Sports

South upsets Notre Dame for just the third time

By Dave Boehler
Beacon Sports Editor

 

Colin Brennan loved what he was hearing.

The South senior had just scored the first touchdown of the game and was lining up to snap the ball for the extra point when he heard disbelief coming from Green Bay Notre Dame as they got ready on defense.

“Their linebackers were freaking out, saying, ‘we’re losing to South!’” Brennan said. “I think everyone started to realize we had a big shot to win this game because they were already off the rails in the second quarter.”

The Redwings went on to beat the Tritons, 14-0, on Aug. 29 for just the third time in program history.

“Unreal, to be honest,” South junior Dylan Foth said. “The coaches kept saying that we had a chance to beat them, but nobody really believed it because we haven’t beaten them in years. And then it happened. Everything just pieced together.”

South had lost the last nine games against Notre Dame by allowing at least 40 points each time.

The Tritons defeated the Redwings by a combined score of 82-0 the previous two games and had not lost to them since 2007.

Notre Dame was also ranked No. 3 in the state in Division 3 after reaching the state quarterfinals a year ago.

South had just one win each of the last four seasons – all against North – and had not beaten a team other than the Golden Raiders since 2014.

“There’s not many times where you’re going to be a part of something like this,” Redwings’ coach Jason Harder said.

Harder was glad he did not receive a Gatorade shower after the upset win, even though South was voted as the state’s team of the week at wissports.net a few days later.

“I was pretty happy about that,” he said. “There was no Gatorade dumping, which I thought was appropriate. It was definitely a big win and we should be excited about it, but we’ve kept telling the kids we have a good team. We emphasized that and preached that. …

“There were lots of hugs and an elated feeling, but I was happy there was no dumping of water. I think that’s reserved for some other circumstances, even as big of a win this was, I like how that transpired.”

Students did not rush the field, either. They waited until the coaches were done talking to the players to meet them.

“They kind of waited and as soon as we broke the huddle to walk back to the sideline, then the gates opened up and they came (on the field),” Harder said. “Yeah, that was cool.”

South took a 7-0 lead when Brennan caught a 20-yard pass from Erik Gonzalez-Serna in the second quarter.

The Redwings clinched the victory with 4 minutes left in the fourth, after Foth scored on an 11-yard run for the 14-0 lead.

“I wanted to help put the game away,” Foth said.

Afterward, South’s junior quarterback was asked if he was surprised by the outcome.

“It brought me a lot of joy, but I’m not going to say it surprised me because I knew we could do it,” Gonzalez-Serna said.

Last year, Gonzalez-Serna was not on varsity but remembers sitting in the student section and then hanging out at Applebee’s after South’s games.

He went again with some of his teammates.

“We were just feeling it, so we went there,” Gonzalez-Serna said. “We were eating and just talked about all the plays we made, how good it felt to win the game. It was amazing.”

Labor Day weekend came and went, the first day of school started and the win still had not completely sunk in for Brennan on Wednesday.

“In some parts, yes, but in other parts, no,” he said. “The win feels real but knowing it was just the third time in our history feels surreal to me.”

Harder, who received congratulatory emails and texts from several other coaches, could see this coming.

“I felt good about this year,” Harder said. “I knew we would be better. We’ve put a lot of time into that part of it. … I felt that would pay dividends and help out.”

And what will he remember about the game 50 years from now?

“The overwhelming feeling of working so hard to try to get the kids to taste some success on the field like that,” Harder said.

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