Photo Credit: John S. Peterson

State Football Standouts: Class C1 and C2 Finals

November 23, 2021

Tuesday marks the final day of the high school football season in Nebraska with the last three classes determining their champions.

Columbus Lakeview got the day started with a win over Pierce in the C1 final. The C2 championship features Fremont Bergan and Norfolk Catholic while the nightcap in Class A includes Omaha Westside and Gretna.

On Monday, Howells-Dodge and Kenesaw won the D1 and D2 championships, respectively, while Bennington completed a dominant season in B.

Here are some standout plays and performers from the day.

Class C1: No. 11 Columbus Lakeview 37, No. 9 Pierce 25

The Vikings jumped out to a big lead then made some clutch plays to stymie a Pierce rally en route to the first state title in school history.

Lakeview got touchdowns from its offense, defense and special teams units and dominated the field position battle to knock off the reigning C1 champions.

The Lakeview defense came to play on Tuesday, forcing turnovers on downs on Pierce’s first two possessions, then Eli Osten popped the ball free as a Pierce ball-carrier was fighting for extra yards, leading to a 56-yard scoop-and-score for Braxton Borer. The Vikings scored the first 17 points of the game.

Pierce finally found the scoring column as Michael Kruntorad slipped out of the backfield and sprinted up the field for a 72-yard catch-and-run (PAT failed), but Lakeview tacked on another touchdown before halftime thanks to a fake field goal on fourth-and-5.

Pierce opened the second-half with a touchdown drive capped by a 36-yard touchdown pass from Abram Scholting to Matthew Christensen, then Scholting forced two Lakeview turnovers, an interception and a forced/recovered fumble. The Bluejays couldn’t capitalize on either one, though, as they punted after the first and then pressure in Scholting’s face led to an errant throw and an interception by Adam Van Cleave, who stepped on the sideline after a 35-yard return. Van Cleave scored on a 21-yard run on the next play to make it 31-12.

Pierce kept battling from there, answering with an 11-yard touchdown run from Scholting set up by a 40-yard reception from 2023 Huskers commit Benjamin Brahmer late in the third quarter.

Pierce forced a punt then marched down the field to pull within one score thanks to a fourth-and-14 touchdown throw from Scholting to Kruntorad on the throwback wheel route with 6:01 to play.

However, a short kick, a 14-yard return and a facemask penalty set the Vikings up inside Pierce territory, and the Bluejays couldn’t get the stop they needed to complete the comeback. A 10-yard rushing touchdown by quarterback Kolby Blaser served as the dagger.

Lakeview did a good job of getting a lot of guys involved and spreading the ball around, but Van Cleave led the way with 14 carries for 73 yards and a touchdown, the passing touchdown, 10 tackles and the interception. Osten led the defensive effort with 12 tackles (2.5 for loss) and a forced fumble.

Brahmer finished with a game-high 113 yards on nine receptions and he added 12 tackles on defense. Kruntorad wasn’t far behind with 105 yards and two touchdowns on three receptions, and he led the way on the ground with 78 yards on 11 carries. Scholting was 14-of-21 passing for 263 yards and three touchdowns on offense and he added eight tackles plus the two turnovers on defense.

Class C2: No. 2 Fremont Bergan , No. 1 Norfolk Catholic

Norfolk Catholic struck first, but it was all Bergan after that as the McIntyre brothers, Jarett Boggs and Lucas Pruss proved to be too much for the Knights from Norfolk.

After falling short in the C2 title game a year ago, the Knights finished the job this time and completed the 13-0 season to win their first state championship since 1979.

Things got off to an auspicious start as Bergan forced a punt on Norfolk Catholic’s first drive but then fumbled the return. Two plays later, Karter Kerkman scored from 16 yards out with a tight-rope routine up the right sideline.

On Bergan’s first offensive play of the day, however, Wyoming pledge Koa McIntrye hit Lucas Pruss deep for an 80-yard touchdown. Then Bergan recovered the ensuing kickoff at the Norfolk 10 and McInyre hit his brother, Kade, for a touchdown on the first play of that drive.

Koa hit Kade for another touchdown before the end of the first quarter, then Bergan tacked on another touchdown late in the second. Norfolk Catholic finally scored again as Carter Janssen found Brennen Kelley in the end zone with 4 seconds left, but Bergan took a 35-13 lead into the locker room.

It didn’t get any better in the second half. The Fremont Knights added two more touchdowns to trigger the running clock early in the fourth quarter before Kerkman scored on a 53-yard run with 31 seconds left.

Koa McIntyre got a deserved curtain call from the Fremont faithful at the 5:25 mark as back-up Cooper Weitzel closed it out behind center.

Koa McIntrye finished 9-of-11 passing for 259 yards and five touchdowns while adding seven tackles and a pass break-up. He took some huge hits — and delivered one too — but got back up off the turf each time and made some brilliant throws throughout the game.

Pruss caught three passes for 163 yards and two touchdowns. Kade McIntyre caught all four passes his brother sent his way for 60 yards and two touchdowns while adding eight tackles (2.5 for loss) on defense. Gavin Logemann caught the other touchdown.

Jarett Boggs ran hard all afternoon and finished with 131 yards and a score on 17 carries plus five tackles (one for loss). Isaac Herink led the defensive effort with 11 tackles including 2.5 for loss.

Kerkman accounted for 153 of Norfolk Catholic’s 238 total yards and two of the team’s three touchdowns. Kelley caught five passes for 61 yards and the other touchdown while adding six tackles. Norfolk Catholic finished 11-2.

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