Delavan-Darien falls to Catholic Memorial
Led by senior fullback Peter Karczewski, a 5-foot, 11-inch, 195-pound pile driver, the Crusaders pulled away in the second half to earn a Division 3 state berth. Catholic Memorial (11-2) faces 2009 Division 3 runner-up West De Pere (13-0) for the Division 3 title at 10 a.m. Thursday at Camp Randall Stadium.
“There were so many times today we could have thrown it in,” Delavan-Darien coach Steve Tenhagen said. “They went up a couple scores, and we found a way to battle back.”
The Crusaders took a 7-0 lead on their first possession. Karczewski scored on a 37-yard run with 9 minutes, 25 seconds to play in the first quarter.
Karczewski carried 50 times and gained a career-high 308 yards. For the Comets, Austin Fritzinger gained 80 yards on nine carries, and Justin Fowlkes gained 56 yards on 13 carries.
Catholic Memorial dominated on offense, running 71 plays to Delavan’s 43.
The Crusaders rolled to a 13-0 lead the second quarter on 20- and 22-yard field goals from Chris Colombe. In each drive, Catholic Memorial marched into the red zone, but the Comets’ defense held on with the aid of false-start penalties on each drive.
With the Crusaders scrambling to regain composure, Fritzinger brought the Comets into the game with a 65-yard touchdown run at 5:32 of the second quarter to cut the deficit to 13-7 at the half.
Despite dropping two possible touchdown passes in the first half, and running only 25 plays to Catholic Memorial’s 44, the Comets were in good shape at the half.
“We were only down six points, and we thought we had it,” Fritzinger said. “We put a lot of stuff together in the second half and we came up short.’’
The Crusaders opened the second half with an 11-play, 55-yard drive that took nearly six minutes. Colombe hit a 30-yard field goal for a 16-7 Crusaders’ lead.
While Fritzinger’s big touchdown put life back in the Comets in the first half, Fowlkes connected with Marcus McLin on a 27-yard touchdown pass with 1:11 to play in the third quarter. McLin produced a key interception with 2:39 to play to set up the TD drive.
Trailing 16-14, the Comets were looking to make a big stop, but Catholic Memorial scored on a seven-play, 60-yard scoring drive. Charlie Walsh scored from the 2-yard-line to put Catholic Memorial ahead, 23-14, with 10:01 remaining.
Catholic Memorial successfully converted an onsides kick, recovering on the Comets’ 46. The Comets got a big break when a bad snap sailed over Crusader quarterback Dominic Zanoni’s head on the opening play, which resulted in a 15-yard loss.
Delavan-Darien got the ball back at it’s 17 after a Crusader punt with 8:08 remaining. The Comets’ must-have drive ended with an interception that was returned to the Comets’ 20.
Karczewski punched it in from the 2 to finish a five-play drive and give Catholic Memorial a commanding 30-14 lead with 3:46 to play.
The Comets mounted another scoring drive, including a 45-yard connection from Fritzinger to Fowlkes to the Crusaders’ 4. But Delavan-Darien lost a fumble to thwart the hurry-up drive.
Delavan-Darien kept fighting. The Comets blocked a punt and recovered at Catholic Memorial’s 22. After Fowlkes gained 13 yards and Fritzinger scrambled to the 2-yard-line, Fowlkes scored with 55 seconds remaining for the Comets’ last gasp.
“We (finished) one game away from state,” Fritzinger said. “We came out and we gave it all we had.”
CATHOLIC MEMORIAL 30, DELAVAN-DARIEN 20
Delavan-Darien 0 7 7 6—20
Catholic Memorial 10 3 10 7—30
Scoring summary: CM—Peter Karczewski, 40 run (Chris Colombe kick). CM—FG, Colombe, 22. CM—FG, Colombe, 22. DD—Austin Fritzinger, 65 run (Alex Limones kick). CM—FG, Dave Hodorowski, 30. DD—Marcus McLin, 27 pass from Justin Fowlkes (Limones kick). CM—Charlie Walsh, 2 run (Colombe kick). CM—Karczewski, 2 run (Colombe kick). DD—Fowlkes, 2 run (run failed).
Statistics: First downs—CM 20, DD 11. Rushing—CM 68-373, DD 23-134. Passing yards—CM –5, DD 141. Passes—CM 3-1-1, DD 20-8-1. Fumbles—CM 2-0, DD 2-2. Penalties—CM 5-28, DD 2-10.