In his first big game, Payton Nelson struggled in the first half.
Two fumbles led to Omaha Burke touchdowns, wiping out a lead for his Omaha North team.
But after getting pumped up at halftime by fellow junior Calvin Strong, Nelson and Strong had a flawless second half Friday night to keep the top-ranked Vikings undefeated while ending a six-game losing streak against Burke.
Strong finished off a 243-yard game with a pair of 1-yard touchdown runs and Nelson threw his second touchdown pass of the game for a 27-20 victory. It spoiled the Bulldogs' homecoming before an estimated crowd of 4,000 at Burke Stadium.
“(Strong) had a big talk with me, got me motivated,” Nelson said. “He said to get the team going, settle down, focus and make some plays.”
Strong ran for 150 yards after halftime. His first carry of the second half was for 32 yards and he had a 21-yarder later in that drive, which he ended with a 1-yard run around left end.
No. 4 Burke (4-2) still led 14-13 after North (6-0) missed the extra-point kick, but was stopped on downs on its first possession of the half at the North 36.
Nelson completed 3 of 4 passes on a 64-yard drive, including a 17-yarder to Davion Reed for the go-ahead touchdown on a fourth-and-3 with 11 seconds left in the third quarter.
Nelson showed patience as two Burke defenders slowed down his receiver before Reed got open.
“Burke is well-coached and they were going to come downhill on that toss sweep and we thought we had to counter that with a little bit of play-action,” North coach Larry Martin said. “Burke came out man and pressed us on the outside. Our kids knew after they got off the route they had to go vertical and Davion made a great play.”
Burke then went three-and-out, with Alex Curbeam barely overthrowing Trey Carr on a deep ball, before the Vikings got a two-touchdown lead with an 84-yard drive. Strong had runs of 33 and 32 yards before scoring from the 1 with 6:39 left. Nick Polito's extra point made it 27-13.
“They made some big plays the second half,” Burke coach Paul Limongi said. “They came out and came right at us.”
Another Burke drive ended on downs at the North 41 with 3:12 left. On fourth-and-16, a play after North defensive tackle Michael Decker sacked Curbeam, the quarterback couldn't connect with Carr on a deep sideline route and the Bulldogs also were called for holding.
North ran out all but the final second of the game, with Curbeam throwing to Carr in the end zone for a 46-yard touchdown to end the game.
Burke's first-half touchdowns were a 24-yard run by Rodney Williams and a 6-yarder by Colton Hough. Logan Gier, who was averaging 154 yards a game, managed 77 on 15 carries.
Strong, Class A's leading rusher, has 1,476 yards and 22 touchdowns after six games.
“We made some big, big holes for Calvin,” Nelson said. “He did some work today. He looked good.”
Omaha North (6-0) ................................. 0 7 13 7—27
At Omaha Burke (4-2) ............................ 0 14 0 6—20
N: Marquise Lewis 46 pass from Payton Nelson (Nick Polito kick)
B: Rodney Williams 24 run (Hayden Guy kick)
B: Colton Hough 6 run (Guy kick)
N: Calvin Strong 1 run (kick failed)
N: Davion Reed 17 pass from Nelson (Polito kick)
N: Strong 1 run (Polito kick)
B: Trey Carr 46 pass from Alex Curbeam (no attempt)
RUSHING: N, Strong 29-243, JaVaughn Perkins 6-10, Jason Martin 1-2, Nelson 4-8, team 7-minus 9. B, Logan Gier 15-77, Curbeam 10-34, Hough 5-33, Williams 6-35.
PASSING: N, Nelson 7-9-0 146. B, Curbeam 8-12-0 99.
RECEIVING: N, Lewis 3-92, Reed 3-41, Tavion Seals 1-13. B, Carr 3-63, Austin Daniels 4-28, Noah Fant 1-8.
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• Video: Highlights:
• Video: North's Larry Martin:
• Video: North's Payton Nelson: