By Mike Ramczyk~Sports Editor

 

The Wilmot football team needs to win out this season to assure a share of the conference title.

The Panthers took care of business last Friday night at Burlington, and in turn squashed the Demons’ playoff hopes.

Wilmot set the tone with a five-yard fumble return for a touchdown in the first quarter, and the turnover nightmare began for Burlington in a 27-0 drubbing.

The Demons finished with four turnovers and missed some golden opportunities late in the contest, resulting in a painful shutout loss.

Wilmot improved to 6-2 overall and 5-1 in the Southern Lakes Conference. The Panthers are tied with Waterford and Lake Geneva Badger with one more conference game to play tonight.

“It wasn’t a football game, it was a gladiator battle,” Wilmot coach Mike Greinke said. “Their kids were scrapping to try to get into the playoffs. It was a hard week to focus for us, but we pulled it together tonight. Our defense is taking care of business every game.”

The loss put Burlington’s overall record at 4-4, but it dropped the Demons to 2-4 in the Southern Lakes Conference and mathematically eliminated them from playoff contention.

This is the sixth time in the last seven seasons Burlington has missed the playoffs.

“You can’t turn the ball over against a good team and expect to win,” Burlington coach Hans Block said. “But what I liked is we didn’t give up and continued to battle.”

“It’s a tough pill to swallow to not make the playoffs,” Block added. “I knew Wilmot was a good team. We didn’t play well. We had goals to perform better this season. Right now, we’re not reaching our potential.”

Down 14-0 late in the third quarter, the Demons put together a solid drive. Mark Wallace connected with Luke Dahl for a 30-yard pass play before Wallace left the game with an injury.

Junior Brad Burling stepped in and got Burlington into the Wilmot red zone with a few more completions.

However, the drive stalled when Burling’s third- and fourth-down passes to the end zone were batted down at the last second.

Wilmot’s dagger came early in the fourth quarter. After Burlington shanked a punt to set up the Panthers at midfield, Cam Loveless capped the drive with a 26-yard run, weaving his way through traffic for the back-breaking touchdown with 9:47 left to play.

Wilmot ran for 206 yards, led by Loveless’ 85. The Panthers’ stingy defense, which has shut down four straight opponents, held Burlington to 211 total yards, only 61 on the ground.

Wilmot’s Doug Wedge and Ethan Scott, two top playmakers, left the game with injuries.

It was the second straight week Wilmot forced four turnovers.

“The kids talk about winning conference,” Greinke said. “Our goal is to win the conference championship. We have to finish the job Friday. That will be part of the discussion. If it’s on the kids’ minds, I’m going to talk about it, and teach them how to focus on it in the right way.”

 

FOOTBALL WEEKEND

 

Westosha Central (0-8, 0-6 SLC) at Wilmot (6-2, 6-1 SLC), 7 p.m.

 

The Panthers couldn’t have asked for a better season-ending opponent than the Falcons.

Wilmot is shutting down opponent after opponent to the tune of a mere 11.5 points allowed per game.

Central is on the opposite end of the spectrum. Westosha only scores 7.2 points per game, and last week’s 21 points in a 48-21 Homecoming loss to Delavan-Darien were a season high.

Greg Kuhfuss completed 13-of-21 passes for 169 yards and two touchdowns in his best performance of the year, but it wasn’t enough to stop the high-powered Comets.

Expect another spirited passing effort against Wilmot, but it will be in garbage time.

The Panthers are simply too good and too motivated for a solid playoff seeding right now.

The battle of western Kenosha County will be won by Wilmot.

 

PREDICTION: Wilmot 35, Westosha Central 7

 

 

 
 

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