WAUKESHA — The first player in the Waukesha Catholic Memorial handshake line and the last one in Mount Horeb/Barneveld’s saw quite a bit of each other during Friday’s second-round prep football playoff game at Carroll University.
Mount Horeb quarterback Luke Hagelin was battered and bruised after his date with linebacker C.J. Goetz and the Catholic Memorial defense.
But even though the Vikings came up just short in a 26-20 loss to the defending Division 3 state champs, Hagelin won the respect of Crusaders players on the field and fans in the stands.
“They blitzed pretty quick and send a lot of guys, and have good linebackers and a good d-line,” Hagelin said. “Our offensive line is amazing, but it just didn’t go our way.”
Hagelin took a number of big shots from Goetz, a University of Wisconsin commit, and his teammates throughout the night, including on a third-down incompletion in the first quarter that had many wondering if the 6-foot-2 senior would return to the game.
But he came back on the ensuing drive, and later on nearly led Mount Horeb to a comeback victory.
Mount Horeb (9-2) appeared finished with 3 minutes, 47 seconds left when Catholic Memorial quarterback Ben Nimz was picked off by Caden Lee, who returned the ball to the Crusaders 20.
After connecting with Travis Klassy for 12 yards for a first-and-goal, Hagelin found him again two plays later for his third scoring pass to make it 26-20 after Cris Pertusatti’s extra-point kick.
After the Vikings defense held the Crusaders on downs, Hagelin and the offense had one last shot. Starting at their own 20, Klassy and Hagelin hooked up for 36 yards to reach the Crusaders’ 30 before a sack by Goetz and an interception two plays later ended the Vikings’ hopes.
Catholic Memorial (9-2) advances to the quarterfinals and will play New Berlin Eisenhower (11-0) next weekend.
“To have a shot like that at the end shows the heart and guts of our kids,” Mount Horeb coach Ryan Kleppe said. “They’ve shown it every week. We had some guys go down with injuries and it was next-man-up mentality — kids play for each other and having each other’s back and emptying the tank.”
Hagelin’s tank appeared on “E” as he walked through the handshake line, his shoulder exposed to the elements and his facemask shield foggy. He finished the night 17 of 25 for 194 yards and three scores and two interceptions. He finished the season with 2,041 passing yards and 25 touchdown passes with just five interceptions.
His top two receivers, seniors Klassy and Tyler Crubaugh, posted solid numbers. Klassy had seven catches for 75 yards and two scores, including a beautiful grab in traffic off a thread-the-needle pass from Hagelin in the first quarter. Crubaugh had four catches for 81 yards and a touchdown.
The Hagelin-Crubaugh hookup opened the scoring about a minute in. Hagelin found Crubaugh open for a 50-yard strike into the wind to let the defending champs know this would not be easy.
“It was great to get it started right away. We always want to get it started with a big bang,” Hagelin said. “I think we did that with that.”
Kleppe, whose coaching staff monitored Hagelin’s condition throughout a night of hits and pressures, said he was proud of his quarterback’s ability to hang tough.
“He did some great things keeping plays alive and making things happen down the stretch,” Kleppe said. “He’s a tough-as-nails dude. You’ve got some fantastic athletes over there and he’s taking shots and he stuck his nose in there on the run game after taking some hits.”
Mount Horeb/Barneveld 13; 0; 0; 7 — 20
Waukesha Catholic Memorial 13; 7; 6; 0 — 26
MHB — Crubaugh 50 pass from Hagelin (kick failed)
WCM — Fox 50 pass from Nimz (kick failed)
WCM — Fox 41 pass from Nimz (Fox kick)
MHB — Klassy 10 pass from Hagelin (Pertusatti kick)
WCM — Kopulos 2 run (Fox kick)
WCM — Goetz 14 pass from Nimz (pass failed)
MHB — Klassy 4 pass from Hagelin (Pertusatti kick)
First downs — MHB 14, WCM 10. Rushing (Att.-Yds.) — MHB 40-95, WCM 36-89. Passing yards — MHB 174, WCM 177. Passes (Comp.-Att.-Int.) — MHB 17-26-2, WCM 9-17-2. Fumbles-lost — MHB 4-1, WCM 1-0. Penalties-yards — MHB 4-38, WCM 4-75.
Rushing: MHB, Winston 28-87. WCM, Kopulos 31-62.
Passing: MHB, Hagelin 17-26-2-174. WCM, Nimz 9-17-2-177.
Receiving: MHB, Crubaugh 4-73. WCM, Fox 4-140.