Catholic Central senior quarterback Brandon Pum attempts to get above a Living Word Lutheran tackler during the Hilltoppers 35-14 home opening win at the Topper Bowl. Pum and the Toppers return to the field Friday for their Homecoming game (John Fisher/Standard Press).

Team still has legitimate shot to make postseason

By Mike Ramczyk

The final score may look like the Catholic Central football team was beaten in a lopsided affair on a rainy Friday night in Greendale.

But Toppers head coach Tom Aldrich was more than pleased with his squad, which is still 3-3 overall and 2-2 in the Metro Classic Conference after a 34-13 loss to Greendale Martin Luther.

Martin Luther went up 7-0 with a 51-yard touchdown on the first play of the game and led 27-6 at halftime, but the Toppers still find themselves in a great position to make their first playoff appearance since 2015.

All the Toppers have to do is win two of their final three games, and they’re in.

Despite the loss, Aldrich said his guys ran the ball well, controlled the clock, and gave maximum effort.

“I thought our kids played well,” Aldrich said. “They’ve got some talented players and they kept us on our toes.”

“But we were able to run the ball and control the clock a little bit. They just made big plays when they had the ball. We played a really good game, and I’m proud of the effort and attitude the kids had. I’m looking forward to next week’s game.”

Though the conditions were rainy as ever, Martin Luther passed the ball with supreme efficiency.

Quarterback Brady Hoppert went 10-for-11 with 196 yards and three touchdowns.

After Catholic Central quarterback Brandon Pum ran for a 27-yard touchdown to cut the Martin Luther lead to 14-7 in the second quarter, Hoppert fired scoring passes of 45 and 50 yards to help Luther gain a sizable 27-6 halftime lead.

“Hoppert has a nice arm and is very accurate,” Aldrich said. “They have a nice ball club. We were hoping the rain might slow them down.”

Martin Luther extended the lead to 34-6 in the third quarter.

But the Toppers added one more score, a 6-yard Henry Amborn touchdown run, in the fourth quarter.

“From the outside, you look at the final score, but it doesn’t justify our effort,” Aldrich said.

“In the second half, we realized we were able to play with them.”

Catholic Central was still able to put up 215 total yards, led by 76 rushing yards on 14 carries by Reid Muellenbach.

Pum ran for 45 yards and completed 2-for-3 passes.

Aldrich was impressed with his backs, who he said ran really hard.

Neal McCourt added 40 yards on the ground, and Amborn tallied 39.

Defensively, David Doerflinger led the way with six tackles, including one for loss, and Danny Von Rabenou added an interception.

Martin Luther gained 297 total yards.

The focus now shifts to the final three weeks of the season, which begins with Friday’s Homecoming contest at the Topper Bowl against Whitefish Bay Dominican (2-4, 1-3 MCC).

It will be a game the Toppers must win with upcoming games against Kenosha St. Joe’s (5-1) and first-place Racine Lutheran (6-0).

“We have to win two of our next three, but we have our work cut out for us,” Aldrich said.

“We have a great chance to make the playoffs if we play to our ability. We have to continue to control the clock and get better running. Dominican passes well, we have to get better at defending the pass.”