WAUKESHA NORTH 0
Catholic Memorial sophomore Eric Fridl tries to evade
Waukesha North senior Parker Zitzke
during Friday’s game at Kettle Moraine High School.
CMH’s Lechner steps up
Senior has key touchdown, interception
WALES — Matthew in the middle.
That’s where Matt Lechner found himself: right in the middle of the Catholic Memorial High School football team’s 35-0 victory in a Classic 8 Conference opener against Waukesha North on Friday at Kettle Moraine.
Lechner scored a key touchdown and intercepted a pass on the next play — all in a span of 14 seconds — to help the Crusaders roll. After two turnovers and four holding penalties crippled CMH in the first half, the Crusaders cleaned it up and in the second half to improve to 3-0 overall.
Memorial coach Bill Young was asked which bothers him more, turnovers or penalties.
“Both — equally,” Young said. “We need to avoid penalties and mental mistakes. In football, anything can happen. In the second half, we just came out, executed and had maybe one penalty, converted on third downs. That was the difference.”
North first-year coach Matt Harris recognized another big difference.
“It’s just that they’re big dudes and they took care of us,” Harris said. “We’ve got guys going both ways, and Memorial is big. They’re strong, and they just wear on you. We had a good game plan. We just wore down.”
North nearly hit the game’s first big play when senior Emilio Deleon was brought down on the opening kickoff by CMH sophomore kicker Eric Fridl at North’s 42.
After a three-and-out, Memorial’s first possession ended with a fumble that North junior defensive lineman Alec Barth scooped up and rambled to the Crusaders’ 34.
After North moved into the red zone, a pitch out was fumbled and CMH senior Sam Gromacki fell on the ball.
From their own 20, Memorial marched 80 yards on 12 plays, including a 27-yard touchdown pass from junior Alex Bray to senior Robbie Gogin on a slant.
The touchdown pass came on a fourth down play.
“That was a big momentum changer,” Bray said. “We ran a play-action to bring the defense in, and coach (Bob) Hall called a nice slant and he was wide open.”
Ahead 7-0 with 56 seconds left in the first quarter, Memorial got the ball back on the first play of the second quarter with an interception by sophomore Jaylen Campbell.
The Crusaders again marched downfield despite two holding penalties. Once in the red zone, a Bray pass was tipped at the line of scrimmage and North junior Tony Tromblay picked it off at the North 10 with 9:05 left before halftime.
The 7-0 score held until halftime.
“We didn’t capitalize early on,” Harris said. “We knew we had to jump ahead of them and if we didn’t, something like this was going to happen.”
Catholic Memorial had six first-half penalties that cost the Crusaders 50 yards.
In the third quarter, both teams traded punts before a long 44-yard pass play from Bray to junior wide receiver Fletcher Metz moved the ball to the North 15. Two plays later, Lechner took a handoff up the gut for an 11-yard score with 4:21 left in the third quarter. The extra point made it 14-0.
On North’s next offensive play, Lechner stepped in front and picked off a Tromblay pass at the North 35. Six plays later, senior Tommy Garza sliced through the North defense for a 3-yard touchdown and a 21-0 lead.
“We had to pick it up in the second half — that’s for sure,” Lechner said. “We knew we had to come out strong because we were only up by seven. I was just in the right place at the right time, and our coaches had us in the right coverage. It just kind of happened.”
On North’s next play, CMH senior Jett Siegenthaler intercepted a pass. While the Crusaders didn’t score on the possession, CMH was able to chew up more clock. A punt from Bray pinned the Northstars at their own 1-yard line.
“In the second half, we weren’t shooting ourselves in the foot,” Bray said. “We had a lot more energy and everything was flowing. It was really nice to have the big second half surge.”
Memorial put the game away with a 4-yard touchdown run by Campbell with 4:36 left and a 14yard touchdown pass from Bray to Metz with 2:18 to go.
“The wind just came out of our sails,” Harris said. “I’m so proud of our kids the way we fought in the first half. We’re still learning — as coaches and as a team.”
Catholic Memorial senior Tommy Garza dives forward
on a run defended by Waukesha North’s Malik Noblin, left,
and Sebastian Jalas during Friday night’s game at Kettle Moraine.
Charles Auer/Freeman Staff
Waukesha North senior Malik Noblin runs while being tracked by Catholic Memorial defenders, from left, Jack Crain, Matt Lechner and Mikey Wurster during Friday’s game at Kettle Moraine. Charles Auer/Freeman Staff
A rainbow fills the sky as Waukesha North and Catholic Memorial play at Kettle Moraine High School Friday night. North was playing its final “home” game at Kettle Moraine before debuting the new synthetic turf field on Sept. 19. Charles Auer/Freeman Staff