HEMINGFORD — Hemingford’s dream season came to an end in nightmarish fashion Wednesday in the second round of the Class D-1 state playoffs. Fittingly, it was Halloween.
The Loup City Red Raiders invaded Bobcat field and rolled to a 55-20 victory over the Bobcats, dominating the game from the opening kickoff. Hemingford coach Jordan Haas said that while the outcome was disappointing, his team has nothing to hang its head about.
“We had some bad things happen early, and they grabbed momentum,” he said. “It was an uphill battle, but I’m proud of the way our kids fought back.”
The uphill battle began on the first play from scrimmage as Loup City quarterback Austin Bochart galloped 49 yards on a zone read option to give the Red Raiders a 6-0 lead. Hemingford’s opening drive resulted in a punt attempt with the snap sailing over punter Kyle Kaman’s head. Kaman fell on the ball, giving Loup City possession at the Hemingford 12-yard line. It only took two plays before Loup City running back Reilly Lambrecht found the end zone from 12 yards out, giving the Red Raiders an early 12-0 lead.
Hemingford’s usually potent offense was stymied as it was again forced to punt on its next possession. Loup City took over at the Hemingford 46 where a third and 12 pass from Bochart to Cole Lambrecht had the Red Raiders knocking on the door again. On the next play, Brady Lewandowski plunged over the goal line to put Loup City up 19-0 after just eight minutes of play.
On Hemingford’s ensuing possession, quarterback Matthew Wood’s pass was intercepted at the line by Matt Jarzynka and returned 34 yards for a touchdown. After one quarter, Hemingford found themselves in a 26 point hole.
The Bobcat defense held tough in the second quarter. The only points scored in the period came off of another bad snap on a Hemingford punt, which sailed out of the back of the end zone for a safety. Loup City again threatened before the end of the first half. The Red Raiders snapped the ball with three seconds remaining and Bochart found Jakubowski inside the Hemingford one, but he was tackled before reaching the end zone.
Down 28-0 at the half, Hemingford fought to grab some momentum. The Bobcats took the third period kickoff and marched it 64 yards for their first score of the day. On the drive, Ethan Skinner had runs of 11, 22, 9 and 18 before crossing the goal line. Skinner added a two point conversion run to make the score 28-8 in favor of Loup City.
On the ensuing possession, the Bobcat defense held tough, forcing the Red Raiders to punt. But Hemingford’s Vance Orr couldn’t handle the punt and Loup City recovered at the Hemingford seven. Bochart found the end zone again on a bootleg to put his team up 34-8. Bochart would add another rushing touchdown before the end of the third quarter as the Red Raider’s led 40-0 heading into the final frame.
In the fourth quarter is was Hemingford who capitalized on a Loup City error. After a bad snap on a punt, the Bobcats recovered at the Red Raider five, where Brady Turek would take it in to cut the Red Raider lead to 26. But the away team had too much fire power for their host. Lambrecht would add two more rushing touchdowns before the end of the game. Hemingford senior AJ Jesus scored the game’s final points on a six yard touchdown run to make the final score 55-20.
While the ending was disappointing, the Bobcats finish the season with a school record nine wins. They lose five seniors from this year’s team, but return their top two rushers in Skinner and Turek, leading passer in Wood, leading receiver in Colt Foster and leading tackler in Blake Hansen.
Skinner carried the bulk of Hemingford’s offense in this game, rushing for 136 yards and a score. Wood was 3 of 13 passing for only six yards.
Loup City moves on to the third round to play the winner of Pope John/Elgin and St. Mary’s next Tuesday.
HEMINGFORD..................................0 0 8 12 - 20
LOUP CITY................................26 2 12 15 - 55