Though Omaha Westside coach Brett Froendt said his halftime speech was nothing special, his Warriors certainly responded.
No. 7 Westside scored four touchdowns in the third quarter Friday and rolled to a 49-13 win over 10th-ranked Omaha Creighton Prep in the first round of the Class A playoffs.
Froendt’s squad led 14-6 late in the first half when Prep’s Alex Bullock blocked a field goal attempt. The Junior Jays’ Alex Masek returned the ball to the Westside 25 but was tackled, ending the half.
It wasn’t exactly a positive note for the Warriors. Still, the coach said he didn’t deliver a fiery Lombardi-esque speech at halftime.
“I was pretty calm,” Froendt said. “I knew we had things in hand, but we were making mistakes and stopping ourself.”
There was no stopping the Warriors (8-2) in the second half, starting with their first play from scrimmage. Junior running back Avante Dickerson sprinted 60 yards for a touchdown to make it 21-6.
“I saw a big hole and I hit it,” he said. “Our blocking up front was really good all game.”
Eight seconds later, Westside extended its lead to 28-6. Linebacker Jake Holmstrom intercepted a John Coniglio pass and returned it 23 yards for the score.
After a three and out by the Prep offense, the Warriors got the ball back at the 50. Ten plays later, fullback Ben Radicia bulled over from the 5 to make it 35-6.
The Junior Jays (6-4) had to punt on their next possession, and Westside soon had its fourth TD of the quarter. Quarterback Cole Payton hit Bodie Harrell with a short pass that he turned into a 79-yard score.
“I thought we got back to basics in that quarter,” Froendt said. “A lot of credit has to go to our line.”
An 8-yard TD run by Darian Sopka extended Westside’s lead to 49-6 early in the fourth quarter.
Prep scored the game’s final touchdown on a 65-yard pass from Coniglio to Mason Armstead.
Froendt said his team was prepared for the Junior Jays, who lost to the Warriors 49-21 Sept. 27.
“With a rivalry like we’ve got, I knew our guys would be excited to play them,” he said.
Prep got off to a strong start on its opening possession, marching to the Westside 10 before the drive stalled. Patrick Foley came on to boot a 27-yard field goal to put the Junior Jays on top.
A little trickery gave the ball back to Prep after Foley recovered his own onside kick. But the Junior Jays couldn’t add to their lead and Westside moved ahead late in the quarter on a 45-yard TD run by Payton.
Dickerson caught a 25-yard TD pass from Payton in the second quarter to make it 14-3 before Foley booted a 40-yard field goal for Prep.
Then came halftime and the four-score third quarter that helped propel Westside.
“I think it made Coach happy that we played so well in that quarter,” Dickerson said. “And it made our fans happy.”
The victory sets up a rematch against Lincoln Southeast next Friday night. The Knights defeated Westside 22-17 Sept. 13.
“We were close the first time,” Froendt said. “This time we’ve got to finish.”
Omaha Creighton Prep (6-4).........3 3 0 7—13
At Omaha Westside (8-2)............7 7 28 7—49
CP: FG Patrick Foley 27
OW: Cole Payton 45 run (Jack Bush kick)
OW: Avante Dickerson 25 pass from Payton (Bush kick)
CP: FG Foley 40
OW: Dickerson 60 run (Bush kick)
OW: Jake Holmstrom 23 interception return (Bush kick)
OW: Ben Radicia 5 run (Bush kick)
OW: Bodie Harrell 79 pass from Payton (Bush kick)
OW: Darian Sopka 8 run (Bush kick)
CP: Mason Armstead 65 pass from John Coniglio (Jaden Overman kick)
Rushing: CP, Vinny Cacioppo 15-92, Max Sanders 4-8, Anthony Collins 1- -1, John Coniglio 8-24. OW, Avante Dickerson 3-67, Cole Payton 13-75, Bodie Harrell 5-22, Grant Tagge 1- -12, Ben Radicia 1-5, Raoul Kolani 5-44, Darian Sopka 5-22, Jacob Vincentini 3- -2.
Passing: CP, Coniglio 10-25-2 136, Sam Meysenburg 0-1-0 0. OW, Payton 11-20-1 210.
Receiving: CP, Alex Bullock 2-10, Mason Armstead 5-105, Will Manhart 1-10, Joe Boulay 1-6, AJ Rollins 1-5. OW, Cal Weidemann 3-34, Jake Holmstrom 3-38, Dickerson 2-43, Harrell 1-79, Koby Bretz 1-7, Grant Tagge 1-9.