Nolan Heimann might not be the guy who gets overlooked in the Omaha Skutt attack any longer.
The SkyHawk senior struck for a pair of goals Saturday morning as Class B's top-ranked team rallied from an early deficit for a 4-2 win over No. 5 Columbus in the semifinals of the boys state soccer tournament at Creighton's Morrison Stadium.
Skutt moves into Monday's 5 p.m. championship match and is one win away from the third back-to-back set of titles for the program in the last 11 years.
Heimann's goals were his seventh and eighth of the season and gave defending champion Skutt a lift with the defensive attention focused primarily on fellow forwards Jake Sievers and Jared Mertz.
Heimann “can attack, he can defend and he just doesn't get tired,” Skutt coach Rob Meyers said. “He's the most athletic kid I've ever coached.”
After Columbus' Richard Bedolla notched his first goal of the season five minutes in, it looked as if Meyers' fears about Saturday's matchup were coming true.
“I was big-time nervous about this game,” Meyers said. “That's a good team. We kind of abandoned what we do to deal with them today.”
The Discoverers kept the lead until the 29th minute, when a ball sent into the box was flicked down from the head of Sievers to the foot of Heimann, who one-touched it in for the equalizer.
A Dylan McHale free kick six minutes later from 40 yards out was mishandled by a Columbus player and went in to give Skutt a lead.
The SkyHawks tacked on two more in the first six minutes of the second half, the first a settle-and-shoot by Mertz and the second a hustle play by Heimann, who got his foot on the ball for a deflection goal.
“They're just relentless,” Columbus coach John Arlt said. “Their top two guys are really tough. They gave us some problems up there. And they were a little more physical than I thought they'd be. Credit to them. They played really well.”
Columbus got one back in the 50th minute when forward Nick Linder put in his team-leading 15th goal on a well-placed strike.
But following the goal, teammate Jose Orellana was shown a red card for attempting to punch the ball out of the hands of Skutt keeper Michael Kluver, forcing the Discoverers to play a man down for the final 30 minutes.
“I thought we actually played pretty well being down one,” Arlt said. “Just not enough.”
Skutt will play in its seventh state title match since 2003. The SkyHawks have won five of the previous six times they've reached the championship.
“One more to go,” Heimann said.
Columbus (11-5) ............... 1 1—2
Omaha Skutt (19-1) ........... 2 2—4
Goals: C, Richard Bedolla, Nick Linder; OS, Nolan Heimann 2, Dylan McHale, Jared Mertz