CEDAR FALLS, Iowa — Will Burds had a flair for the dramatic Thursday.
And partly because of that, Western Dubuque will play for a state championship next week.
Burds returned kickoffs 80 and 50 yards for touchdowns, and the No. 8 Bobcats sidelined No. 5 Sergeant Bluff-Luton 35-18 in a Class 3-A semifinal at the UNI-Dome.
The Bobcats (10-2) will play Thursday at 7 p.m. in the title game. Sergeant Bluff closed at 10-2.
The Warriors marched 58 yards in 13 plays on their first possession of the second half to close to 14-12 on Britton Delperdang’s 2-yard touchdown run. The 2-point pass failed.
Sergeant Bluff booted the ensuing kickoff out of bounds. After some discussion, the Bobcats elected to have the Warriors re-kick. It turned out to be a good decision, as Burds fielded the ball at his 20 and weaved through the defense.
“It definitely swung some momentum,’’ Sergeant Bluff-Luton coach Justin Smith said. “There’s no doubt about that. There was a lot of plays in that game that we just barely missed. It’s all those things added up, and that’s football.’’
Daniel Wright, a 6-foot-7, 205-pound junior who is drawing some Division I interest, completed 26 of 40 for 244 yards and two touchdowns. Deric Fitzgerald caught 12 passes for 128 yards.
Wright hit Sam DeMoss for a 24-yard touchdown with 3:08 remaining to cut the deficit to 28-18. Sergeant Bluff then tried on an onside kick, but Burds scooped it up and sprinted to paydirt to clinch the win.
“You’ve got to credit Western Dubuque,’’ Smith said. “They came out and they played well enough to win.’’
Western Dubuque (10-2).................. 8 6 7 14—35
Sergeant Bluff-Luton (10-2).................,6 0 6 6—18
WD: Calvin Harris 5 run (Kyle Lehmann pass from Harris)
SB: Conner Groves 4 pass from Daniel Wright (kick failed)
WD: Drake George 20 pass from Harris (kick failed)
SB: Britton Delperdang 2 run (pass failed)
WD: Will Burds 80 kickoff return (Gabe Ulrich kick)
WD: George 30 pass from Harris (Ulrich kick)
SB: Sam DeMoss 24 pass from Wright (pass failed)
WD: Burds 50 kickoff return (Ulrich kick)
Rushing: WD, Jake Hosch 17-99, Calvin Harris 12-36, Ben DeSollar 2-16, Drake George 1-(-8), team 2-(-4). SB, Britton Delperdang 21-54, Daniel Wright 2-12, Deric Fitzgerald 3-9, Sam DeMoss 1-6, Jorma Schwedler 3-(-1).
Passing: WD, Calvin Harris 7-11-0, 77 yards, 1 TD. SB, Daniel Wright 26-40-1, 244 yards, 2 TDs.
Receiving: WD, Drake George 5-62, Sam Goodman 1-15, Jake Hosch 1-0. SB, Deric Fitzgerald 12-128, Sam DeMoss 7-79, Conner Groves 5-29, Britton Delperdang 1-7, Tristan Navrkal firstname.lastname@example.org, 402-444-1055,
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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Feb. 24: Omaha Creighton Prep's Colin LaFave competes in the 100 fly at the state swimming meet.
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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.
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