(WFRV) – It was a gut-wrenching way to end Notre Dame Academy’s football season last year, but the Tritons are looking at the task ahead as they prepare for a new season.

In the WIAA level 2 playoff game against Menasha last year, the Tritons were unable to stop the run as the Blue Jay’s Davontre Smith rushed for 403 yards and scored four touchdowns.

“Menasha is a phenomenal football program and they really took it to us in the second round of the playoffs. They’re the standard in our area for our division and in our conference. So, we’re hoping we can put together another good run and see what happens,” said Notre Dame’s head football coach Mike Rader.

One word to describe the Notre Dame football program is consistent. The Tritons have made the playoffs for the better half of the last decade. The program continues to hold a high standard year in and year out and it’s the main reason for its success.

As football activities start to get underway for high school teams in Northeast Wisconsin, it’s a chance to give coaches an early look at their rosters and see how they can build off the previous year.

“We have a bunch of guys coming back who we kind of know what to expect. We have a group of kids who we are kind of hoping is going to step up into their role. So, it’s going to be fun – as it always is – to see whose turn it is next and what are they going to do,” Rader said.

With a large part of the senior class returning to the field in 2022, the group is excited about the challenge of proving to the city of Green Bay what they are capable of doing.

“We have about 20 seniors coming back so, we’re looking good and we’re just trying to build back those relationships that we’ve had and build them back with the new guys that are coming in,” senior defensive back Henry Webber explained.

“I’m really excited and really anxious. I feel like we’re going to be good. We just got done with 7-on-7 and we looked good there. I feel good. I feel excited. I think we’re going to be ready,” said senior quarterback Joe Otradobec.

The last time Notre Dame hoisted up the gold trophy was in 2015 at the WIAA State Tournament. Just like every team, winning state is the goal and the Tritons have a lot to build on from last year coming into this season.

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“We have high standards. We expect to get the most out of the kids and hopefully if we do everything, mostly like we want to, that good things happen. Especially with our early season, playing Pulaski and Bay Port, the kids are going to be tested early and we’ll see what they have. Hopefully, we play well enough to win a couple of those and see what happens,” said Rader.

“This is what I looked forward to my whole life. I’m just hoping, and I’m just so excited. I can’t wait to see and show everybody in Green Bay what we can do this year. We’re looking for a championship,” Webber said.