Gruesen rescues Notre Dame in overtime as Tritons win
GREEN BAY (WLUK) -- With Notre Dame holding a 14-0 lead midway through the fourth quarter it's likely the Tritons weren't thinking they would need kicker Andre Gruesen to rescue them.
However, Ashwaubenon rallied with two touchdowns in the final four minutes, forcing overtime, stunning the Tritons.
Then, after Ashwaubenon missed a field goal, Gruesen stepped up and split the uprights from 42 yards and that was the difference as the Tritons beat the Jaguars, 17-14, in overtime in a Fox River Classic Conference game Friday.
"He's a good kicker, we have a lot of confidence in him," Notre Dame coach Mike Rader said. "We practice that every week, put him in pressure situations and he's able to put it through."
Notre Dame (2-0) was in cruise control in the fourth quarter. Running back Mike Gregoire scored two touchdowns -- upping his season total to six -- scoring on an 82-yard pass on third-and-18 in the first quarter and a 10-yard run in the second quarter.
Notre Dame, however, couldn't put away the Jaguars and then Anthony Guarascio started heating up. He led the Jaguars in the comeback, capping it off with a 15-yard pass to Alex Stanko and an incredible cross-field pass for a two-point conversion.
"Against Ashwaubenon this is kind of what we expected," Rader said. "We expected a good game and that's what we got."
Notre Dame, though prevailed. After easily beating Sheboygan South, 42-0, in Week 1, the Tritons knew their test Friday would be more difficult.
Rader was asked to define his team's win and he said, "Resiliency. We had them for a while, they got back to us. It shows a lot we were able to pull it out at the end."
The win was the first for Rader, who took over for John Nowak, who retired after 27 season as Notre Dame's only football coach. Nowak then passed away in July, so the win took on extra meaning.
"It's obviously more special to get this, first game without Coach Nowak," Rader said. "We pulled it off and it was awesome; a great feeling for us."
Follow Doug Ritchay on Twitter @dougritchay