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CRETE – Beatrice let a 19 point lead disappear in the fourth quarter Friday night, but a game winning drive allowed the Orangemen to escape with a 40-33 win.

The Cardinals trailed 32-13 midway through the second half, but they scored 20 straight points to take a 33-32 lead.

With less than five minutes remaining, Beatrice’s offense rode Brody Nelson past midfield before Bennett Crandall found Jace Pethoud for a 33-yard touchdown pass. A two point pass from Dakota Adams to Crandall made it 40-33.

Crete still had 1:07 left to orchestrate a drive of their own. They got the ball to midfield, but Elliot Jurgens would seal the win with an interception, making the final score 40-33.

The game was back and forth early. Crete got the ball to start the game and a good kick return set them up at the Beatrice 37 yard line. They put together an eight-play scoring drive all on the ground that was capped by a two yard touchdown run by Zach Fye. The extra point missed, keeping the score at 6-0 in favor of the Cardinals.

Beatrice responded with a good kick return to the Crete 39 yard line. They were able to put a six play scoring drive on all run plays. Brody Nelson, Elliot Jurgens and Dakota Adams all had carries and Adams capped the drive with a five yard touchdown run.

Adams then found Kaden Glynn on a half back pass for the two point conversion to give Beatrice an 8-6 lead.

Crete responded. They took over at their own six yard line and put together an eight play scoring drive. The biggest chunk of yards came on Fye’s 38 yard touchdown run, giving Crete a 12-8 lead.

Beatrice looked like they were going to respond on their next drive, but a fumble ended that threat, giving the ball back to Crete at their own 30 yard line. The Cardinals went three and out, though, and were forced to punt the ball back to the Orangemen.

Beatrice took over at their own 31 yard line. Seven running plays got Beatrice past midfield, which set up a 45 yard touchdown pass from Bennett Crandall to a diving Jace Pethoud, giving Beatrice the lead back at 15-13.

The Orangemen defense forced another three and out and Beatrice got the ball back at their own 13 yard line with less than two minutes remaining.

Beatrice orchestrated a nine play drive that set up a 37-yard field goal by Diego Rodriguez as time expired in the first half, extending Beatrice’s lead to 18-13.

The Orangemen got the ball to start the second half. Starting from their own 42 yard line, they put together a seven play scoring drive that was capped by Adams’ seven yard touchdown run to extend Beatrice’s lead to 25-13. Nelson had two runs of 10 yards on the drive while Adams had runs of 15 yards and seven yards in addition to his touchdown run.

Crete’s offense only managed nine yards on their next drive and they were forced to punt it back to Beatrice.

Beatrice started the drive at their own 36 yard line, and a holding call on the first play put them behind the chains. A 22 yard pass from Crandall to Glynn followed by runs of eight yards and 17 yards by Adams set up an 18 yard touchdown run by Nelson, extending the Orangemen lead to 32-13 with 2:22 left in the third quarter.

Crete answered with a six play, 54 yard scoring drive. Fye capped the drive with a 25-yard touchdown pass to Trevor Malone. The two pointer failed, though, keeping the score at 32-19.

Beatrice drove it past midfield on their next drive, but they turned it over on downs when a quarterback sneak on fourth and one was stopped short.

Crete took over at their own 47 yard line and drove into Beatrice territory. The Orangemen forced a fumble on the drive, but Crete recovered it. A fumbled option play turned into a big loss for Crete, forcing a third and 28 situation. A 28 yard pass, though, set up a fourth and two and Fye would rumble in from six yards out on an option play to cut Crete’s deficit to 32-26 with 6:45 left in the game.

Beatrice’s offense went three and out on their next drive and their punt gave the Cardinals the ball at the Orangemen 48 yard line. On the very first play, Crete’s Jaxon Weyand scored from 48 yards out to tie the game. The extra point gave the Cardinals a 33-32 lead with less than five minutes remaining, which set up the dramatic finish.

Beatrice improves to 3-4 on the season and they’ll be in action again Friday night when they travel to Hastings.

Other Sunland scores

Johnson-Brock 78, Pawnee City 20

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