FALLS CITY, Neb. – The Humphrey St. Francis football team scored 24 points in the fourth quarter, but their rally was cut short when Falls City Sacred Heart recovered an onside kick with 43 seconds left and the Irish eliminated the Flyers from the Class D2 state playoffs, 34-30, Wednesday night at Jug Brown Stadium in Falls City.
“We held on,” said Sacred Heart coach Doug Goltz. “We got the win. We’re still playing.”
Sacred Heart, who has allowed only eight points in the first half all season, shutout St. Francis in the opening half, while scoring two of their own touchdowns. Senior running back Christian Harring scored on the Irish’s very first play from scrimmage on a 61-yard run after receiving an option toss from junior quarterback Drew Bippes. Bippes would score the other touchdown in the first half on a 30-yard touchdown run.
Harring finished with 11 carries for 101 yards and a score.
The two teams combined for seven total touchdowns in the second half. Bippes and sophomore Jake Hoy connected twice for a pair of touchdowns, 18- and 33-yards out. Senior running back Sean Arnold added a one-yard touchdown run.
“We thought if we scored coming out in the second half, we could put it out of reach,” Bippes said. “Obviously, we didn’t, because they came back on us, but we were feeling pretty good at that point.”
The Irish moved away from their power ground game in the second half, Goltz said, in an attempt to take advantage of their speed.
“We actually did some things a little differently than what we usually do,” he said. “We knew we weren’t going to be able to run the ball on those guys. They are so good defensively. They play tight and they are so big. We tried to throw it a little bit more and spread the field and use some formations.”
Hoy had four receptions for 91 yards. Bippes was 11-15 for 171 yards. He also rushed for 84 yards.
St. Francis senior quarterback Trevor Pfeifer threw a 30-yard and a 5-yard touchdown pass to senior tight end Pierce Eisenmenger. Pfeifer also tossed a 7-yard touchdown pass to another senior tight end, Riley Jarosz.
“We would have loved to play another quarter, that’s for sure,” said St. Francis coach Eric Kessler, who lauded his team for battling back the way it did. “We should have played a little better in the first and second quarters and maybe we wouldn’t have been in that position.”
Pfeifer threw for 221 yards on 12-23 passing. Eisenmenger was his top target with five receptions for 68 yards. Junior running back Jarrett Weidner ran for 93 yards on 26 rushes. He also added a touchdown.
It was the second time in three years the last two state champions played each other in the postseason. St. Francis eliminated Sacred Heart in the 2015 quarterfinals, 46-14, eventually winning the state championship. Two years ago, the Flyers ran 65 plays compared to 31 for the Irish. On Wednesday, Humphrey St. Francis ran 74 plays and Falls City Sacred Heart ran 48.
The #4 Irish (9-1) advance to the quarterfinals and will travel to Bloomfield on Tuesday. The #1 Bees (10-0) defeated Randolph, 48-8, on Wednesday night. News Channel Nebraska will have coverage of the Class D2 quarterfinals on Today’s Best Country, B103.
The Flyers finish the season 8-2.
Falls City Sacred Heart 6 6 14 8 = 34
Humphrey St. Francis 0 0 6 24 = 30
SH – Christian Harring 61 yd run (Run fail)
SH – Drew Bippes 30 yd run (Pass fail)
SH – Sean Arnold 1 yd run (Harring run)
HSF – Pierce Eisenmenger 30 yd pass from Trevor Pfeifer (Pass fail)
SH – Jake Hoy 18 yd pass from Bippes (Pass fail)
HSF – Jarrett Weidner 5 yd run (Eisenmenger pass from Pfeifer)
SH – Jake Hoy 32 yd pass from Bippes (Ryker Hoy pass from Bippes)
HSF – Eisenmenger 5 yd pass from Pfeifer (Eisenmenger pass from Pfeifer)
HSF – Rileyl Jarosz 6 yd pass from Pfeifer (Riley Huettner pass from Pfeifer)
SH – Harring 11-103 yds 1 TD
HSF – Weidner 26-93 yds 1 TD
SH – Bippes 11-15-171 yds 2 TDs
HSF – Pfeifer 12-23-221 yds 3TDs 1 int
SH – Jake Hoy 4-91 yds 2 TDs
HSF – Eisenmenger 5-68 yds 2 TD
Nebraska Postseason Prep Football Brackets
World-Herald News Service contributed to this report.
Quinten Moles leads Bloomfield to quarterfinal rematch against Falls City Sacred Heart
BLOOMFIELD (World-Herald News Service) — Quinten Moles followed up his record-setting performance in the first round of the playoffs with another good one in the second round here Wednesday.
The 5-foot-8, 190-pound Bloomfield senior ran for 273 yards and five touchdowns on 21 carries as top-seeded Bloomfield downed No. 8 Randolph 48-8 to set up a Eight Man-2 state quarterfinal contest against Falls City Sacred Heart next Tuesday.
“We want it. The whole team wants it really bad, not just me,” Moles said of next week’s game. “We’re going to be focused and pumped up the whole week. It should be a fun week. I feel bad for the scout team because we’re going to be ready to go.”
A week after carrying the ball 14 times for 352 yards and a playoff-record eight touchdowns in a win over Exeter-Milligan, Moles’ work in the first quarter Wednesday prevented the Bees from repeating what happened in the first half of a 48-12 win over Randolph on Sept. 8.
“We were down 12-8 at halftime, and we had to go and have a little meeting at halftime,” Bloomfield coach Matt Kuchar said. “We threw it on these kids’ shoulders tonight, and they responded.”
A minute into the game, Moles went 30 yards on a counter play to put the Bees up 6-0. He added first-quarter touchdown runs of 49, 18 and 55 yards as Bloomfield went up 28-0 with 2:59 left in the first quarter.
From there, the Bloomfield defense took control.
In the first half, Randolph gained 59 total yards while moving the chains for four first downs. The Cardinals didn’t cross midfield until Alex Schmit’s 16-yard run with 1:16 left in the half put them on the Bloomfield 33.
That series, like seven other Randolph possessions, ended in a punt.
“We were trying to keep them from getting the the outside and trying to hold down the fort,” said Bloomfield junior Branston Gieselman. “The defensive line worked their butts off the whole game, and a lot of credit goes to them. Most importantly, we’re family, and if we weren’t a whole family together it probably wouldn’t be as good as it is right now.”
Gieselman helped lead the defensive effort for the Bees with four tackles for loss, including a pair of sacks. Mitchell Mackeprang, Michael Castaneda and Moles added sacks for Bloomfield as Randolph didn’t score until a 10-yard Schmit run with 4:13 left in the game.
By that point, the Bees had built a 48-0 lead.
“That’s a good football player right there,” Moles said of Gieselman. “I’m glad to have him.”
Moles’ fifth touchdown of the game came in the fourth quarter and was sandwiched between touchdown runs of 13 yards by Gieselman and 6 yards by Reece McFarland. The Bees finished with 380 yards on the ground and 424 yards of total offense.
Schmit ran for 70 yards on 17 carries and caught a pair of Carter Schnoor passes for 28 yards to lead Randolph, which finishes the year 7-3.
At 10-0, the Bees will remain home for their quarterfinal game with Sacred Heart. A year ago, the Irish beat Bloomfield 46-12 in the quarterfinals in a game that was also played in Bloomfield.
“We didn’t like how we played in the first half of that game, but we came back and we won the second half,” Kuchar said. “I know these kids can go and do it, and that revenge factor is there. We think we can play with them.”
Randolph (7-3)…………..0 0 0 8 — 8
Bloomfield (10-0)……..28 8 6 6 — 48
BLO: Quinten Moles 30 run (run failed), 11:00
BLO: Moles 49 run (pass failed), 9:38
BLO: Moles 18 run (Branston Gieselman run), 8:08
BLO: Moles 55 run (Gieselman run), 2:59
BLO: Gieselman 13 run (Reece McFarland run), 8:37
BLO: Moles 12 run (run failed), 2:39
BLO: McFarland 6 run (run failed), 9:40
RAN: Alex Schmit 10 run (Carter Schnoor run), 4:13