Omaha Skutt used big plays in the play-action passing game to grab its eighth straight victory to close the regular season.
The SkyHawks (8-1) topped Omaha Gross 24-14 at Bryan Stadium to claim the District B-1 title.
“It’s a big rivalry game for us,” Skutt coach Matt Turman said. “It doesn’t matter what the records are coming in, it’s going to be a tough game.
“We’re glad to come out with a victory.”
It looked like Skutt was going to run away with the game after the SkyHawks built a 17-0 lead with three minutes before the half.
The SkyHawks scored two touchdowns through the air, the first a 16-yard strike from Creighton Koley to Dakota Krejci-Smith in the first quarter. The second came on a play-action pass down the middle for 30 yards to Ryan Bouda from Isaiah Ramsey, who took over after Koley suffered an apparent knee injury. A 31-yard field goal from Mitch Swain was sandwiched between the two TDs.
Following the second touchdown, the SkyHawks recovered a Gross fumble on the kickoff, giving them a chance to expand their lead. But Gross’ Jeff Pospichal intercepteda Ramsey pass to turn the tide of the game.
The Cougars (5-4) followed with a 10-play drive, capped by a 14-yard run by fullback Tyler Koraleski with 28 seconds left in the half.
“We had a lot of momentum going into half and were able to keep going into the third quarter,” Cougar coach Tim Johnk said. “But we just dug ourselves into too big of a hole to start the game.”
The Cougars struck first in the third when Matt Herting scored on a quarterback sneak with just over a minute left in the third quarter to cut the lead to 17-14. The drive was sparked by Matthew Sullivan’s 35-yard run.
However, the next offensive play for Skutt changed the momentum once again.
Ramsey hit Sam Elliott for 50 yards on another play-action pass to the Gross 27-yard line.
“The momentum shifted so severely the first time that we talked about needing to do something to get it back,” Turman said. “We really like our passing game and have some real nice receivers to use.”
Ramsey made another big play on the drive by scrambling for a first down with Skutt facing a fourth-and-6. Joe Dooley ended the drive with a tough 5-yard run with 9:07 left in the game.
The SkyHawks closed out the game without letting the Cougars threaten again. Skutt’s Zach Zeplin and Thomas Pivovar made interceptions to seal the win.
For Turman and SkyHawks, having an experienced back-up quarterback was a big reason in winning this game.
“Isaiah played a lot early on and he’s an experienced player,” Turman said. “It’s not like we’re throwing someone in there who hasn’t played.”
Koley was 4 of 4 for 113 yards and a score before leaving the contest and Ramsey added another 102 yards with a TD through the air. Elliott was the only SkyHawk with multiple catches, pulling in two balls for 69 yards.
The Cougars were held to only 163 yards of offense by the pesky SkyHawk defense. Anthony Vigneri and Koraleski led the way with 50 and 43 yards rushing, respectively.
“(Skutt) has a great team, I have to tip my hat to them,” Johnk said. Now, I’m hoping we can sneak into the playoffs.”
Skutt ends its regular season as one of the hottest teams in Class B going into the playoffs.
“We’ve won eight in a row and have a great group of guys who are playing really hard,” Turman said. “We’re going to head into the playoffs and see what happens.”
Omaha Skutt (8-1) ................ 7 10 0 7—24
At Omaha Gross (5-4) ......... 0 7 7 0—14
OS: Dakota Krejci-Smith 16 pass from Creighton Koley (Mitch Swain kick)
OS: Swain 31 field goal
OS: Ryan Bouda 30 pass from Isaiah Ramsey (Swain kick)
OG: Tyler Koraleski 14 run (Jacob Herren kick)
OG: Matt Herting 1 run (Herren kick)
OS: Joe Dooley 5 run (Swain kick)
RUSHING: OS, Creighton Koley 5-17; Brett LaMontia 9-27; Dakota Krejci-Smith 6-19; Joe Dooley 10-34; Zach Zeplin 1-(minus 1); Isaiah Ramsey 9-(minus 10); team 1-2; OG, Anthony Vigneri 9-50; Tyler Koraleski 8-43; Matt Herting 13-(minus 16); Matthew Sullivan 3-36; team 1-(minus 16).
PASSING: OS, Koley 4-4-0 113; Ramsey 3-6-1 102; OG, Herting 8-12-2 66; Vigneri 0-1-0.
RECEIVING: OS, Jon Plance 1-46; Krejci-Smith 1-16; Zeplin 1-32; Sam Elliott 2-69; Ty O`Brien 1-22; Ryan Bouda 1-30; OG, Vigneri 1-6; Noah Fanslau 3-18; James Farnan 2-37; Jeff Pospichal 2-5.