Omaha Burke coach Paul Limongi spoke during practice this week about getting the ball in the hands of his big-play guys.

Quarterback Reid Burke got the message, tossing three touchdown passes in a 34-17 homecoming win over Omaha Central on Friday night.

Reid Burke fired touchdown passes of 19, 31 and 85 yards as sixth-ranked Burke (2-1), the defending Class A champion, bounced back from last week’s loss to Millard West.

“Coach preached about getting the ball into our playmakers’ hands,” Burke said. “I was happy that I was able to do that.”

The Bulldogs sprinted to a 14-0 lead in the first quarter and never looked back. Limongi said it was nice to see his team maintain pressure on the Eagles (1-2) until the end.

“Our first two games, we didn’t have the killer instinct,” he said. “Central battled us, but I thought we did a pretty good job tonight.”

Tonio Clark set the tone for the Bulldogs, racing 58 yards on the opening play. Four plays later, Clark went over from the 1 to put Burke on top 7-0.

After the Bulldog defense forced a three-and-out, the offense went back to work. On third-and-15, Reid Burke hit Notre Dame recruit Xavier Watts on a 31-yard touchdown connection.

Burke’s second touchdown pass came when he found Michael Payne for an 85-yard score. The Bulldogs faced third-and-16 from their own 15 before striking on the long touchdown.

Central recovered a pair of fumbles and closed to 21-10 by halftime.

DeAnthony Bridgeford-Jackett caught a 6-yard scoring pass from quarterback Abe Hoskins, and Sam Levy booted a 27-yard field goal.

The Bulldogs extended the lead on their first drive of the second half. Jaylon Roussell rushed for 41 yards on the march and capped the drive on a 19-yard scoring toss from Burke.

It was the last pass of the night for the quarterback, who completed 10 of 11 for 200 yards.

“Reid put the ball in the hands of our playmakers,” Limongi said. “That’s what we wanted him to do.”

Watts, one of the biggest playmakers in the state, scored the Bulldogs’ final touchdown on an electrifying 65-yard interception return. He tightroped the Burke sideline and left several defenders behind as he sprinted to the end zone.

“That was pretty special,” Reid Burke said. “Not too many guys are going to make that play.”

Central’s final score came on a 6-yard pass from Hoskins to Marcus Baptiste.

Roussell rushed for 161 yards to lead the Burke ground attack. He had 80 yards in the first half and 81 in the second.

Hoskins passed for 149 yards and rushed for 67 more to lead Central. The quarterback came over to congratulate Reid Burke after the game when Burke was speaking to a reporter.

“We know we’ve got some things to clean up,” the Bulldogs quarterback said. “But it was nice to get a win tonight.”

Omaha Central (1-2).............0 10 0 7—17

At Omaha Burke (2-1)............14 7 6 7—34

OB: Tonio Clark 1 run (Colin Urban kick)

OB: Xavier Watts 31 pass from Reid Burke (Urban kick)

OB: Michael Payne III 85 pass from Burke (Urban kick)

OC: DeAnthony Bridgeford-Jackett 6 pass from Abe Hoskins (Sam Levy kick)

OC: FG Levy 27

OB: Jaylon Roussell 19 pass from Burke (kick failed)

OB: Watts 65 interception return (Urban kick)

OC: Marcus Baptiste 6 pass from Hoskins (Levy kick)

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

Rushing: OB, Abe Hoskins 16-67, DeAnthony Bridgeford-Jackett 10-14. OC, Jaylon Roussell 19-161, Tonio Clark 6-64, Toby Kellner 8-36, Xavier Watts 1-6, Reid Burke 7-(minus-32), team 1-(minus-27).

Passing: OC, Hoskins 21-34-1 149. OB, Burke 10-11-0 200.

Receiving: OC, Dylan Baker 2-14, Alex Castillo 6-41, Marcus Baptiste 6-54, Bridgeford-Jackett 6-33, Amariyan Lathan 1-7. OB, Watts 3-42, Roussell 2-14, Michael Payne 3-113, David Moreano 2-31.

Get a daily roundup of game recaps, player features and more in your inbox.

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.

Mike covers high school sports, primarily volleyball in the fall, girls basketball in the winter and baseball in the spring and summer. He also reports on horse racing for The World-Herald. Follow him on Twitter @MPattersonOWH. Phone: 402-444-1350.

Commenting is limited to Omaha World-Herald subscribers. To sign up, click here.

If you're already a subscriber and need to activate your access or log in, click here.

Recommended for you

Load comments

You must be a full digital subscriber to read this article You must be a digital subscriber to view this article.