It took only the first play of the game for Papillion-La Vista South to show it wasn't going to let its crosstown rivals rout the Titans again this year.
The Titans' Ben Lapke intercepted an Alec Ditoro screen pass and took it in for a touchdown to start a 44-34 win Friday at Foundation Field.
The Titan defense harassed Ditoro all night, forcing six interceptions — it had only three picks in nine games last year — from the quarterback who broke just about every Class A passing record in 2012.
“I'm very thankful we got those defensive plays,” Titans coach Walt Olsen said. “The last two games he really torched us. He's a true quarterback and still had a lot of completions and yards, but we just did so many great things in the secondary.”
Along with the feisty defense, the offense kept up because of Drew Klein. He ran 38 times for 197 yards and two scores, including the go-ahead touchdown.
After Papio took its only lead on a 49-yard touchdown pass from Ditoro and Reid Matthias, Klein returned the ensuing kickoff 91 yards for a score.
“That was super-huge,” Olsen said. “I don't think I've seen a better kick return before, and I can't wait to watch it again on film.”
To make matters worse for the Monarchs, their next play from scrimmage was another pick-six, this one by Brian Lapke for a 30-20 halftime lead.
The third quarter featured Klein carrying the ball on 10 of the Titans' 19 plays, while Papio got just seven snaps. Klein capped a 10-play, 71-yard drive with a 1-run touchdown run and a 37-20 lead.
Klein's big night was capped with an interception with 1:50 left.
Ditoro managed to put up his usual numbers, going 27 for 47 for 376 yards and four scores along with 54 yards rushing.
For the Titans and Olsen, who lost to the Monarchs by a combined 78-10 in his first two rivalry games, it was a huge win.
“I've never felt more helpless as a coach two years ago when they were throttling us,” Olsen said. “It feels great, and I couldn't be more proud of my kids.”
Papillion-La Vista (0-1) ...................................... 6 14 0 14—34
Papillion-La Vista South (1-0) ............................ 14 16 7 7—44
PLS: Ben Lapke 20 interception return (Billy Greco kick)
PLV: Sean Van Briesen 75 run (PAT failed)
PLS: Drew Klein 47 run (Greco kick)
PLS: FG Greco 35
PLV: Lucas Hostetler 80 pass from Alec Ditoro (Gage Romans kick)
PLV: Reid Matthias 49 pass from Ditoro (Romans kick)
PLS: Klein 91 kickoff return (PAT failed)
PLS: Brian Lapke 25 interception return (Greco kick)
PLS: Klein 1 run (Greco kick)
PLV: Van Briesen 3 pass from Ditoro (Romans kick)
PLS: Dylan Donahue 31 pass from Gabe Smallwood (Greco kick)
PLV: Hostetler 24 pass from Ditoro (Romans kick)