VOCA, Iowa — Nobody had played AHSTW closer than 19 points through eight weeks.
So when Council Bluffs St. Albert went to intermission with a 14-0 lead, you can imagine what was going through the Vikings’ minds.
“A couple guys, I think, maybe were having a little self-doubt, which can happen,” AHSTW coach Davis Pattee said. “I think everybody had that question. The stadium was a little silent until we got rolling in the second half there.”
After recovering what could be called a semi-onside kick, the Vikings took their first lead with 2:43 remaining on a 13-yard touchdown pass from Blake Osbahr to Drake Partridge and held on to beat St. Albert 19-14 Friday for the Class A, District 9 championship.
“You get tested about as much as you could possibly be tested,” Pattee said. “Our kids were resilient. They stayed the course. I think a lot of them found out what they were made of. Kudos to St. Albert for a terrific fight all night long.”
AHSTW (9-0, 5-0) will advance to Friday’s first round of the playoffs and play at home against an opponent to be determined Saturday morning. St. Albert (5-4, 4-1) likely will be out of the playoffs for the first time since 2014. The Falcons were hurt in part because of the new RPI system, which takes into account all games, and they were 1-3 in nondistrict play. Entering the game, AHSTW was ranked fourth in the RPI and the Falcons were 22nd.
On the field, the difference between the two wasn’t nearly that much.
“At the end of the day, I don’t feel that the best 16 teams are in the playoffs,” St. Albert coach Pat Ryan said. “Whatever system it is, I think it’s just a disservice to our kids that they don’t have the opportunity to continue the season, especially for the seniors.”
After Partridge set up the Vikings in good field position with a 14-yard interception return, AHSTW closed to 14-13 with 6:20 left in the game on Osbahr’s 16-yard touchdown pass to Korbin Martin. The kick was tipped and just short.
However, AHSTW kicker Kyle Branan banged the ensuing kickoff off a Falcon up man, and Jaedan Rasmussen recovered for the Vikings at midfield.
“It wasn’t per se a called onside,” Pattee said. “We were trying to kick a low liner, and if we could clip a kid there, we were really hoping to.”
The play of the drive came on fourth-and-8. Osbahr, scrambling to his left, somehow found Brayton Tuma for 20 yards to keep the drive alive.
“It was supposed to be an isolation route there to Drake,” Osbahr said. “They sniffed that out pretty good, so I just rolled out trying to make a play with my feet. Then I saw Tuma and I gave him a good (ball).”
Five plays later, Osbahr hit Partridge with what proved to be the winner. St. Albert was stuffed on a quarterback sneak try on fourth-and-1 at its 45.
Late in the third quarter, St. Albert thought it had gone up 20-7. Connor Cerny appeared headed for an 11-yard touchdown run, but Joey Cunningham was ruled to have forced a fumble on the 1, and Osbahr returned it 32 yards. The St. Albert sideline felt he was well into the end zone, to no avail.
“On film it appears like we get in,” Ryan said. “It’s kind of the way that it goes. We should have been able to bounce back from it. We weren’t able to.”
While AHSTW is a senior-dominated team, St. Albert relied on an abundance of sophomores and juniors.
“We had 15 seniors get called tonight, and I think that was the big difference in the game,” Pattee said. “It wasn’t that St. Albert wasn’t talented. Maybe our guys were just a little bit more mature, had been there.”
The sting for Ryan, in his first year as the head coach, won’t fade away soon. He praised his seven seniors for their leadership.
“We lost a big class last year,” Ryan said. “I don’t think there was a lot of people that had expectations for this team, as far as being able to bounce back and do as well as we’ve done. But I tell you what, these seniors were excellent leaders since the end of the season last year. They don’t get enough recognition for that.”
CB St. Albert (5-4, 4-1) 7 7 0 0—14
At AHSTW (8-0, 5-0) 0 0 7 12—19
SA: Connor Cerny 6 run (Sam Wilber kick)
SA: Aiden Antisdel 14 pass from Lance Wright (Wilber kick)
A: Drake Partridge 40 pass from Blake Osbahr (Kyle Branan kick)
A: Korbin Martin 16 pass from Osbahr (kick blocked)
A: Partridge 13 pass from Osbahr (pass failed)
RUSHING: SA, Lance Wright 12-49, Connor Cerny 6-20, Aiden Antisdel 8-10, Bennett Gronstal 3-4, Cy Patterson 2-0. A, Gabe Pauley 22-67, Blake Osbahr 13-35, Drake Partridge 1-17, Korbin Martin 1-(-3), Jackson Woltmann 1-(-6), team 3-(-15).
PASSING: SA, Lance Wright 14-26-1, 159 yards. A, Blake Osbahr 12-23-1, 170 yards, 3 TDs.
RECEIVING: SA, Sam Rallis 6-87, Cy Patterson 5-26, Aiden Antisdel 2-27, Jeff Miller 1-19. A, Drake Partridge 4-83, Brayton Tuma 2-41, Korbin Martin 5-37, Gabe Pauley 1-9.
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July 1: Air Force's Nic Ready hit a total of 55 home runs, including 21 in the final round, to edge Clemson's Logan Davidson in the College Home Run Derby.
June 28: Oregon State celebrates beating Arkansas 5-0 in Game 3 of the CWS championship series. The Beavers were down to their last out in Game 2 before a fielding blunder by the Razorbacks gave Oregon State a second life, which it took advantage of en route to the program's third CWS title.
June 18: John Olson, and Mary Olson, of Joslyn, Missouri, take cover under ponchos during a rain delay at the College World Series. Weather provided a huge problem in the 2018 CWS.
June 15: Cam'ron Jones checks out Omaha.com, or perhaps Snapchat, during the Huskers' Friday Night Lights camp.
May 19: Fremont's Lucas Arps celebrates after winning the Class A 400-meter dash.
May 19: Lincoln Lutheran's Josie Puelz celebrates after clearing 12-2 in the Class C girls pole vault final.
May 17: Omaha Roncalli's Thomas Alitz cheers after scoring the winning run in the Class B state championship on a hit by Logan McGill with two outs in the seventh inning.
May 17: Omaha Creighton Prep's Eric Allbery, right, jumps on the dogpile as the Junior Jays celebrate their Class A state baseball title.
May 16: South Sioux City celebrates after defeating Elkhorn South in the Class B state soccer championship.
May 16: Kearney's Christian Dakan hoists the Class A state soccer trophy alongside his teammates.
May 14: Millard North celebrates its Class A state championship win against Omaha Marian by kissing the trophy.
May 14: Elkhorn celebrates its Class B championship win against Omaha Skutt.
May 9: Creighton's Will Robertson celebrates with Jack Strunc, left, after homering the fifth inning. The Jays beat UNO 10-6.
May 6: The Omaha Storm Chasers play below the newly dedicated Steve Pivovar Press Box at Werner Park.
April 21: Nebraska coach Scott Frost leads the Huskers during the Tunnel Walk on Saturday.
April 19: Awardee Dante Pettis and former Nebraska football player Johnny Rodgers, right, pictured during the Jet Award dinner.
April 19: Former Nebraska football coach Tom Osborne attends the Jet Award dinner.
April 18: UNO's Malik Moore pitches against Nebraska. The Mavericks knocked off the Huskers for the first time since 1997.
April 11: Creighton's Will Robertson, left, and Thomas Luevano celebrate scoring on a triple by Jack Strunc.
April 11: Elkhorn South's Mo Gohr gains control of the ball in the Metro Conference tournament.
April 3: Scott Frost directs Husker football practice.
March 31: The boy campers pose for a photo at the Athletes' Training Center Futures Camp at Iowa West Field House.
March 27: Creighton defeats Nebraska 3-1 in the first matchup of the year.
March 25: Kansas' Malik Newman drives to the basket, drawing a blocking foul on Duke's Wendell Carter. The Jayhawks went on to defeat the Blue Devils in Omaha and advance to the Final Four.
March 17: Creighton defeats Iowa in the NCAA women's basketball tournament.
March 17: Creighton's bench cheers as Michael Emodi hits a walk-off homer off Wichita State pitcher Chandler Sanburn in the Jays' home opener.
March 12: The Creighton women's basketball team celebrates making the NCAA tournament.
March 10: Wahoo celebrates winning the Class C-1 boys basketball title.
March 10: Nebraska City Lourdes' Quinten Vasa, center, holds up the trophy with his team.
March 9: Glenwood celebrates after winning its first boys basktball state title in school history.
March 3: Scotus' Maggie Feehan celebrates after winning the Class C-1 title.
March 3: Superior celebrates a Class C-2 championship win over Ravenna.
Feb. 25: Nebraska's Duby Okeke enters Pinnacle Bank Arena with his family at his side on senior night. The Huskers went on to defeat Penn State.
Nebraska's Duby Okeke enters Pinnacle Bank Arena with his family at his side on senior night.
Feb. 24: Creighton's Marcus Foster, left, and Davion Mintz celebrate Creighton's 89-83 overtime victory over Villanova.
Feb. 24: Omaha Creighton Prep's Colin LaFave competes in the 100 fly at the state swimming meet.
Feb. 24: Lincoln Southwest's Anna Heinrich, left, and Josie Ford celebrate their first and second-place finishes in the 50 free at the state swimming meet.
Feb. 17: Kearney’s Phillip Moomey is in the top 20 of his weight class in two national polls. Only a handful of underclassmen are ranked ahead of him.
Feb. 17: Omaha Burke's Jakason Burks does a backflip after defeating Millard South's Caleb Coyle during the 106-pound Class A final at the state wrestling championships.
Jan. 28: Omaha Lancers coach and General Manager David Wilkie talks with players during first-period action.
Jan. 26: UNO's Luke Nogard skates past the referee.
Jan. 16: Nebraska's Nicea Eliely gets excited during pregame introductions as the Huskers went on to beat Iowa.
Nebraska's James Palmer celebrates a home victory over Illinois with Isaiah Roby.
Jan. 9: Former Florida State coach Bobby Bowden, left, talks with former Nebraska coach Tom Osborne during the Outland Trophy banquet.
Jan. 4: Omaha Burke's Shereef Mitchell brings the ball up court in the Metro holiday tournament.
Jan. 1: In his final game with Central Florida, now-Nebraska coach Scott Frost raises the Peach Bowl title after defeating Auburn.