LINCOLN — Osceola/High Plains hopes to write a storybook ending. Burwell wants to close out another successful chapter.
Whichever team claims the Eight Man-1 championship Monday at Memorial Stadium, it will cap an amazing postseason run.
Both teams are 10-2 and unranked. Both eliminated tough opponent after tough opponent to earn their way to Lincoln.
“It’s been amazing,” Osceola/High Plains co-coach Greg Wood said. “All year long, we’ve wanted to play one more game. Now we’re where we wanted to be. We’ve had to beat a lot of good teams, especially in the playoffs. We went to Creighton, then played Howells-Dodge, who has a lot of history.
“Burwell is another team with a lot of history. They’ve been in the playoffs 14 years in a row and have been in the finals four out of five years.”
But after losing all but three players with starting experience from last year’s runner-up team, Burwell’s return trip didn’t look like a sure thing after two losses in the middle of the season.
“Our seniors deserve this so much,” Burwell coach Luke Gideon said. “It’s a small group, but they came on strong and gave us mental and physical toughness.
“Our young guys at the beginning of the year didn’t realize how good they were because they played against the great guys we had last year every day in practice. In the middle of the year, they realized that they are pretty good football players. We kept improving until we were playing at a pretty high level.”
Osceola/High Plains, which will end its two-year co-op agreement at the end of this season, is led by senior Keaton Van Housen. He has 2,212 yards and 33 touchdowns while quarterback Dylan Soule has 1,378 yards and 23 scores.
Burwell has also used a strong rushing attack. Senior Jase Williams amassed 1,631 yards and 31 touchdowns, playing through a midseason illness that slowed him for a month.
The Longhorns pass more than the Stormdogs, who have thrown for 301 yards. Burwell junior quarterback Barak Birch is 87 for 145 for 1,141 yards with 11 touchdowns and three interceptions.
Photos: Nebraska high school state football champions since 2004
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