Muskego - One of the more improbable WIAA football playoff berths in recent years was secured by Muskego with a 53-20 romp over Waukesha South on Friday night.
The Warriors overcame an almost incredible number of obstacles to win their final three regular-season games and post a 4-3 record for their first season in the Classic 8 Conference.
A whole new team
They began this campaign with 22 new starters, then lost three more potential starters to injury before their first game and yet another starter during the second game.
"Our backups had to become starters," head coach Ken Krause said. "This is my fifth year here, though, and the kids believe in this program. This is a credit to our freshman and junior varsity programs.
"These kids come to (varsity) knowing what to do. They come up well-trained in our offense and defense."
Muskego also had to deal with a brutal early schedule featuring Classic 8 powers Hartland Arrowhead, Mukwonago, Waukesha West and Catholic Memorial, all in a row. All four of those teams eventually made the playoff field.
Coming together as team
The Warriors took their lumps, losing three of the four games, but they came together as a team through that adversity, and when the schedule grew softer, they responded with the three victories at the end.
"We lost those games, but we knew we were getting better every week," Krause said. "Those three losses came to the top three teams in the conference. We just had to stay positive."
Krause said the Muskego program had been in that situation before. In 2010, the Warriors were 1-3 in the Southeast Conference but won their final three contests to make the playoffs.
Now they have done it again, and their reward is a sixth seed in their Division 1 bracket and an opening game at third seed Lake Geneva Badger at 4 p.m. Oct. 20.
Badger comes in at 6-2 overall, 6-1 in the Southern Lakes Conference. Badger finished a game behind Waterford (7-0), which beat them, 6-3, in a showdown for the title Friday.
Quarterback Peter Krien ran for 968 yards and 10 touchdowns while passing for 205 yards and two more scores on the season. The running game is led by Robert Johnson with 907 yards and eight touchdowns.
Downing South with early TDs
Last week against Waukesha South, Muskego took control with three early scores.
Peter Roy ran in from one yard, David Kucharski returned a punt for a 65-yard score and Tyler Thomka burst in from 30 yards as the Warriors went up 21-0 after one period.
In the second, Roy tallied from two yards and Thomka from 71 to make it 35-6 at the half.
Roy scored his third touchdown, this time from two yards, and Xavier Jansen rambled 70 yards for another score as Muskego went up 47-12 at the third-quarter mark.
Roy, who has played quarterback and fullback in the past few games, finished with 178 yards rushing. Jansen collected 111 and Thomka 97 as the Warriors rolled up 446 yards on the ground. Sam Hirsch completed one pass to Jon Kudronowicz for 32 yards.
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