TJ Urban's four touchdowns help No. 3 Millard South defeat Grand Island, advance to semifinals

Millard South's TJ Urban, center, breaks free from Grand Island's Broc Douglass to score a third-quarter touchdown.

Fourth-and-1 from your 10 gets stopped, opponent scores on the next play.

A head-shaking situation. For everyone but Andy Means, who made the call.

Why, Coach?

“Because I believe in our kids, and I believe we could have gotten it,” the longtime Millard South coach said. “We’ve done it all season, going for it on fourth down.

“It’s my statement to the kids I believe in you.”

The Patriots are another game closer to the school’s first Memorial Stadium appearance since 2010, just three years removed from a 1-8 season, with Friday’s 34-24 win over Grand Island at Buell Stadium.

They’ll have another home game next Friday as they host their semifinal against Omaha Westside in what will be another busy day at Buell Stadium.

Both Class A semifinals will be at Buell, with No. 2 Millard West hosting No. 1 Bellevue West at 8 p.m. after the 4 p.m. Millard South-Westside game. No. 3 Millard South beat No. 7 Westside 41-26 to end the regular season.

I cannot wait. Semifinal nirvana in one stadium.

Friday’s game was eerily at the same juncture as last year’s, when Millard South had a 24-14 lead at home on Grand Island with 10½ minutes left and lost 27-24.

This time the No. 6 Islanders made it 24-21 on the short field it received from Millard South. Broc Douglass, who became Grand Island’s first 1,000-yard receiver in a season, caught his third touchdown pass of the game on the first play after his defense stopped junior quarterback TJ Urban inches short of the first down.

When the Patriots got the ball back, they kept it for more than five minutes until regaining a 10-point lead on Urban’s fourth touchdown run of the game. On a second-and-4, he popped for a 29-yarder on a keeper with 3:15 left.

“Last year we didn’t do that. We had the ball, four minutes to go. We didn’t do it,” Means said. “They got the ball back, they went down and scored.

“We challenged them: ‘Hey, if your goal is to get to Lincoln, then you got to take care of this.’”

Urban, who said he thought he had gotten the first down, said the 64-yard drive was “really was nerve-wracking.” It included running back Isaiah Harris converting a fourth-and-2 from the GI 38.

“I had faith in the linemen,” Urban said. “They were just doing a heck of a job at the end.”

Urban went for 174 yards on 26 carries and  Harris added 142 on 28 carries as the only ball-toters for the Patriots.

Grand Island went deep into its playbook right off the bat. On a play that Means said the Patriots had worked against in practice, backup quarterback Jaden Jurgensmier took a double handoff and threw to Douglass for a 77-yard touchdown. Douglass also had a 40-yard run on a double reserve and ended with eight catches for 165 yards.

Grand Island had leads of 10-0 and 17-14, the latter when Douglass caught the first of his two scoring passes from Carson Cahoy with seven seconds left in the first half.

Millard South took the lead for good on a short-field drive on its first possession of the second half. Grand Island had a broken play in punt formation. Coach Jeff Tomlin said the Patriots were simulating his team’s cadence and the snap hit the man in motion.

“We knew the explosiveness of Harris and Urban, it just was going to be tough to contain them all night,” Tomlin said. “And obviously their offensive line is very good.

“We knew there were going to have to be a couple things go our way and we were going to have to make our own breaks a little bit. Coach (Russ) Harvey’s really creative and our kids seem to execute those special plays really well when we need them. I was proud of the way we pulled those off.”

Grand Island (9-1).............10    7      0 7—24

At Millard South (9-1)..........0 14 13 7—34

GI: Broc Douglass 77 pass from Jaden Jurgensmier (Braxton Mendez kick)

GI: FG Mendez 41

MS: TJ Urban 15 run (Cole Lammel kick)

MS: Isaiah Harris 38 run (Lammel kick)

GI: Douglass 1 pass from Carson Cahoy (Mendez kick)

MS: Urban 1 run (kick blocked)

MS: Urban 39 run (Lammel kick)

GI: Douglass 10 pass from Cahoy (Mendez kick)

MS: Urban 29 run (Lammel kick)

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

Rushing: GI, Douglass 1-40, Cahoy 11-19, Caleb Francl 7-11, team 1-0. MS, Harris 28-142, Urban 26-174.

Passing: GI, Jurgensmier 1-1-0 77, Cahoy 18-27-0 134. MS, Urban 4-6-0 33.

Receiving: GI, Douglass 8-165, Francl 3-11, Daylon Keolavone 3-26, Ace McKinnis 1-5, Matt Jurgensmier 2-6, Blake Leiting 1-7. MS, Tyson Gerdes 3-21, Chase Perchal 1-12.

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Reporter - High school sports

Stu is The World-Herald's lead writer for high school sports and for golf. Follow him on Twitter @stuOWH. Phone: 402-444-1041.

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