Members of the Waterford Union High School football team celebrate after beating Badger last week to earn a share of the Southern Lakes Conference title. (Photo by David Baker)

 

In a battle with everything on the line, it seemed only fitting that the game – and the Southern Lakes Conference football title – came down to a double overtime last Friday.

Waterford, in spite of gaining just 130 yards on offense and six first downs to Badger’s 17, put the only score of the game on the board in the second overtime to pick up a 7-0 win over the host Badgers.

With the win, the Wolverines, Badger and Wilmot all finished with 6-1 SLC records and 8-1 overall. Wilmot is the No. 2 seed in the same Division 2 playoff regional as Waterford, while Badger is the No. 3 seed in its WIAA Division 1 regional.

First-year Waterford head coach Adam Bakken was pleased to escape with the victory.

“It was obviously a very important game,” Bakken said. “Exciting game. They did a good job on our offense.

“Our defense played really well,” he added. “They just never broke a huge play.”

The Badgers also had three touchdowns called back on penalties. Those mistakes, as well as two interceptions on Badger quarterback Peter Krien, would prove vital.

Waterford’s Greg Steffens scored on a one-yard run in the second overtime, and Badger got the ball for its attempt. But on fourth down, Krien was picked off by Waterford junior J.J. Ahlers.

“He just read the pass,” Bakken said.

The Wolverines then had nothing to do but celebrate.

“It’s great for our seniors, to pull out a win like that,” Bakken said. “They’ve worked hard. They certainly deserve to be conference champions.

“Any double overtime game is going to be exciting, but it makes it even more exciting when the conference championship is on the line.”

Now the Wolverines will get ready for the postseason. With the WIAA Division 1 and 2 playoff brackets delayed because of a lawsuit involving Shorewood/Messmer – which the team won to gain entry to the playoffs – Waterford did not find out until Tuesday that Greenfield would be its first round opponent Friday at home at 7 p.m.

“I think it’s been a rough week for everybody,” Bakken said. “We went through just some special teams, and made some offensive adjustments before we got film on Greenfield.

“We had plenty of stuff to do,” the coach added.

Bakken said Greenfield has good size, with three or four linemen over 280 pounds.

“We’re going to have to make sure we use technique properly,” the coach said. “They’re by far the biggest team we’ve seen.

“We’re going to continue doing what we’ve done,” Bakken added. “We’re just going to stick with what we’ve worked on and hopefully that will be good enough.”

If the Wolverines win, Wilmot could be waiting in the second round. Like any other coach, though, Bakken said he and his team weren’t looking that far ahead.

“It’s a non-issue,” the coach explained. “We need to get through Greenfield first.”