 victory Oct. 15 but Waterford struck best with a 14-7 playoff victory last week, another rivalry is back on the front burner.

Union Grove, a team Waterford beat every year since 2007 until just about a month ago, is the cream of the crop in 2021, riding high with a 9-1 record, No. 1 seed, and fresh Southern Lakes Conference championship.

But the Wolverines haven’t lost too much love for their rival Broncos, and just because the Grove won, 27-7, this season, don’t think for a second Adam Bakken doesn’t think he can concoct a game plan to slow down the Grove and find a way to sneak out of the village with the upset.

      I’ll go ahead and call it the “Battle of Western Racine County” or how about the “Rural Romp”?

Ha, I was also thinking the “Village People” as it is a battle of schools in two villages.

OK, I’m not at my most creative right now after writing like nine stories in seven hours, but it’s all good.

Union Grove is heavily favored, but Bakken and the Wolverines have history on their side, and a defense that can stop anyone.

“It’s tough to beat the same team twice in a year,” Bakken said after Friday’s win over Burlington.

For Brock Malecki, who had a crucial fourth quarter sack for the Wolverines Friday against Burlington, getting another win senior year would be huge.

He wanted to face Waukesha West, which has ended the Wolverines’ season several times in recent years, but he’ll settle for Grove.

An equally big story is Catholic Central, which scored a 17-0 upset victory – No. 6 beating a No. 3 – in Division 7.

Also, shout out to Lake Geneva Badger, which held on to beat Milton, 21-20.

Four area teams advancing to Level 2 of the football playoffs is no easy feat.

How about the Badgers?

They’re not dead, as evidenced by a big victory at Purdue Saturday.

Suddenly, the Badgers have a running game, and the defense was all over the field.

Finally, the Packers won their sixth straight game to improve to 6-1.

Green Bay absolutely will lose Thursday night at undefeated Arizona, though, as the NFL’s best wide receiver, Davante Adams, and No. 2 Allen Lazard, are both out due to COVID-19 protocols.

Also, check out the Burlington girls volleyball team in sectionals against rival Westosha Central Thursday at Beloit Memorial, and the Westosha Central boys volleyball team battles in a sectional final Saturday at Muskego.

Best of luck to all area squads. Have fun and enjoy these moments.

Now, let’s get down to business.

 

FOOTBALL PREDICTIONS

Last week: 4-0; season: 40-8

(all games Friday night 7 p.m.)

 

GAME OF THE WEEK

 

Waterford (6-4) at Union Grove (9-1)

Broncos head coach Craig McClelland and his buzz saw Broncos are ready to take out their rivals again.

“Playing a team twice is always a challenge,” McClelland said via text message Wednesday morning. “They have had our number the past 10+ years. We will not be overlooking them. Conference standings, rankings and seeds go out the window. This is playoff football. Win, or go play basketball or wrestle.”

While all the hoopla and hype surrounding these rivals is fun, the Broncos back it up on the field and are the better, more complete team this year.

Union Grove beat a talented Waukesha West team by two touchdowns last week.

West has owned the Southern Lakes Conference forever, but the Broncos’ exceptional offensive and defensive line play was superior.

That is rare from a Lakes team.

Garrett Foldy erupted for 184 rushing yards on 17 carries with two touchdowns.

Cody Cotton, a 1,000-yard rusher, was held to only 48 yards.

The Broncos’ depth is insane.

Waterford’s defense is really, really good, but it won’t be enough.

PREDICTION: Union Grove 35, Waterford 14

 

(No. 6) Catholic Central (7-3) at (No. 2) Reedsville

Reedsville has a quarterback, Brennen Dovarachek, who has passed for 1,000 and ran for 1,000, and accounted for 34 total touchdowns and has thrown just one interception.

It seriously defies logic and reason, but the Toppers have the resume and play in a battle-tested conference to win again.

In football, a good ground game and strong defense can travel, and even though this game is more than two hours away from Burlington, I trust quarterback Max Robson’s leadership and the team’s overall talent.

Another glass slipper for Cinderella!

PREDICTION: Catholic Central 28, Reedsville 25