Sports Check Blog

FOOTBALL PLAYOFFS: Waterford marches on, will face longtime nemesis Waukesha West

Wolverines battle the other Wolverines, Waukesha West, in Level 2

Tanner Keller breaks off one of his four touchdown scampers Friday night. (Rick Benavides/SLN)


BURLINGTON – After three plays Friday night, everyone at Waterford Union High School knew the deal.

The hard-charging, smashmouth Wolverines, by far the best football squad at the school since 2011’s WIAA Division 2 state title game run, handed the ball three times to junior running back Tanner Keller, who busted off touchdown runs of 85, 61 and 57 to end the game early in the second quarter.

The 21-0 advantage finished at 42-15 for the second-seeded Wolverines, who dominated an overmatched 7 seed, Milwaukee Reagan, from the Milwaukee City Conference.

Waterford improved to 9-1 on the season, and it was its ninth straight victory.

Keller rushed for a career-high 247 yards, on four carries, while Dominic Miller added 105 on eight carries.

Why so easy, you ask?

Because football.

No, actually, Waterford’s Keller and Miller are the peanut butter and jelly of the team’s lunch time sandwich, and nobody has been able to figure out the tandem all season, except Franklin, the top-ranked team in the state in Division 1.

But the reward is anything but another cupcake.

In comes Waukesha West, the Wolverines, the under-seeded No. 6, next weekend on Friday night at Waterford.

Though West has had a down year with a 6-4 record, it showed just how elite the Classic 8 Conference is with a two-touchdown defeat of host Wilmot last night, 41-26.

Joe Schauer, a quarterback who seems to get better with each game, completed four of eight passes for 67 yards, 66 going to Josh Szeklinski on three catches.

Sure, Reagan rushed for more than 200 yards, but the game was 42-6 after three quarters, as Keller added another score and Miller added two rushing touchdowns.

Mike Durand’s 35-yard field goal finished the Waterford scoring at the 8:22 mark in the final quarter.

The past two postseasons, Madison-area powerhouse Monona Grove has ended Waterford’s season, but the Wolverines twins squared off four straight years in October from 2012-15, with all four victories going to Waukesha.

In fact, Waterford has never beaten West, which won state championships in 2004 and 2010 and has advanced to 12 consecutive postseasons.

The Wolverines have turned into an area playoff staple as well, advancing to their eighth straight playoffs, coinciding with head coach Adam Bakken’s arrival in 2011. For those of you that may have forgotten, Bakken was the defensive coordinator for the 2009 Division 4 state champion Walworth Big Foot Chiefs, where his brand of hard-hitting, pressure defense first clicked.

It’s not a great matchup for Waterford. West has playmakers all over the field, including quarterback Brooks Blount (1,500 yards passing), Sam Mikulak (1,100 yards rushing) and Trae Tetzlaff (700 receiving yards).

But Waterford has been unbeatable at home, with blowout wins over playoff teams Burlington and Lake Geneva Badger.

However, West’s losses have come to the state’s top teams like Kettle Moraine, Muskego and Arrowhead.

Bakken has the memory of an elephant, and he won’t soon forget his playoff history against West.

Therefore, look for Waterford to be extra prepared for one of the state’s best programs, and expect a classic high school football showdown.

Visit next Friday, Oct. 26 for full coverage from Southern Lakes Newspapers, including photographer Rick Benavides, reporter Chris Bennett and Sports Editor Mike Ramczyk.


Other area playoff scores


Division 2

(4) Brookfield East 24, (5) Burlington 0

(6) Waukesha West 41, (3) Wilmot 26

(1) Brookfield Central 45, (8) South Milwaukee 8

Division 3

East Troy 28, New Berlin West 26

Division 1

Mukwonago 33, Lake Geneva Badger 15

Muskego 56, Milwaukee Hamilton 7

Franklin 50, Milwaukee Marshall 0

Division 5

Mayville 35, Palmyra-Eagle 6


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