It had been seven long years since Teurlings Catholic had beaten the Notre Dame Pios, but that streak was broken in a big way Friday night, as the Rebels won 34-21.
Junior wideout Kentrell Prejean had more than 300 yards receiving for TCHS, with most of those coming during an electric first half, where he had catches of 60, 27, 64, and 29 yards, along with a 79-yard touchdown reception that put the Rebels up 24-7 with 7:16 remaining in the first half.
When he didn’t score touchdowns, he was setting them up. Prejean opened the game with a 60-yard catch of a pass from Christian Welch. The Rebels missed a 24 yard field goal attempt, but the tone had been set. TC was going to attack the Notre Dame secondary, and they would not let up.
After forcing the Pios into a three-and-out, Welch found Prejean for 27 yards. On the next play Welch connected with Connor Kleinpeter for his first of three touchdown passes in the first half to give the Rebels a 7-0 lead.
On their third drive, TC wasted little time getting back on the scoreboard. It took only four plays for the Rebels to find the end zone, as Welch hit Will Judice with a strike to make the score 14-0 at the end of the first quarter.
The Rebels would score on four of their six possession in the half.
After Bradford Cain’s 38 yard field goal attempt split the uprights to extend the lead to 17-0, the Pios would respond with a quick strike of their own.
Lucas Simon took a handoff and broke through the line on his way to a 61-yard touchdown run that briefly stemmed the Rebels’ onslaught.
But on the first play from scrimmage on their next possession, Teurlings Catholic got those points back with that 79-yard catch and run from Welch to Prejean, making the score 24-7.
Notre Dame had a shot to make the Rebels sweat after Nick Swacker found Luke Bertrand for a touchdown pass with 1:41 to play in the second quarter, cutting the deficit to 10.
Teurlings Catholic would muff the kickoff return, giving the Pios a chance at one more score before the half. Unfortunately, they couldn’t get into the end zone, and then missed a short field goal that would have made it a one score game.
Things got worse before they got better for Notre Dame as they returned the favor, and fumbled the kickoff to open the third quarter. TC turned that miscue into three points of its own and pushing the lead back to 13, just 21 seconds into the quarter.
The Pios were headed for another possible score late in the third when Swacker was picked off in the end zone by Alex Andrepont.
It resulted in a 14-point swing, as the Rebels were able to turn a Notre Dame miscue in to points. Prejean caught a pair of passes to put TC into Pios territory. From there, Tanner Brinkman powered his way to the end zone from 47 yards out, putting the Rebels up 34-14.
The Pios had their chances to get back into the game after Welch was picked off early in the fourth, but Notre Dame was forced to turn it over on downs on each of their next two possessions.
Notre Dame made a last gasp when Swacker connected with Zach Lamm for a late score, making it 34-21, but the Pios would get no closer.
It was a huge victory for Teurlings Catholic; having lost seven games in a row to their arch rivals, with the last six by double figures.
“Seven years,” Prejean said as he took in the moment. “We put a spark into them…The whole sideline was up, and having fun. We’re ready to get back to work and get ready for next week.”
Notre Dame felt they came into the game prepared, but they weren’t prepared for the level of fight the Rebels brought to the field.
“We knew coming in (Teurlings Catholic) would be fast to the ball,” said Swacker. “They were just more aggressive than us, and that’s why the game ended like it did.”
The rivalry is renewed, with Notre Dame now in the unfamiliar position of having to wait until next year.