Quarterback Creighton Koley returned from an elbow injury and did his part for the Omaha Skutt offense on Friday.
“He's a rah-rah guy. He's sort of the team's inspirational leader,” Skutt coach Matt Turman said.
Skutt, ranked eighth in Class B, certainly played inspired in the second half as the SkyHawks shut down top-ranked Elkhorn 23-7 at Elkhorn Stadium.
“This was huge to come to their house and get a win. They don't lose many game anywhere,” Koley said. “I think we're getting our season turned around.”
Skutt (2-1) lost its season opener 28-9 to Gretna. Koley didn't play in either of Skutt's first two games after he dislocated his left elbow prior to the opener.
On Friday, Koley ran for a touchdown in the third quarter to put Skutt up 17-7, and Skutt's other quarterback, Isaiah Ramsey, threw a pair of touchdown passes to Zach Zeplin.
But it was Skutt's defense that really set the tone in the second half.
After the Antlers tallied 175 total yards in the first half, they managed just 60 yards and one first down — on a 37-yard pass — after halftime.
“We talked at halftime about not letting them sustain drives and eliminating the big play,” Turman said. “We didn't give up many in the second half.”
“Their defense did an outstanding job,” Elkhorn coach Mark Wortman said. “They got some momentum in the second half and they kind of wore us down.”
Both teams used big scoring plays in the first half as Skutt led 10-7 at halftime.
Elkhorn's Chase Hazlewood raced 30 yards up the middle midway through the first quarter for a 7-0 lead. Elkhorn was in control early as late in the first quarter it had gained 113 yards to Skutt's 2.
But a 48-yard pass from Ramsey to Zeplin set up a field goal, and then Ramsey and Zeplin connected on a 57-yard touchdown pass midway through the second quarter to put Skutt ahead to stay.
After gaining 20 yards on 17 rushing attempts in the first half, Skutt's offensive line and backs took control after halftime.
Skutt scored touchdowns on two of its first three second-half possessions. Koley scored on an 8-yard keeper, and then Ramsey's 8-yard pass to Zeplin on the first play of the fourth quarter capped a nine-play, 53-yard drive. Skutt also sustained a nine-play drive that ate up most of the fourth quarter.
“His play was huge tonight,” Koley said of Ramsey. “He was able to capitalize on some big plays.”
Ramsey was 5 of 7 for 136 yards, while Zeplin caught four passes for 125 yards.
Elkhorn, which was shut out by Skutt last season, was coming off a 28-27 overtime win against No. 3 Omaha Gross. Wortman said playing Gross and Skutt on consecutive weeks wasn't a contributing factor to Elkhorn's loss.
“We were ready to play,” he said. “They did some things we couldn't handle.”
Omaha Skutt (2-1) ........... 0 10 7 6—23
At Elkhorn (2-1) ............... 7 0 0 0— 7
E: Chase Hazlewood 30 run (Colin Stiles kick)
OS: Mitch Swain 23 field goal
OS: Zach Zeplin 57 pass from Isaiah Ramsey (Swain kick)
OS: Creighton Koley 8 run (Swain kick)
OS: Zeplin 8 pass from Ramsey (kick blocked)
Att.: 2,000 (est.)
RUSHING: OS: Joe Dooley 13-68, Dakota Krejci-Smith 9-23, Ramsey 3-20, Coley 11-18, Brett LaMontia 6-14; E: Ben Hass 6-51, Hazlewood 7-46, Jesse Bowdino 4-11, Jake Hasty 3-11, Rashaan Martin 7-6, Bryan McLaughlin 4-2, Jacob Merrill 1-(minus 2).
PASSING: OS: Ramsey 5-7-0 136, Koley 1-1-0 12; E: Hass 5-11-2 110.
RECEIVING: OS: Zeplin 4-125, Jon Plance 1-19, Nathan Gradoville 1-4; E: Jack Morock 4-61, Merrill 2-31, Caleb Craven 1-18.