The preliminary is out of the way, and now, it's showtime.
The Southeast Conference champion Franklin football team overpowered Milwaukee Hamilton, 66-14, in its WIAA Division 1, Level 1 playoff game on Oct. 21, playing everyone and keeping everyone healthy.
That latter goal was "the No. 1 concern" going into the game according to coach Louis Brown.
With the win, the Sabers improved to 9-1 overall earned a home rematch with arch-rival Oak Creek (7-3) in a Level 2 playoff game at 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 28. The Knights earned their way into the rematch with a 38-28 victory over Kenosha Bradford on Oct. 21.
Franklin beat Oak Creek, 33-21, in the annual regular season "Helmet Game" on Sept. 16, a game that went a long way toward validating what the almost-entirely rebuilt Franklin team was doing this fall.
Brown knows the Sabers will have to ready for what will no doubt be a fired-up Knights squad.
"We'll watch a bunch of film and then get ready," said Brown. "We'll focus on taking care of the football and making sure we watch what their quarterback (Jakup Sinani) is doing. He does a great job taking care of the ball, and if they do things the way they're capable of, they'll be about as good as we see. We know their offense is ahead of their defense this year, but when their offense is on, they're really good."
But so are the Sabers at this point, as they have scored at least 30 points in the last six games in a row. Brown credits a lot of that to the progress the retooled offensive line has made.
"They have really started to figure things out," said Brown.
A wild card in this game is 2015 All-Suburban defensive end Latron Kirk-Sprewer. He was not available due to injury for the first Oak Creek game, and Brown is looking forward to seeing what he can do this time around.
"He's a very disruptive force out there," said Brown. "He can change anyone's game plan."
Kirk-Sprewer and the other starters were only on the field for about a quarter and a half against a game Hamilton team that was simply overmatched by the Sabers Oct. 21.
It was 28-6 at the quarter and 59-14 at the half as running back Tanner Dykstra had a career night with 152 yards on just nine carries and four touchdowns. The scoring efforts were of 4, 5, 38 and 55 yards. Derrick Jones rushed four times for 40 yards with two TDs, while Ken Kobayashi had 52 yards on eight tries with a TD. Max Alba hit Kyle Lewis on a nine-yard TD pass, Austin Geiger hit a 32-yard field goal and in the second half Matt Devinger found Nolan Jessup on an 89-yard TD pass to close out the scoring.
The Sabers rushed for 274 yards on 31 tries, and three different quarterbacks hit a total of five passes for 167 yards.
"We got step one done," said Brown. "Everything gets locked in a little tighter now. We came out of the gate very fast, which is what we wanted. This is very interesting, we never had these kind of first round games when we were D2, so this was a good chance to get everyone in. And I give the Hamilton kids and coaches a lot of credit. They played their hearts out and didn't lay down for us at all."