Union Grove quarterback J.K. Witkofski (10) goes back to pass during the third quarter of last week’s loss to Lake Geneva Badger. It was the homecoming game for the Broncos. (Photo by Jennifer Eisenbart)

By Jennifer Eisenbart

Sports editor

For about a quarter Oct. 7, the Union Grove Union High School football team was not only hanging with heavily-favored Lake Geneva Badger, but beating the Southern Lakes Conference leaders.

Then the Badgers asserted control in the second quarter, and cruised home to a 59-20 victory.

Union Grove dropped to 1-5 in the SLC and 1-7 overall, and will travel to Burlington tonight for the season finale. BHS has also been eliminated from playoff contention. Badger will host Waterford with the SLC title on the line.

UG coach Scott McBride was pleased with how his team started the game.

“Defensively, we started off pretty strong,” said McBride. After stopping Badger, the Broncos connected on a flea flicker that took them down inside the 10. From there, Kyle Boeck pulled in a seven-yard pass from J.K. Witkofski, and the Broncos had a 7-0 lead.

Badger responded with a score of its own – a 16-yard touchdown run by Ed Ruzga – but Tate Koester took the ensuing kickoff all the way back and put Union Grove ahead 14-7.

“For the first quarter, we played pretty well on both sides of the ball,” McBride said. “We gave up big plays in the second quarter.”

Badger scored five times in the second quarter – four touchdowns and a field goal – and led 28-14 at the half. Badger would run off another 21 points in the third and fourth quarters before Union Grove would get on the board again.

Justin Noll wrapped up the game’s scoring with a 13-yard touchdown run with just 1:36 left in the game.

McBride praised the play of a handful of his athletes.

“Brett Van Vreede (two receptions for 50 yards) made a couple of plays in the passing game and a couple of plays in the running game,” McBride said. “We made a couple of plays that helped us early, but it’d be difficult to pick anyone out.”

Kyle Boeck also had 10 tackles on defense for the Broncos.

The Broncos will look to end their season on a high note at Burlington. With neither team having a shot at the playoffs, the game could produce a tight contest nonetheless. The Demons are coming off a win over Elkhorn last week, but both teams are traditional rivals and will have at least a little pride on the line.

“It’s that old Southern Lakes rivalry,” McBride said. “We’re going to try and give it our best try and win our last game.”

It will be McBride’s final game as head coach. McBride is a non-teacher coach, and the schedule problems have finally become too much.

“It’s been difficult since I became head coach to balance my professional life with coaching,” McBride said. “I have to give up my favorite job.”

McBride has worked with football – at youth and the high school levels – for 24 years in Union Grove.

“It’s going to be difficult not to be a part of it,” he said. “But there are other things I need to focus my time on.”