There was no better opening script than the one written Friday night at Waukesha South for the No. 1-ranked Catholic Memorial football team.
Undefeated Memorial (12-0) blitzed visiting Kewaskum (10-2) in the game's first 12:07 for 28 points on four touchdowns and eventually rolled to an easy 35-7 win over the Indians in WIAA Division 3, Level 3 football battle. The Crusaders will meet Pewaukee (11-1) next week for the right to appear in the D3 state title game at Camp Randall in Madison.
CMH only needed five plays to take the lead, as the defense delivered the first blow to Kewaskum. Working from its own 39-yard line, the Indians fumbled on a running attempt, and junior end Jacob Kaiser picked up the loose ball, got a little help from teammate Tevin Smith and scampered 21 yards for the touchdown. Just 1:24 into the game, Memorial had itself a 7-0 lead.
Things got worse quickly for the East Central Conference champions. On its first offensive series, Memorial made it a 14-0 lead when junior quarterback Ben Nimz tossed a 35-yard TD pass to outstanding senior end Max Cooper.
It was a markedly different start for Memorial than one week earlier, when Wisconsin Lutheran grabbed a 13-0 lead off two early CMH turnovers.
CMH was all over Kewaskum on the next two possessions. Nimz and Cooper hooked up again for another touchdown, this time striking from 18 yards out. On that play, Cooper made an unbelievable one-handed catch in the back of the end zone to make it 21-0.
On the very first play of the second quarter, Memorial scored again, this time getting a 30-yard scoring run from senior Jaylen Campbell, who also had a brilliant night on the defensive side of the ball. With 11:53 still to play in the second period, the game was all but over at 28-0.
"I thought we came out and did a lot of very good things on both sides of the ball," said CMH coach Bill Young. "We got the quick turnover for a touchdown and that set the tone. I thought our defensive coaches of Mike Kinateder and Ryan Stefaniak called a great game. We had them off balance all night. The kids played well. We had some penalties that hurt us in the second half, but overall, the kids played very well."
Memorial's defense, led by Campbell, Luke Groehler. Luke Hubley, Eric Fridl, Smith, CJ Goetz and Kaiser, delivered the final CMH points of the night just three plays into the fourth quarter. Senior defensive back Mike Oechsner picked off an errant pass and rumbled 69 yards into the end zone to make it 35-0. It was Oechsner's second interception of the game.
In the first half, Memorial's defense stuffed the Kewaskum running game, which came into the game with 23 touchdowns. The Indians ran the ball six times for 7 yards.
On his game-opening touchdown, Kaiser said he just took advantage of the play that happened right in front of him.
"We had the defensive call on, and suddenly, I saw the ball come out," Kaiser said. "I got my hands on it and then Tevin (Smith) helped me stay on my feet. From there, I just took off for the end zone. My eyes got pretty big when I saw the ball in my hands and an open field in front of me."
Kewaskum finally got on the scoreboard with 7:29 to play when quarterback Dalton Poole hit end Brady Hanson for a 3-yard touchdown pass.
"This was a very nice win for us and it's great to be going to the state semifinals," Young added. "We played well. But we still have to keep getting better. There's areas we can improve on."
Perhaps, but none of those were evident in the first half against Kewaskum.