By Dan Truttschel

Correspondent

The challenge for the East Troy football team was going to be a difficult one right from the start of its Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association Division 3 playoff opener Friday night at Waukesha Catholic Memorial.

And that certainly proved to be the case.

Catholic Memorial, the defending state champions, blitzed the Trojans for 42 first-half points and cruised to a 42-20 victory. The loss ended East Troy’s season at 5-5 overall, while the Crusaders improved to 8-2 and advanced to a second-round contest this Friday against Mt. Horeb/Barneveld at Carroll University.

Finding a weakness in the Crusaders was not an easy task, East Troy coach Jeff Crandall said.

“Catholic Memorial has a lot of length and athleticism all over the field,” he said. “They do not have many weak spots on their team, which make them hard to attack and defend.”

Catholic Memorial junior Tate Kopulos, who rushed nine times for 118 yards, scored on touchdown runs of 55 and 12 yards in the opening quarter. The Crusaders added two scores through the air, as quarterback Ben Nimz connected on passes of 59 and 10 yards to Luke Fox and Mike Naze.

“They were executing at a high level to start the game,” Crandall said.

Kopulos was another in a number of weapons the Crusaders brought to the field, Crandall added.

“He is a strong, fast player,” Crandall said. “He hits the hole hard and breaks tackles to get extra yards.”

After Catholic Memorial added two more touchdowns – the first on a 15-yard pass from Nimz to Naze and the second on a 32-yard run by Dylan Schrubbe – the Trojans put some points of their own on the scoreboard.

Junior Jacob Dessart connected on a 3-yard touchdown pass to Jacob Price with just one second left in the first half, followed by a 46-yard scoring strike to junior Joshua Marshman.

“Marshman is a big body who moves well,” Crandall said. “He took a short screen pass, broke a few tackles and out-ran the rest for the score.”

Dessart ended the scoring with a 25-yard touchdown run with 4:21 left in the third quarter.

Seeing his team continue to play hard, even in the face of a huge deficit, wasn’t a surprise to Crandall.

“Our players have battled to the end each week,” he said. “That is what they did Friday.”

Dessart completed 17-of-29 passes for 168 yards and also rushed 15 times for 116 yards. He finished the season with 1,255 yards passing and 1,719 rushing – good for a school record.

Other leaders Friday were Price with nine catches for 63 yards and Marshman with seven catches for 93.

Crandall was proud of the season his team put together.

“I felt we improved each week, and we played a large group of juniors and sophomores who improved each week,” he said.

The efforts of the seniors also didn’t go unnoticed, and they leave some pretty big shoes to fill, Crandall said.

“Our seniors were part of the teams that qualified for the playoffs three straight years, which is the first time in school history,” he said. “It is always hard to replace seniors. Our seniors did a great job of showing excellent leadership all year, which we hope has rubbed off on the younger players.”

 
 

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