Beatrice’s season came to an end Friday night after a first round playoff loss to Elkhorn.
The seventh seeded Orangemen, playing without Husker recruit Cam Jurgens due to injury, fell to the Antlers 35-7 at the House of Orange in Beatrice.
With the loss, the Beatrice season ends after posting a record of 8-2. Elkhorn advances to play Elkhorn South in the quarterfinals.
Beatrice Coach Kevin Meyer said Elkhorn deserves a lot of credit.
“They did a good job coming out and establishing the run game,” Meyer said. “And we had a hard time running the ball. Our defense got a few turnovers off the bat and we couldn’t convert. The kids’ effort was good, it just wasn’t our night.”
Elkhorn got the ball first at its own 42 yard line and was able to put together a nice drive consisting of all running plays, but on the 12th play of the drive, they fumbled and Jason Steven recovered.
The Orangemen took over at their own 6 yard line and managed one first down, but was then forced to punt.
Elkhorn started at the Beatrice 45, but five plays later, they fumbled again and Jerad Humble recovered for the Orangemen at their own 40 yard line.
The Beatrice offense went nowhere again on their next drive and were forced to punt again.
Elkhorn finally got its offense going on their next drive. A 30 yard run followed by a 36 yard touchdown run gave the Antlers a 7-0 lead.
Beatrice drove the ball all the way down to the Elkhorn 1 yard line on their next drive, but the Antler defense turned them away on fourth and goal. The Elkhorn offense then countered with a 99 yard scoring drive and was capped by a 27 yard touchdown run, extending their lead to 14-0.
The Orangemen were finally able to get a scoring drive put together on their last drive of the first half. A 23 yard run by Andrew Mahoney, a 30 yard pass from Trevor Schmale and a pass interference call set up Colton Kelle’s eventual two yard touchdown run, cutting the Beatrice deficit to 14-7 at the half.
The third quarter consisted of the two teams turning it over on downs and punting. At the beginning of the fourth quarter, the Antlers still led 14-7.
On their first drive of the fourth quarter, the Antlers were able to put a scoring drive together. Jacob Pickering capped the drive when he broke about four tackles to score a 27 yard touchdown, extending the Elkhorn lead to 21-14.
Beatrice’s offense was forced to punt again on their next drive and Elkhorn would come back with a time consuming touchdown drive, capped by an 11 yard touchdown run by Colin Fritz. The drive made it 28-7 and left Beatrice with just 3:40 remaining in the game.
A botched snap on a punt attempt allowed Elkhorn to score one last touchdown, making the final score 35-7.
Meyer said Elkhorn deserves credit for a well-played game, but said execution on his team’s part wasn’t there.
“You have to execute and we didn’t execute,” Meyer said. “We made some stops on defense, but we didn’t tackle as well as we normally do.”
Meyer said his team has battled through a lot of adversity this season.
“We’ve had injuries and other things and our kids always bounced back,” Meyer said. “We’ve had tough games like this since the Roncalli game and I think we just ran out of gas. The kids had a really great season finishing 8-2 and I’m really proud of our seniors. We wish Elkhorn the best.”
Other Friday scores
Pierce 36, Fairbury 32
Battle Creek 20, Wilber-Clatonia 0
Thursday Sunland playoff scores
BDS 60, Pawnee City 16: The Class D-2 No. 1 Eagles remained undefeated behind a 32-point first quarter. Thomas Mick ran for two scores, returned a kickoff for a touchdown and caught a 31-yard touchdown pass. Andrew Davis caught two touchdown passes from TJ Mawhiney for the Indians.
Randolph 20, Meridian 16: The Cardinals (7-2) scored 20 unanswered points over the second and third quarters to erase an early Mustangs' lead. Randolph mustered just 108 yards of total offense, but forced three Meridian turnovers. Carter Schnoor completed just two passes, but both were touchdowns to Keaton Backhaus. Tybor Smith rushed for 119 yards and two TDs to lead the Meridian (5-4).