In a rematch of last year’s title game, Catholic Memorial (14-0) avenged last year’s loss with a 24-14 win over Notre Dame (12-2) to win the Division 3 championship Friday at Camp Randall Stadium in Madison.
The Crusaders wasted little time putting points on the scoreboard. On the third play of the game, Jaylen Campbell sprinted 70 yards down the sideline for a touchdown to give Catholic Memorial a 7-0 lead. The Tritons responded with an 80-yard drive of its own on their first possession, capped by a 3-yard touchdown run by Nate Ihlenfeldt to tie the game 7-7.
After the Crusaders intercepted a pass late in the first quarter, they regained the lead on a perfectly thrown 62-yard strike from Ben Nimz to Max Cooper with two minutes remaining in the first quarter to go ahead 14-7.
The score remained unchanged until late in the third quarter. A tipped Notre Dame pass fell into the arms of the Crusaders’ Eric Fridl, who raced 44 yards down the sideline into the end zone to give Catholic Memorial a 21-7 lead with 2:36 remaining in the third quarter. Fridl converted on a 27-yard field goal to provide the Crusaders with insurance and increase their lead to 24-7. The Tritons added a touchdown late in the fourth quarter on a 7-yard toss from Johnny Santaga to Ihlenfeldt to account for the final score.
Campbell rushed for a game-high 167 yards and a touchdown for Catholic Memorial. Nimz completed 6-of-10 passes for 125 yards and a score. Cooper led the Crusaders in receiving with four catches for 78 yards and a touchdown. Eric Fridl kicked pair of field goals, had an interception return for a touchdown and made six tackles in the game. TJ Goetz led the defense with eight tackles, including two sacks and two deflected passes.
Santaga connected on 15-of-27 passes for 148 yards, a touchdown and three interceptions for the Tritons. Ihlenfeldt paced the Notre Dame ground game with 84 yards and a touchdown on 27 carries, and he snatched a game-high five passes for 35 yards and a score. Ryan O’Connell and Danny Stewart led the Tritons’ defense with nine tackles apiece.
Last year’s runner-up Catholic Memorial wins its second State championship in its fifth finals appearance, also winning the Division 3 title in 2012. The 2015 champion Notre Dame finishes runner-up in its fourth experience in the championship game.