NORTH BEND — The busiest person in the stadium here Friday night was the scoreboard operator as Bancroft-Rosalie/Lyons-Decatur Northeast outlasted North Bend Central 60-53 in the quarterfinals of the Class C2 high school football playoffs.
Like two heavyweight boxers, the two teams stood toe-to-toe and traded punch after punch until the Wolverines were left standing at the end.
"Wow, that was some football game," BRLD coach Dan Maresh said. "Both sides gave it everything they had until there was nothing left. We just made one more play."
With 1 minute, 51 seconds remaining, Dylan Beutler made a spectacular catch down the left side of the Tiger defense with a couple of defenders draped all over him.
He rolled into the end zone with the ball and after Will Gatzemeyer ran in the conversion try, the Wolverines finished off North Bend by the 60-53 final.
That was preceded by a Kobe Lyons 4-yard touchdown run with BRLD trailing by a touchdown earlier in the fourth quarter. Lucas Vogt's extra-point kick was wide left and the Wolverines still trailed by a single point, and that set the stage for Beutler’s heroics.
Although there was 113 points scored, the decisive play may have come in the first half, North Bend coach Ryan Stieren said.
With his team up 14-6 late in the first 12 minutes, the Tigers had a first-and-10 at the Wolverine 33-yard line.
Vogt stepped in front of an Austin Endorf pass and raced 67 yards for a score to bring BRLD to within 14-12 with 1:37 left in the frame.
"This game was full of great plays by great athletes," Stieren said. "That was a great play by a great athlete, and it cost us."
But North Bend still had a lead in the fourth quarter.
Endorf and Gatzemeyer ran and threw their respective teams up and down the field — throwing passes one might see on a Sunday rather than a cold Friday night in Nebraska high school football.
"There were so many big plays by really great kids," Maresh said. "And not just on our side — they have some great players over there as well. Too bad we both couldn't move on. This was a just a great, great high school football game."
After Vogt's return for a touchdown, Gatzemeyer scored from the 4 on fourth down with nine minutes left in the half to give BRLD its first lead of the game at 20-14.
The Tigers answered with an Ethan Mullally run and an extra-point kick from Jarrett Poessnecker to retake the lead 21-20 then added another touchdown from Mullally, this one from 29 yards out to make it 28-20 after the Poessnecker kick.
The teams traded blows throughout the remainder of the half and into the second half until the clock got inside of 10 minutes left in the contest.
The Tigers led 28-26 at the half and the teams were tied at 39 after the third quarter.
"Each team was throwing haymakers," Maresh said. "Then the other team would come back and throw another one."
Gatzemeyer found Vogt for a touchdown to open the fourth quarter and then Vogt kicked the extra-point and the Wolverines led 46-39 just five seconds into the final period.
The Tigers tied it up just over two minutes later with a pass from Endorf to Pospisil from 17 yards out with 9:25 left on the clock.
Then North Bend took a lead with a 19-yard rumble from Mullally to put the Tigers up 53-46 with 6:18 to go.
"I told the guys not to panic," Maresh said. "I knew we could make a game of it if we just didn't turn the ball over."
Class C2 quarterfinal
BRLD (10-1) 12 14 13 21 — 60
NBC (9-2) 14 14 11 14 — 53
NBC: Austin Endorf 4 pass from Cody Prohaska (Jarrett Poessnecker kick), 8:39.
NBC: Cody Pospisil 9 pass from Endorf (Poessnecker kick), 6:33.
BRLD: Kaden Frahm 4 run (kick failed), 3:37.
BRLD: Lucas Vogt 65 interception return (run failed), 1:37.
BRLD: Will Gatzemeyer 4 run (Jaxon Johnson pass from Gatzemeyer), 9:00.
NBC: Ethan Mullally 1 run (Poessnecker kick), 5:08.
NBC: Mullally 29 run (Poessnecker kick), 3:19.
BRLD: Vogt 5 pass from Gatzemeyer (pass failed), :34.
NBC: Mullally 1 run (Endorf run), 10:27.
BRLD: Vogt 25 pass from Gatzemeyer (kick failed), 8:31.
NBC: Poessnecker 27 field goal, 3:55.
BRLD: Gatzemeyer 2 run (Vogt kick), :57.
BRLD: Vogt 10 pass from Gatzemeyer (Vogt kick), 11:55.
NBC: Pospisil 17 pass from Endorf (Poessnecker kick), 9:25.
NBC: Mullally 19 run (Poessnecker kick), 6:18.
BRLD: Kobe Lyons 4 run (kick failed), 5:43.
BRLD: Dylan Beutler 31 pass from Gatzemeyer (Gatzemeyer run), 1:51.