- Associated Press - Friday, November 18, 2016

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - Eric Fridl admitted he was frustrated after failing to convert a pair of field goal attempts, so the Waukesha Catholic Memorial senior found another way to make a difference with his legs on Friday.

Fridl returned an interception return 44 yards for a touchdown to help lead the Crusaders to a 24-14 victory over Green Bay Notre Dame to win the WIAA Division 3 football championship.

Catholic Memorial (14-0) took an early lead with two quick strikes, but didn’t find the end zone again until Fridl’s pick late in the third quarter gave the Crusaders a 14-point lead. Notre Dame quarterback Johnny Santaga’s pass deflected off Michael Gregoire’s hands into Fridl’s waiting arms before Fridl went untouched down the left sideline.

“I turned and saw that we had only the quarterback to beat, and two of our bigger blockers that had to block him,” Fridl said. “So I was pretty confident they were going to be able to pick that up and we were going six.”

It was the sixth turnover of the game, with three for each team. Each school also blocked a field goal attempt.

“It was really back and forth,” said Fridl, who also pushed a 48-yard field goal attempt wide right. “We had way more total yards, but it was still 14-7. So whoever was able to capitalize on the mistakes really got the win in the end.”

Jaylen Campbell rushed for 167 yards and a touchdown for the Crusaders, who flipped the result from last year’s title game against the Tritons (12-2) in claiming their second WIAA crown to go with four WISAA championships.

Campbell broke free for a 70-yard touchdown run on the game’s third play from scrimmage. After Notre Dame answered with an 11-play, 80-yard scoring drive, Crusaders quarterback Ben Nimz hit Max Cooper on a 62-yard touchdown pass.

The Tritons didn’t gain a first down on their next six possessions, and couldn’t muster more than 20 yards on a drive until Nate Ihlenfeldt’s second touchdown made it 24-14 with 4:38 left.

“They gave us some chances, we gave them some, and they took better advantage than we did,” Notre Dame coach John Nowak said.


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