Amateur football: Huskers roll in first playoff game
WORTHINGTON — Play a full game. That was the message echoing through the Southwest Huskerz’ players heads Saturday evening, and so they went on to dominate the Buffalo Ridge Wildcats for all four quarters en route to a 49-6 Southern Plains Football League playoff victory at Trojan Field.
On the Huskerz’ opening drive, Darieon Smith ran the ball in from five yards out after the drive was kept alive when Jordan Larson completed a 15-yard pass to Blake Schroeder, converting on fourth down.
Southwest’s defense held strong and forced a three and out from the Wildcats.
On the next drive, Trae Johnson found an opening and Larson completed a 45-yard touchdown pass.
Again, the Huskerz’ strong defense forced a punt from Buffalo Ridge and the Huskerz would take a 14-0 lead into the second quarter.
With the Huskerz starting with the ball to begin to second quarter, Jordan Larson completed to Khalid Walters for 25 yards.
Larson put on a show as he evaded virtually every Wildcat defender to scramble for 12 yards. Smith broke off a 12-yard run on fourth down to keep the drive alive and Larson scrambled for a five-yard touchdown.
Buffalo Ridge answered on the ensuing drive by pulling one out of the schoolyard playbook. Alex Ossefoort pitched it to Jon Gorter who completed a 55-yard halfback pass to Jacob Derby for six points with 24 seconds left in the half. The extra point was missed and it appeared that it would go into halftime with a score of 21-6. But that would not be the case.
James Augustus returned the kickoff. Augustus found a few holes and brought the ball back 80 yards before tossing a lateral to Calvin Klosterman, who was downed at the five-yard line with one second left.
The Huskerz took a risk in not kicking a field goal, but instead went in for the touchdown. The risk brought reward as Smith ran it in for the score, aided by a nice block from Jake Steffl.
The score at halftime showed the Huskerz leading 28-6.
Buffalo Ridge started the second half with the ball, but they wouldn’t have it for long as Bryant Schroeder picked off Ossefoort and returned it 30 yards to the Buffalo Ridge three-yard line.
Smith punched it in to put the Huskerz up 35-6.
The Wildcats were forced to punt on the ensuing possession and Ruslan Alfaro returned the punt 40 yards.
Blake Schroeder came in at quarterback and completed an 18-yard touchdown pass to Walters. The extra point was missed, but the Huskerz still held a commanding 41-6 lead entering the fourth quarter.
Buffalo Ridge controlled the ball for most of the fourth quarter but saw its drive end on the Huskerz’ one-yard line.
The Huskerz weren’t done yet as Schroeder completed to Johnson, who broke loose and received a monster block from Jay Miller to take it 80 yards for the score with 11 seconds left.
The Huskerz, who scored on every possession, rolled over the Wildcats after having lost their final regular season game — their only loss thus far in the season.
“We needed to play four full quarters, we’ve preached it all season, and tonight was the first night we did that. We put our pedal to the medal all night,” said Huskerz head coach Ken McCuen.
“This was our best win all season and it’s good to have this momentum in the playoffs, but we’ve got a lot of work to do. We’ve hung our hats on our defense all season, but I can’t say enough about our offense tonight. They came to play. They scored on every possession and took a lot of pressure off our defense.”
“It was a hard-fought win, they showed up to play,” remarked Huskerz middle linebacker Demetrius Washington, “Obviously, I don’t want to let them get anything. We made a mistake on that halfback pass, but overall I thought we corrected a lot of the mistakes from last week.”
“I had a pretty conservative approach tonight, but we came out and jumped on them tonight,” commented Darieon Smith on his three-touchdown performance.
Southwest’s next game is Saturday at 7 p.m. against Albert Lea at Worthington’s Trojan Field.
Huskerz 14 14 13 8 — 49
Wildcats 0 6 0 0 — 6