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November 24, 2013

Memorial Stadium Memories: Finals Review Since 1996

On Monday and Tuesday we will celebrate the pinnacle of Nebraska high school football achievement, the state finals at Memorial Stadium.

Not all that long ago those finals were played at home sites. But since the move to Memorial there have been 17 years worth of memories made at the house the Huskers built.

What follows is a list of the state final games played at Memorial Stadium. We hope looking back over the scores and highlights you recall your own memories of these championship contests.

Class A
Papillion-LaVista 35, Millard South 6.
Papio denied the Patriots a repeat championship, with senior back Paul Hunt doing most of the damage, rushing for 131 yards and three TDs.

Class B
Elkhorn 19, Crete 14.
This is officially the coldest I've been while covering a football game. Crete, behind all-state running back Levi Mehl, scored twice early, but Elkhorn didn't allow the Cardinals a point after the first quarter. Kyle McMenamin passed for 143 yards and rushed for an Elkhorn TD.

Class C1
Milford 14, Battle Creek 12.

Second year in a row these teams met in the finals, Milford winning both. On an icy night where Milford did not complete a pass, QB Kyle Hingst scored on runs of 30, 83 yards.

Class C2
Cambridge 35, Norfolk Catholic 16.
Two great programs find themselves in the same class for this one year. Cambridge's win gave the Trojans a 60-2 record over five seasons. Eric Streit rushed for 151 yards and three TDs; Zac Jones had an 87-yard TD run for winners.

Class D1
Dodge 42, Anselmo-Merna 34.
Dodge won its fourth consecutive state title behind 189 yards rushing and 3 TDs by all-time leading rusher Cory Eikmeier.

Class D2
Humphrey St. Francis 37, Butte 20. Paul Kosch rushed for 139 yards, including a 76-yard TD.

Class D3
Wolbach 54, Milligan 20.
Craig Oakley passed for 270 yards and 4 TDs, ran for three others.

Class A
Lincoln Southeast (13-0) 33, Papillion-LaVista (10-3) 14.
Lee Daniel Avila rushed for 74 yards and 2 TDs for Southeast and future Husker Jon Bowling scored on a 7-yard interception return. Tyler Davies rushed for 168 yards and both Papio TDs.

Class B
Pius X (11-1) 47, Lexington (11-2) 8.
Paul Kastl rushed for 227 yards and 3 TDs and also caught a TD pass for Pius, which pulled away with a 28-point second quarter.

Class C1
Aquinas (11-1) 26, Imperial (11-1) 14.
Tony Truksa rushed for 228 yards and TDs of 59, 68 and 47 yards to lead Aquinas. Elton Ogg returned a kickoff 90 yards for an Imperial TD.

Class C2
Cambridge (13-0) 50, Oakland-Craig (12-1) 14.
Eric Streit rushed for 126 yards and 3 TDs. Cambridge scored 44 unanswered points, including 30 in the third quarter.

Class D1
Coleridge (11-2) 42, Ansley (9-4) 34.
Ansley led 28-7 at half, but Coleridge responded with five touchdowns. Dave Nausland led Coleridge with 141 yards rushing, 4 TDs.

Class D2
Dodge (13-0) 28, North Loup-Scotia (12-1) 26.
What a great ballgame. Dodge led 28-6 at half before Wildcats stormed back behind play of all-state running back Casey Hughes, who finished with 241 yards and three TDs. NL-S failed on a two-point conversion which would have tied the game.

Class D3
Benedict (11-1) 65, Elba (11-1) 16.
Brian Burhoop rushed for 229 yards, on just six carries, and scored three TDs for Benedict.

Class A
Lincoln Southeast (12-1) 23, Millard West (11-2) 7.
Jim Connell hit Fred Horne with TD passes of 24 and 36 yards, and future Husker Barrett Ruud scored on a 47-yard run for LSE.

Class B
Pius X (11-2) 39, Chadron (12-1) 14.
Matt Grosserode rushed for 156 and two Pius TDs, while Michael Wahlstrom hit Zac Alcorn with Chadron's TD passes

Class C1
Norfolk Catholic (13-0) 27, Chase County (11-2) 6.
Paul Hughes lit up the Chase County defense for 248 passing yards and 2 TDs.

Class C2
Cambridge (13-0) 50, Bloomfield (11-2) 14.
A rematch of the 1992 state final, the Trojans got four touchdowns from Ryan Ommert, including an 86-yard kickoff return.

Class D1
Mullen (12-1) 59, Humphrey St. Francis (11-2) 38.
Nick Simonsen ground out 267 yards on 42 carries, including four TDs, and Justin Young had 16 tackles to lead Mullen.

Class D2
Butte (13-0) 59, Loomis (9-4) 12.
Jerry Liewer rushed for four touchdowns and passed for two more for Butte, which put the game away with 47 points in the second and third quarters.

Class D3
Milligan (11-1) 35, Benedict (9-2) 28.
The final six-man championship game played at Memorial Stadium. Jon Vavra-Fong rushed for 223 yards and 4 TDs to lead Milligan. This would be the final - for now - six-man state title game sanctioned by the NSAA and played at Memorial Stadium.

Class A
Creighton Prep (12-1) 27, Millard West (10-3) 17.
David Horne, another future Husker, rushed for 110 yards and two TDs for Prep, which also got a 93-yard kickoff return for a TD by John McLeay.

Class B
Elkhorn (13-0) 23, Scottsbluff (11-2) 8.
David Steward scored two touchdowns as Elkhorn jumped to a 23-0 halftime lead.

Class C1
Norfolk Catholic (13-0) 35, Pierce (11-2) 7.
Jamie Otto returned a kickoff 95 yards for a Norfolk Catholic TD. The Knights made the most of four interceptions.
Class C2
Stromsburg (13-0) 33, Randolph (9-4) 0.
The Swedes completed a dominating season by holding Randolph to only 89 yards. Quinn Peterson rushed for two TDs and ran for another.

Class D1
Bancroft-Rosalie (13-0), Lawrence/Nelson (12-1) 14.
Bancroft-Rosalie, which had won the previous two playoff games in overtime, broke away from a 14-14 halftime tie by scoring 28 unanswered points. Clint French rushed for 106 yards and three B-R TDs, while Matt Pagels added 130 yards and two TDs.

Class D2
Dodge (12-1) 34, Butte (12-1) 32.
Two eight-man teams at the top of their game collided. Tyler Paulsen rushed for 317 yards and two TDs for Dodge, while Kyle Lechtenberg passed for 165 yards and three TDs for Butte.

Class A
Lincoln Southeast (13-0) 14, Creighton Prep (12-1) 7, 2 OT.
A classic. Southeast's Barrett Ruud scored on an 18-yard, 4th-quarter run, but 19 seconds later Prep responded with a 69-yard TD strike from David Slaughter to Kourtland Jimmerson. Prep's Steve Hicks blocked a Southeast field goal attempt to force a second overtime, where Nick Bahe's 7-yard run proved the game-winner. Whew!

Class B
Crete (10-3) 13, Scottsbluff (12-1) 3.
Crete trailed 3-0 entering the final period before scoring twice late and claiming the win. Nate Godinez rushed for 87 yards and a TD for Crete.

Class C1
St. Cecilia (13-0) 14, Bishop Neumann (11-2) 0.
St. Cecilia scored both its TDs in the final quarter, benefitting from two critical turnovers.

Class C2
Laurel-Concord (13-0) 34, Amherst (10-3) 0.
The Bears put this one away early, scoring 28 first-quarter points. This bunch of L-C seniors also won the state basketball title, finishing undefeated in both sports.

Class D1
Howells (13-0) 38, Lawrence/Nelson (11-2) 14.
The first of Howells' state-record tying six in a row. Alan Bohaboj rushed for 216 yards, including a 54-yard TD, to lead the Bobcats.

Class D2
Lindsay Holy Family (12-1) 28, Sargent (12-1) 24.
Holy Family scored two fourth-quarter TDs to pull out the win; Tim Wiese led the Bulldogs by scoring two TDs.

Class A
Millard West (12-1) 28, North Platte (11-2) 14.
Jake Dugger rushed for three TDs and Keith Hoff rushed for 161 yards as the Wildcats claimed their first state title. Sophomore Danny Woodhead, a future all-American at Chadron State, rushed for 113 yards, including TDs of 75, 22 yards to lead Platters.

Class B
Seward (12-1) 35, Crete (11-2) 20.
Iron man Jeff Luebbe rushed about a zillion times for 238 yards and three TDs to lead Bluejays to their first playoff championship.

Class C1
Boone Central (12-1) 9, Pierce (12-1) 7.
One of the most memorable of finals, in my opinion. Unbeaten Pierce played without all-stater, and future Husker, Matt Herian, and limited Boone Central, which it had beaten in the regular season, to just 104 total yards. But Josh Inman's 28-yard field goal midway through the fourth quarter proved the game-winner.

Class C2
Lawrence-Nelson (13-0) 33, Hartington CC (10-3) 21.
Doug Wehrman rushed for 125 yards and two touchdowns and also booted a 25-yard field goal, and Kirk Peterson added 94 yards rushing and two TDs to lead the Raiders.

Class D1
Howells (12-1) 34, Bloomfield (12-1) 20.
Howells scored 22 points in the second quarter to take control of the game. No Howells scoring drive was longer than 33 yards. Travis Mlady rushed for 122 yards and both Bloomfield TDs.

Class D2
Lewiston (11-2) 34, Greeley (10-3) 32, OT.
Senior all-state QB Dion Parks passed for 306 yards and three TDs, but it was his one-yard run in overtime, and the ensuing PAT pass to Andrew Sisco, which won the game for Lewiston. It was Lewiston's first state football championship.

Class A
Lincoln Southeast (12-1) 7, Millard North (12-1) 6.
One of the most controversial endings to any state playoff final. Down 7-6 in the fourth quarter, the Mustangs drove to the Southeast 10-yard line. Facing fourth-and-two, North QB John McCardle appeared to get the first down, but was ruled down short of the marker. McCardle, who gained 66 yards on the final drive, rushed for 223 yards and his team's TD.

Class B
McCook (13-0) 39, Ralston (9-4) 14.
Ben Klug rushed for 181 yards and scored three TDs, including a 55-yard punt return, to lead the Bison to their first playoff championship.

Class C1
Bishop Neumann (13-0) 28, Gothenburg (10-3) 13.
Neumann stormed back with 20 fourth-quarter points to claim the title. QB Zach Miller scored two of those Cavalier TDs and finished with 141 yards rushing. Jeff Neujahr gained 163 yards for Gothenburg, including a 49-yard TD run.

Class C2
Lawrence-Nelson (12-1) 14, Creighton (11-2) 7.
Raiders made it two in a row behind 163 yards rushing and a TD by Doug Wehrman.

Class D1
Howells (13-0) 24, Greeley-Wolbach (12-1) 14.
Howells grabbed early control with 18 first-quarter points, but Greeley's very effective passing game made things interesting. Greeley QB Bryan Dutcher passed for 264 yards, while Chris Williams caught 8 passes for 164 yards and three TDs.

Class D2
St. Mary's (13-0) 22, Lindsay Holy Family (11-2) 8.
Ryan Hickey rushed for 87 yards and 1 TD, and Mike Simon added 86 yards and a TD as St. Mary's rolled to its first playoff championship.

Class A
Millard North (13-0) 38, Creighton Prep (12-1) 7.
Jon Kimbrough rushed for 207 yards and 4 TDs to lead North to its first-ever state playoff championship. The teams would meet again in the 2004 state final.

Class B
McCook (13-0) 21, Omaha Roncalli (12-1) 0.
The best-executed trick play in playoff finals history turned the tide in this one. Roncalli's defense had baffled the Bison - McCook would only gain a total of 178 yards in this game - but still trailed 7-0 when McCook lined up for a field goal on the final play of the half. Only it was a fake. Holder Tony Purvis hit Brooks Snyder with a 31-yard TD pass that turned the game fully into McCook's favor.

Class C1
Bishop Neumann (13-0), Chase County (11-2) 7.
Brian Miller scored on an 8-yard run with 8:26 remaining in the fourth quarter, then Jacob Mach found Jake Vasa with the game-winning PAT pass.

Class C2
Cambridge (13-0) 22, Crofton (12-1) 14.
Another thriller. With the game tied at 14-14 and 2:36 left in regulation, sophomore QB Waid Vontz converted two critical third downs, then scored the game-winning TD with only 19 seconds left. Matt Sexton rushed for 106 yards and Anthony Lytle added two Cambridge two TDs.

Class D1
Howells (13-0) 36, Overton (11-2) 15.
Howells broke game open by scoring five consecutive touchdowns, three of them by Mat Eikmeier.

Class D2
Mullen (13-0) 30, Lindsay Holy Family (12-1) 12.
Steven Dent rushed for 263 yards and scored four TDs, including a 22-yard interception return, for the unbeaten Broncos.

Class A
Creighton Prep (12-1) 21, Millard North (6-7) 7
. Andy Keith rushed for 141 yards and TDs of 41, 1 and 1 yards for the winners. D.J. Coleman, a sophomore, rushed for 182 yards, including a 57-yard TD.

Class B
Pius X (13-0) 14, McCook (12-1) 9.
This win capped the greatest day of finals football in the Stadium Era. In a defensive battle, McCook had taken a 9-7 lead on a 12-yard pass from Tony Purvis to Brendan Liess with just 1:22 left in regulation. Pius answered with an 84-yard drive in the final 82 seconds, the last 49 coming on a pass from Ross Bosn to Michael Millard with only 11 seconds left on the clock.

Class C1
Norfolk Catholic (12-1) 26, Boone Central (12-1) 13.
This game jump started the greatest day in finals football in the Stadium Era. Boone Central had beaten NC in the regular season and the teams were tied with 1:07 left in regulation, tied at 13-all. The Knights then stormed 55 yards in 1:02, the final 21 on a pass from Tyler Sudbeck to Ricky Destafano with just five seconds left on the clock. In an odd twist, the Knights also scored on the game's final play when Jamie Beckman recovered a fumble in the end zone on the ensuing kickoff.

Class C2
North Platte St. Pat's (12-1) 21, Stanton (12-1) 6.
St. Pat's scored 21 points after halftime. John Corio rushed for 92 yards and a TD for the Irish while Josh Kramer added a fumble return for a score. It was St. Pat's first title since 1985.

Class D1
Howells (13-0) 43, Overton (11-2) 6.
In a rematch of the 2003 finals, Michael Dostal rushed for 160 yards and two TDs for Howells.

Class D2
Lindsay Holy Family (13-0) 36, Mullen (11-2) 18.
Andrew Pfeifer passed for three TDs and ran for two more to lead Holy Family, marking their second D2 title, and fourth finals appearance, in the past five years.

Class A
Millard North (12-1) 35, Lincoln Southwest (12-1) 14.
Jeff Tarpinian rushed for 239 yards, including TDs of 10, 54 and 9 yards, and Paul Homer added 99 yards and two TDs for the Mustangs, who claimed their second playoff title. Ollie Sloup rushed for 126 yards, including a 76-yard TD, for Southwest, which reached the finals in only the school's fourth year of existence.

Class B
Omaha Skutt (13-0) 6, McCook (12-1) 0.
Another great finish. McCook QB Tony Purvis, the fastest player on the field, was knocked out of bounds at the Skutt two-yard line as time expired. Casey Carbudillo rushed for Skutt's score.

Class C1
Norfolk Catholic (13-0) 20, Chase County (10-3) 13.
Norfolk Catholic won its sixth playoff title, and fourth in the Stadium Era. Andrew Gall rushed for 114 yards and Bryce Miller kicked two field goals to pace NC. Chase County junior Matt May put on the most memorable performance in a state finals, rushing for 119 yards, including a 77-yard TD, and collecting 23 tackles, including 18 solos. Wow.

Class C2
Plainview (11-2) 21, Cambridge (10-3) 6.
The Pirates celebrated the 30-year anniversary of their first playoff title - in the first year of the playoff era - by smothering the Cambridge offense. David Wragge rushed for 219 yards and all three Plainview TDs.

Class D1
Howells (12-1) 46, Axtell (12-1) 6.
The Bobcats held the previously unbeaten Wildcats to just 27 yards rushing on 25 attempts. Bryan Janata rushed for 153 yards and two TDs for the Bobcats, while Kai Konicek added 110 yards and a TD.

Class D2
Bruning-Davenport (13-0) 34, Sargent (12-1) 12.
Bruning-Davenport won its first playoff title, controlling this game from start to finish. Alex Schoenholz rushed for 247 yards, including TDs of 29, 4 and 32 yards, and Kole Ficken also scored twice for B-D.

Class A
Kearney (12-1) 41, Omaha Westside (12-1) 21.
After falling behind 6-0, Kearney exploded for 35 points in the second and third quarters on the way to capturing the school's first-ever state playoff title.Vinny Molina rushed for 114 yards and a touchdown and Rustin Dring scored three TDs to lead the Bearcats, while future Husker Collins Okafor rushed for 173 yards, including a 77-yard TD run to lead Westside.

Class B
Crete (12-1) 28, Elkhorn 14 (12-1).
A marked underdog, Crete broke on top thanks to a 78-yard punt return by Cody Wockenfuss and controlled the game for most of the night. Future Husker John Levorson scored twice for the winners, from 5 and 46 yards, while Collin Martineau gained 92 yards and scored a TD for Elkhorn.

Class C1
Auburn (13-0) 28, Valentine (12-1) 27, 2 OT
. The greatest game in finals history. Auburn converted a 4th-and-goal with a 24-yard TD pass from Dana Mellage to Troy Williams in the first overtime, and Trent Jones booted the game-winning PAT in the second OT. Luke Lundy rushed for 114 yards and a TD for Auburn while Mason Ormesher gained 103 yards and scored twice for Valentine. Both teams were making their first apperance in the state playff finals.

Class C2
Wakefield (13-0) 34, Blue Hill (12-1) 7.
It's defense doing the job, Wakefield didn't allow Blue Hill an offensive touchdown while winning its first state playoff championship. Paul Moody scored three TDs and Joel Nixon scored once and had three interceptions from his safety spot to spark the winners. Like in C1, both teams were making their playoff finals debut.

Class D1
Overton (12-1) 32, Bancroft-Rosalie (11-2) 8.
After losing twice before in the finals, Overton overpowered the Panthers, its defensive effort led by Andrew McCarter, who had three interceptions and 21 tackles. Joel Hodgson added 150 yards rushing and two TDs for Overton.

Class D2
Dodge (12-1) 28, Stapleton (12-1) 20.
A key 58-yard touchdown pass from Jacob Kreikemeier to Bryan Ruzak - was that interference or not? - late in the third quarter proved the difference. Stapleton made its debut in the state playoff finals an outstanding one, led by QB Quincy Opela's two touchdowns.

Class A
Omaha Central (11-2) 26, Millard North (10-3) 21.
The Eagles won their first state playoff title since 1984, riding a 206-yard, 3-TD passing performance by Chris Griffin. Millard North was without QB Nick Failla, who was leading the state in TDs, so it switched future Husker Sean Fisher to running back, gave him the pig 44 times and he gained 198 yards and scored all three Mustang TDs.

Class B
Crete 14 (13-0), McCook (12-1) 7, OT.
It was a game dominated by defense - scoreless at halftime - but Crete won it in the extra session when That Man Named Levorson scored on a 10-yard run, wrapping up a second consecutive title for the Cardinals. McCook, in its fifth final in six years, scored on a 34-yard pass from Matt Berry to Tyrone Sellers.

Class C1
Pierce (13-0) 34, Bishop Neumann (12-1) 28, OT.
Rallying from a 28-7, third-quarter deficit, Pierce won its first state playoff title since 1978. A 64-yard pass from Eric Koehlmoos to Jacob Navrkal turned the game in Pierce's favor and Aron Eddy scored the game-winner in overtime.

Class C2
Wakefield (13-0) 19, Blue Hill (12-1) 0.
For the second straight season Wakefield beat Blue Hill in the finals, gaining 383 yards against a defense that had posted nine shutouts during the 2007 season. Ian Miner's 130 yards and two rushing touchdowns led the Wakefield offense.

Class D1
Pope John (13-0) 39, Clarkson (10-3) 30.
In a game not as close as the final score indicated, PJ's defense dominated the line of scrimmage and RB Jake Schindler rushed for 111 yards and three TDs to lead the Crusader offense. It was the first playoff finals showing for both schools.

Class D2
Chambers (12-1) 28, Elgin (12-1) 24.
Jason Cameron recovered an Elgin fumble inside the Eagle 10-yard line, then led the Coyotes on a game-winning, 71-yard drive to capture the victory. Chambers trailed by 24-14 late in the third quarter before rallying. Cameron rushed for 184 yards and two TDs and also passed for a TD to lead Chambers to the win.

Class A
Millard West (13-0), 21, Millard South (9-4), 8.
Millard South struggled to reach the playoffs at all, then hit the accelerator, blasting Creighton Prep, 24-0, in the semifinal. Millard West had the answer in the final, completing a perfect season. Darius Evans returned the opening kickoff 94 yards for a Millard West TD and Kohlman Adema-Schulte added 96 yards rushing and touchdown for the champs.

Class B
Aurora (12-1) 20, Beatrice (11-2) 14.
QB Tyler McDonald led Aurora's second half comeback, finishing with 134 yards rushing and two TDs and passing for 110 yards more. Beatrice put together a late 89-yard drive to pull within six points but could get no closer.

Class C1
Pierce (12-1) 20, Boys Town (12-1), 10.
With less than four minutes left in regulation, and unbeaten Boys Town closing on what seemed a certain winning touchdown - giving the Cowboys their first-ever playoff title - Pierce recovered a fumble inside its 10-yards line. Tony Lauters then hit Brody Unger with an 86-yard touchdown pass, sealing Pierce's second straight state title.

Class C2
Blue Hill (12-1) 14, Archbishop Bergan (10-3) 0.
After twice losing in the finals, the Bobcats won their title by riding a powerful defensive performance, which was nothing new for the 2008 Bobcats; Blue Hill allowed seven points or fewer in 11 of its 13 games that season. The Bocats forced four turnovers and got 105 yards rushing and a TD from running back Riley Bonifas.

Class D1
Howells (13-0) 46, Axtell (9-4) 21.
Axtell got hot at playoff time, after losing its first two games, but had no answer for Howells, which won its seventh title since 2000. The story was all about Howells running back Clint Belina, who rushed 37 times for 310 yards and six touchdowns.

Class D2
Ewing (12-1) 49, St. Francis (12-1) 24.
Ewing won its first-ever playoff title behind a 21-point first quarter scoring explosion, extracting a measure of revenge for an earlier loss to St. Francis in the regular season. Ewing all-stater Brett Kaczor was magnificent on this day, connecting on 10-of-11 passes for 160 yards and two TDs, both to Austin Kaczor, and also rushed for 117 yards and two more touchdowns.

Class A
Millard South (13-0) 45, Millard West (10-3) 17.
As great as he was during his career, Millard South QB Bronson Marsh was never better than in this final, when he rushed for 163 yards and a TD and passed for another 101 yards. The victory also gave the Patriots revenge for having lost to Millard West in the 2008 state final.

Class B
Aurora (13-0) 34, Omaha Skutt (12-1) 21.
In a game the entire football-watching state was waiting to see, Aurora successfully defended its state title in this battle of unbeatens. After Skutt took an early 6-0 lead, the Huskies answered on a 58-yard interception return for a touchdown by Jacob Shaffer and never again trailed. In a battle of brilliant QBs, Aurora's Tyson Broekemeier finished with 135 yards rushing and two TDs and 172 yards passing and another score, while Skutt's Christian Dudzik finished with 106 yards rushing and two TDs and passed for another 210 yards and a score.

Class C1
St. Cecilia (13-0) 26, Norfolk Catholic (12-1) 18.
In another highly anticipated battle of unbeaten teams, St. Cecilia rode 105 yards rushing and two TDs by all-state RB Dalton Sealey and two rushing TDs by Beau Schwenka to the title. Senior Wade Dykeman's interception at the St. Cecilia 9-yard line ended NC's final scoring threat, wrapping up the title for the Bluehawks.

Class C2
Ponca (13-0) 14, Hartington Cedar Catholic (10-3) 13, OT.
In a rugged defensive battle, all-state running back Jared Curry scored the go-ahead TD in overtime, Beh Gehring kicked the vital PAT, and then the Indians stuffed all-state RB Chad Koch on Cedar's two-point conversion to seal the victory. It was the first-ever state title for Ponca and the second time the Indians had beaten Cedar that season, the first a 35-26 regular season win.

Class D1
Howells (12-1) 68, Giltner (11-2) 28.
The good news was, Giltner didn't yield a single yard to Howells all-state running back Clint Belina in the final 19 minutes of this game. That's because he didn't play. In the first 29 minutes of the game he rushed for 332 yards and six touchdowns, leading the Bobcats to their eighth state title in the past 10 years, a span in which they had a record of 120-6.

Class D2
St. Francis (13-0) 34, Hayes Center (11-2) 0.
Physically dominating the game in every aspect, the Flyers cruised to their third state playoff title; it was the first time in the finals for Hayes Center, which was unable to get anything going all day long. All-state running back Matt Korus led the winners with 207 yards rushing, on 37 attempts, scoring five TDs in the process.

Class A
Millard North 28, Millard South 20.
Down 20-3 at halftime, Millard North exploded for three third-quarter touchdowns to win its third-ever state title. Sophomore QB Isaac Aakre sparked the Millard North rally, throwing a 45-yard touchdown pass to Devin Bass and scoring himself in the that third-quarter flurry; Aakre finished the night with 155 yards rushing and a TD and passed for 124 yards and a two scores.

Class B
Crete (13-0) 34, Elkhorn (10-3) 0.
Crete dominated the line of scrimmage and scored all its points in the first three quarters. Senior Brock Sherman rushed for 207 yards and a touchdown and junior Derek McGinnis passed for 118 yards and two TDs to lead the winners, giving the Cardinals four state titles since 2000.

Class C1
Norfolk Catholic (13-0) 28, Pierce (11-2) 13.
Norfolk Catholic jumped to 21-0 lead in the second quarter, the third TD on a 74-yard interception return for a score by senior Kory Schafer, and cruised to its seventh state playoff title. Scott Benson later added a 50-yard interception return for an NC TD. Pierce lost twice that year, both times to Norfolk Catholic.

Class C2
St. Cecilia (13-0) 17, Archbishop Bergan (12-1) 14.
In a battle of unbeaten teams Bergan held a 6-3 first-half lead and scored with less than two minutes to go to get back within three, but the St. Cecilia defense came up with a big stop to end the game. Bergan held a 297-256 edge in total offense and acculated 18 first downs, but junior Phil Hamburger scored two TDs to boost St. Cecilia to its second straight state football title.

Class D1
West Point Central Catholic (12-1) 45, Creighton (12-1) 30.
Central Catholic rallied from a 14-12 halftime deficit to score three third-quarter touchdowns and pull away to the program's first-ever state football title. Senior Cody Stalp led the winners with 202 yards on the ground and six touchdowns, including a 39-yarder.

Class D2
Howells (13-0) 46, Sargent (12-1) 7.
In a battle of unbeaten teams Howells proved supreme, rushing to a 30-0 halftime lead and coasting home from there. Junior Trent Mastny led the winners with 181 yards rushing and two touchdowns and teammate Cory Brester also scored twice.

Class A
Lincoln Southeast 21, Omaha Burke 9.
Najee Jackson hit Desmond Robinson with a 59-yard touchdown pass on the first play of the game to spark Southeast to the win. Jackson finished the night with 140 yards passing and two TDs, the other a 34-yard strike to Sam Cotton, while teammate Devin Washington rushed 35 times for 214 yards. Burke was led by Jordan Nelson's 177 yards rushing.

Class B
Elkhorn 26, Crete 17.
Elkhorn's Graham Nabity scored two fourth-quarter touchdowns (5, 30) to help rally the Antlers past the defending state champs. Nabity finished the night with 20 carries for 134 yards and three touchdowns while Crete was led by 149 yards passing and a TD by Derek McGinnis and a 60-yard punt return by Corey Kalkwarf.

Class C-1
Norfolk Catholic 20, Platteview 6.
Down 6-3 at halftime, defending champion Norfolk Catholic scored 17 unanswered second-half points to claim the win. Jordan Molacek rushed for 134 yards and completed a 12-yard touchdown pass to Connor Ketter and Drew Farlee booted field goals of 20 and 29 yards, on a torn ACL, to lead the winners. Platteview's Payton Fluckey kicked field goals of 50 yards, a finals record, and 26 yards.

Class C-2
Aquinas 27, Kearney Catholic 13.
After losing in the semifinals the previous two seasons, Aquinas won the C-2 title by limiting Kearney Catholic to 100 yards rushing and one score against the varsity defense. Austin Svoboda scored on two short runs for the winners, who won their fifth state title despite not completing a pass in only two attempts.

Class D-1
Elgin/Pope John 44, Guardian Angels Central Catholic 14.
Making its first year as a cooperative program one to remember, Elgin/Pope John rode a powerful running game to a state championship, rushing for 312 yards while holding GACC to just 79 yards on the ground. Junior QB Ross Schindler accounted for 208 yards of total offense and three touchdowns, including two through the air.

Class D-2
Sargent 21, Howells 18.
In a dramatic turnaround from the previous year's final, when Howells beat Sargent 46-7, Sargent jumped to a quick 14-0 lead and held off a late Howells rally. Sargent senior Jed Fenske, who finished with 87 yards rushing, scored both Sargent first-quarter TDs (14, 17) and later caught a 22-yard TD pass from Guy Fenske as the Bulldogs took a 21-6 halftime lead. Howells scored twice in the second half on a pair of Trent Mastny runs (1, 5) but it wasn't enough as Sargent won its first-ever state playoff title. The game marked the last game for both programs as independents as the following year Sargent co-oped with Loup County to form Twin Loup and Howells, the nine-time state champs, with Dodge to form Howells-Dodge.


Class A
Millard North 17, Omaha North 14.
First-time finalist Omaha North took it to the wire, only a 32-yard missed field goal standing between it and overtime, before Millard North pulled out its fifth state title game win

Isaac Aakre rushed for 110 yards and threw for two touchdowns, including the eventual game-winner, a 46-yard strike to Clay Fisher, to the champions. Omaha North sophomore Calvin Strong led his team by rushing for a game-high 157 yards and a touchdown.

Class B
Omaha Gross 14, Norris 7.
Pitching a shutout in the second half, Gross won its first state playoff title. Junior all-stater Anthony Vigneri rushed for both Gross touchdowns while Norris scored on a 37-yard pass from Byron Hood to Jackson Reetz.

Class C-1
Norfolk Catholic 24, Boone Central/Newman Grove 13.
The Knights won their historic third straight C-1 state title by rallying past Boone, scoring 21 points in the second half.

Senior Jordan Bellar passed for two NC touchdowns, one to Riley Knake, one to Allen Lewis and Kyle Schaefer scored the other Knights' TD on a five-yard run. Boone's TD came on a two-yard run by senior Tanner Mazour and Fabian Hohnert added two field goals for the Cardinals.

Class C-2
Aquinas 35, Sutton 20.
In a battle of unbeaten teams Aquinas emerged as a two-time state champion. Landon Stouffer scored two touchdowns to lead the winners while junior QB Cole Wiseman rushed for 152 yards and two Sutton touchdowns.

Class D-1
Elgin/Pope John 40, Exeter-Milligan 14.
Elgin/Pope John also made it two straight state titles, scoring the game's final 32 points, all in the second half, after trailing 14-8 at halftime.

Senior QB Ross Schindler led the winners with 144 yards and two touchdowns rushing while fellow senior Blake Anderson rushed for 110 yards and a score. Exeter-Milligan was led by sophomore Kyle Jensen, who rushed for one touchdown and caught a pass from James Sluka for another.

Class D-2
Giltner 42, Humphrey St. Francis 26.
Record-setting senior QB Jake Findley completed his season with 66 touchdowns and zero interceptions, passing for 396 yards and five touchdowns to lead the Hornets to their championship. Findley threw two of his championship touchdowns to Dustin Hastings and two to Ben Hinrichs, including a 73-yarder.

Senior QB Nathan Clausen passed for two St. Francis touchdowns and rushed for another.


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