Call it rivalry resentment.
Or the relentless will to beat your biggest foe.
Whatever you call it, call it a big-time, upset victory for the Burlington Demons over the Waterford Wolverines last Friday, something not a lot of people, including myself, saw coming.
A week after allowing only seven points to the mighty running force of Badger High School, Burlington somehow managed to play some stellar defense once more, this time holding all-star running back Tanner Keller to 81 yards on 18 carries.
Though Dominic Miller went off for 150 yards, the Wolverines racked up a relatively pedestrian 318 yards, and Burlington came up with a huge final 14 minutes of the game to rally for the win.
Late in the third quarter, Dalton Damon, who finally had a chance to play Waterford after missing the first meeting (a 49-7 Waterford win) with pneumonia, hooked up with Dylan Runkel for a 41-yard touchdown.
Waterford answered with a 26-yard Michael Durand field goal to give the Wolverines an 18-16 lead, but the Demons were able to stymie Keller, who attempted a halfback pass on third and goal. Zach Wallace bowling balled his way down the field with a couple first-down runs, and Dalton’s day was complete with a 4-yard touchdown run to give Burlington the lead with 1 minute to play.
Wallace added the two-point conversion, and the Demons led the Wolverines, 24-18.
Waterford could only get to midfield before a Hail Mary pass was intercepted on the last play, sending the fourth-seeded Demons to Waukesha for a tough showdown with No. 3 Waukesha West at 7 p.m. Friday.
It is the first time the Demons (9-2) have reached Level 3 of the WIAA playoffs since 2005, when the Ross Wiemer, Derek Franco and Kyle Steffen-led Demons made it all the way to Level 4, one game from the state championship in Madison, but fell, 15-13, to Waunakee.
Congratulations to the Wolverines on a great season, and big props to the Demons for hurdling their way past Waterford, a team they hadn’t beaten since 2014 (27-7 at Waterford).
Also, congrats to Wilmot and Catholic Central, which both saw their solid seasons come to an end.
Moving over to the college scene, the Wisconsin Badgers were on bye last week, but with two losses still have an outside shot at the Big Ten title game.
The Green Bay Packers might as well have been on bye.
They came out flat against the Los Angeles Chargers with 0 points and only three first downs in the first half, and floundered to a 26-11 defeat in a game where they never really got off the plane.
Oh well, every good team has a stinker here or there, and thanks to everyone else in the NFC North losing, Green Bay still sits atop the division at 7-2.
That’s enough of the other stuff, let’s get down to what could be my last prediction of the season.
Last week: 2-2
GAME OF THE WEEK
No. 4 Burlington (9-2) at No. 3 Waukesha West (8-3), 7 p.m., Friday
For the record, I have never been a fan of home-field advantage in Level 3 of the WIAA playoffs.
This game should be played at a neutral site, maybe Waterford, Union Grove or Mukwonago high schools.
Since that can’t happen, West, which could’ve easily gotten a No. 1 seed because it plays in the state’s best conference, the Classic 8, has a distinct advantage against the Demons Friday night.
These teams met in a scrimmage to begin the season, when Dalton Damon and Zach Wallace were able to score on a couple drives, but West was much bigger and more physical up front, as they usually are.
What separates West, which shut out Wilmot at Wilmot, 35-0, last week, is an elite passing game.
Brooks Blount was 20-for-26 for 224 yards and three touchdowns, but also threw three picks against a tough Wilmot defense.
West added 155 yards on the ground.
The Wolverines featured four receivers with 38 or more yards receiving.
Damon and Wallace were able to best Waterford and have been killing it all season.
Damon has thrown for 1,312 yards and 14 touchdowns, while Wallace has racked up 1,724 rushing yards and 23 touchdowns.
Dylan Runkel has 499 receiving yards and eight touchdowns.
Blount has thrown for a whopping 2,701 yards with 28 touchdowns and eight picks.
Devon Portz leads West with 932 receiving yards on 63 catches, with nine touchdowns.
The numbers say West simply has more firepower, and a 35-0 victory at Wilmot is pretty telling.
But you never know. Burlington is riding high after upsetting its rival, and it proved it can win in nasty weather last weekend. More wintry conditions are expected in Waukesha.
West is just too darn good, and they usually stop a Southern Lakes foe in the playoffs.
PREDICTION: Waukesha West 42, Burlington 28
Other area prediction:
Muskego 30, Franklin 21