BATTLE CREEK, Neb. — With Battle Creek’s defense clogging the running lanes, Logan Kingsbury did some temporary plumbing.
The Ponca quarterback, who threw six passes all game, connected on a pair of deep touchdown passes in a four-minute span in the second quarter to help the Class C-2 No. 4 Indians top No. 8 Battle Creek 28-20 Friday.
“They were so wide open, if I would’ve missed them, they would’ve made fun of me on film for about a week,” Kingsbury said. “I’m happy I got those.”
A 48-yard scoring strike to junior Jayde Reid with 7:40 left in the first half and a 65-yard touchdown pass to Michael Hegge with 4:06 left followed Dalton Tremayne’s 64-yard touchdown run on the second play of the game as the Indians built a 22-0 halftime lead.
While the three scoring plays covered 177 yards, the other 16 plays the Indians ran in the first half netted 20.
“They packed the box, put 11 guys in the box, and basically said they were going to stop our run and make us throw,” Ponca coach Troy Evans said. “That’s what they came out and did, and we took the opportunities they gave us and made some big plays.”
Yet Battle Creek wasn’t able to get its offense going until the second half, getting on the board when Weston Johnson scored from 10 yards out with 4:14 left in the third quarter after a 13-yard touchdown pass from Kingsbury to Tremayne gave Ponca a 28-0 lead.
The touchdown pass came after an errant snap on a punt set up the Indians at the Battle Creek 14 early in the third quarter.
“I trust the coaches. Every play call they make, I expect it to work,” Kingsbury said. “I’m excited to throw the ball, but I can hand it off and run it, too. Whatever they need.”
A 76-yard swing pass from Ty Heimes to Stone Kraft on Battle Creek’s final third-quarter possession made it 28-12 entering the fourth quarter, but the Braves were unable to sustain a drive until the final minutes. Johnson scored from a yard out following a 27-yard pass from Heimes to Kraft to cut the gap to 28-20 with 57 seconds left, but the Braves were unable to recover an onside kick and Ponca ran out the clock.
“If you would tell me that we’d do as good a job as we did — except for the second play of the game — of stopping the run, I would’ve said that we’d be in a good situation to win the game. But they beat us passing,” Battle Creek coach Andrew Carlson said. “They were right on the money. A couple were blown coverage, but still the ball was right where it needed to be.”
Kingsbury finished 4 of 6 for 125 yards and three touchdowns, with Tremayne carrying the ball eight times for 102 yards.
Heimes, who replaced starter Zach Zohner late in the third quarter, was 9 of 16 passing for 169 yards. Kraft caught six passes for 149 yards.
Battle Creek fell to 3-3, with its three losses against teams with a combined 16-1 record and its wins against teams with a combined mark of 11-7.
Ponca (6-0).......................6 16 6 0—28
At Battle Creek (3-3)..........0 0 12 8—20
P: Dalton Tremayne 64 run (run failed)
P: Jayde Reid 48 pass from Logan Kingsbury (Michael Hegge pass from Kingsbury)
P: Hegge 65 pass from Kingsbury (Tremayne pass from Kingsbury)
P: Tremayne 13 pass from Kingsbury (run failed)
BC: Weston Johnson 10 run (kick failed)
BC: Stone Kraft 76 pass from Ty Heimes (kick failed)
BC: Johnson 1 run (Dylan Mettler run)