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Catholic Memorial battles its way to third straight state championship

11/19/2021, 9:30am CST
By Travis Wilson

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Catholic Memorial offensive lineman Logan Erchull celebrates the Crusaders' Division 4 state championship

Catholic Memorial led 14-0 before Ellsworth even took a snap on offense and was ahead 21-0 at the end of the first quarter, but it was a grind the rest of the way as the Crusaders held on for a 21-12 victory to claim a second straight Division 4 state title and third consecutive overall.

Taking the opening possession 69 yards in five plays, Catholic Memorial got on the board first with a 41-yard touchdown run by dynamic sophomore running back Corey Smith. The Crusaders recovered a pooch kick, and Rory Fox would punch it in from five yards to give Catholic Memorial a 14-0 lead less than four minutes into the game.

The lead would swell to 21-0 late in the first quarter when Obacoso Allen caught a 27-yard touchdown from Rory Fox, as the Crusaders amassed 197 yards of offense in the first quarter.

Ellsworth did not go away easily, however, and the Panthers owned the second quarter. Ashten Quade got the team on the board with a 13-yard touchdown run with eight minutes left in the half, and quarterback Jack Janke would score on a short touchdown run late in the half, though the Panthers failed on both conversion attempts, leaving it a two-score game.

Catholic Memorial recovered another onside kick on the second half kickoff, as the Crusaders would have ten drives in the game compared to just seven for Ellsworth.

While Ellsworth's defense would largely stymie the Catholic Memorial offense in the second half, the Panthers could not find the end zone on offense.

Ellsworth's best chance came on a drive that started with 48 seconds left in the third quarter and lasted over eight minutes and accounted for 16 plays, only to see the Panthers turn the ball over on downs at the Catholic Memorial 21-yard line.

That expenditure of energy with no change on the scoreboard seemed to sap the last bit of hope for the Panthers, who would throw an interception on its final possession as Catholic Memorial was able to run out the clock in the 21-12 victory.

Catholic Memorial ran for 250 yards on 42 carries, as Rory Fox accounted for 90 yards and a score while Corey Smith added 81 yards and a touchdown. Ellsworth's Ashten Quade was outstanding on the ground (14 carries, 94 yards, one touchdown) and as a receiver (three catches for 40 yards) but it wasn't quite enough as the Panthers settled for a silver ball as runner-up.

The title is the fifth for Catholic Memorial in the last ten seasons, as the Crusaders claimed Division 3 championships in 2012, 2016, and 2018 along with D4 titles in 2019 and 2021.


About the Author

Travis Wilson serves as the WisSports.net General Manager, Football Editor, and contributing writer for other parts of the site. Wilson was selected as part of the Sports 40 Under 40 list by Coach & AD Magazine and the National High School Athletic Coaches Association for 2019. The Wisconsin Football Coaches Association (WFCA) named Travis the 2015 recipient of the Dave McClain Distinguished Service Award. He currently serves on the WFCA Executive Board as the Website and Communications Director and is a member of the Executive Board of the Wisconsin Basketball Coaches Association. A graduate of Richland Center High School and Mount Mercy College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Travis was a three-sport athlete in high school (football, baseball, basketball) and currently resides in Reedsburg. You can follow him on Twitter at @travisWSN.

For the latest and most up to date football news and recruiting information, follow Travis on Twitter @travisWSN. Email story ideas, recruiting info, etc. to Travis at travis(at)wissports.net.

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