Senior Manager Bonadonna Reflects on 2021 Football Team


Joey Bonadonna, Sports Editor, Online Tritonian

On Friday night, the Triton football team fell in Level 2 of the WIAA playoffs to Menasha by a score of 43-27, finishing the season with a 6-5 record. The 2021 calendar year brought a lot of challenges for Notre Dame football as the Tritons played 18 games in a span of 8 months, ending with an 11-7 record in those games. Over four years, the class of 2022 had multiple tumultuous turns of events over their time in the program.

In 2018, the class finished their season with the freshman team 9-0, including a close 14-7 win over Bay Port, with an emergency quarterback starting and multiple players playing up on junior varsity. Kai Huguet scored a long touchdown with cramps in his legs, with less than a minute remaining, screaming to the sidelines, “Get my pickle juice!” Huguet finally slid in as he crossed the goal line as the Tritons also scored a rare win over the Pirates. The varsity team finished their season with a loss at West De Pere in Level 3 of the playoffs, but there was hope for a bright future going forward. 

In the summer of 2019, the class suffered some losses. Some players quit or transferred out of NDA, including five players to rival De Pere. Players who remained felt betrayed that their friends had left, but they would have to move forward to the season ahead. After a season-opening win against Sheboygan North, the Tritons were upset on the road by Sheboygan South, which began an eight-game losing streak, finishing the season 1-8. A program that consistently found success and deep playoff runs was frustrated and sought redemption and a chance to prove that they were better than that 1-8 team.

But in 2020, things changed for everyone with the COVID-19 pandemic. In the fall, many area schools had decided to move their season to the spring, leaving Notre Dame with having to fill their schedule with other independent schools who were playing in the fall. However, a day before the season was to start against Kaukauna, a positive case shut down the program and left everyone quarantined. The team was forced to move their season to the spring and their “Redeem Team” would once again have to wait for their chance.

The first game of the 2021 spring season would be at Menasha who was ranked #1 in the state in the medium-school division. In the 4th quarter, the Bluejays held a 10-0 lead until the Tritons scored two touchdowns in the last eight minutes to win 13-10. This began a 5-0 start for NDA, including two other last-minute victories over Kewaunee and Eau Claire Memorial.The undefeated start came to an end against Superior, and after a couple of quarantines knocked out the entirety of their quarterback room, the Tritons ended their spring season with a loss at Stoughton. 

This season, after an 0-2 start, the Tritons rattled off three straight wins, outscoring their opponents 166-21. Then after another two-game skid, the Tritons went on another run, finishing the regular season 5-4, earning the #6 seed in their region for the playoffs. After pulling off an upset over #3 ranked Fox Valley Lutheran, the Tritons got a rematch with Menasha, whom they lost to in the regular season by a score of 43-21.

How fitting that where the hectic year of 2021 started it would also finish. The Tritons could not slow down Menasha’s potent offense and despite a solid effort from the Notre Dame offense, it was not enough. 

The story of the football class of 2022 is one of resilience and ability to withstand adversity. Even when being dealt a tough hand, the Tritons have been able to show up and put up a fight no matter the odds or circumstances. I have been proud to be a part of this team for all four years of my time at Notre Dame Academy and have made enough memories for a lifetime.