Connor Zumpfe had to violate Nebraska Wesleyan's 24-hour rule Monday to talk about his big catch.
The basketball player turned wide receiver caught a 17-yard TD pass from Tyler Francis with 1:23 left Saturday to give the Prairie Wolves a 20-19 victory over then-No. 13 Doane College. It was his first TD catch in college and the most exciting moment of his athletic career.
“That one is going to be hard to beat,” said Zumpfe, a junior from York, Neb. “It was a big-time adrenaline rush for the entire team.”
Zumpfe, who played basketball for a year and a half before switching to football, had a couple of dropped balls earlier in the game, but Francis and center Caleb Armstrong kept telling him that they had faith in him and that he'd get another chance.
When that time came, Zumpfe was able to snag the ball while fighting to keep one foot inbounds. He said he had a few inches to spare.
“Just a lot of faith impacted that final drive,” Zumpfe said. “It was an amazing feeling.”
Eric Richards then intercepted a Doane pass to seal the win, played before 1,700 at Abel Stadium.
“To beat your rival in such a great atmosphere in such dramatic fashion is pretty exciting,” coach Brian Keller said.
Wesleyan, which was ranked No. 22 Monday, had trailed 19-7 at the start of the fourth quarter, but the Prairie Wolves' passing game then got going. Neither team had more than 125 yards in the first half.
Zumpfe has received lots of accolades, but said it's the defense that deserves the credit. Lineman Phil Latimer was named the national defensive player of the week after recording nine tackles. He was a major factor in helping hold the Doane offense to two field goals.
“They have been playing absolutely outstanding,” Zumpfe said.
Wesleyan (3-2, 3-1) has a rule that the team can spend only 24 hours celebrating a win or mourning a loss, and Zumpfe and Keller were already looking ahead to Saturday's 1 p.m. showdown at No. 15 Concordia (5-0). It will be Wesleyan's third straight ranked opponent.
“We want to make sure we are mentally focused and as ready for them as we can possibly be,” Zumpfe said.
The snow continued to melt in the 70-degree weather Monday in Chadron.
No. 19 Chadron State's game with Adams State was pushed back to Sunday after 10 inches of snow fell Friday.
Thirty to 40 people worked to clear Elliott Field, starting at 6 a.m. Saturday. Most of the workers were redshirt freshmen, but coaches, school staff and community members joined the nine-hour effort.
The snow was blown into 50-gallon trash cans and dumped on the sidelines. Mounds about 6 feet high decked the field for the Eagles' 31-0 victory.
Quarterback Jonn McLain threw two touchdown passes, Glen Clinton ran for 122 yards and the defense earned its first shutout since 2008.
“Adams State is a tough football team and I'm thrilled with how the team played,” Chadron coach Jay Long said. “Our offense set the tone early and our defense carried it the rest of the way.”
Wayne, UNK showdown
The University of Nebraska at Kearney and Wayne State volleyball teams will be trying get back on track when the schools meet at 7 p.m. Tuesday in Kearney.
The No. 15 Wildcats couldn't overcome 36 attack errors in a 3-2 loss to Northern State on Saturday, falling to 12-3 and 4-3 in the Northern Sun.
The eighth-ranked Lopers (14-2, 4-1 MIAA) lost in five sets to No. 13 Washburn. Freshman outside Leanna Willer, from Elkhorn, had 13 kills and a team-high 22 digs for Washburn. MJ Massanet had 25 kills on 51 attempts for UNK.
Loper middle Ellie Pesavento has missed the last six matches due to injury and is questionable for Tuesday.
Wayne State won last year.
» Western Nebraska Community College volleyball coach Giovana Melo netted her 250th career win last week in a sweep of Eastern Wyoming College. In six seasons at WNCC, Melo is 252-19, including berths in the final four the past five seasons. The Cougars won a national title in 2010.
» Peru State's Tyler Audsley earned his second Heart of America Athletic Conference offensive player of the week honor Monday.
Audsley completed 14 of 23 passes for 147 yards and one touchdown and rushed 18 times for 130 yards and two scores in a 24-7 win over Avila.
Audsley is averaging 103.6 rushing yards and 118.8 passing yards per game. He's first in the HAAC in touchdowns per game (13.2) and total touchdowns (66).
No. 19 Peru (4-1) plays at MidAmerica University at 2 p.m. Saturday.