No need for Omaha Skutt to look very far for film on its playoff opponents — at least through the first two rounds.
The SkyHawks, who had Class B’s top defense during the regular season, opened the playoffs with a strong defensive performance Friday night in a 28-0 victory over Ralston, a team Skutt beat by five points two weeks ago in district play.
Next up for the SkyHawks is Omaha Gross, which handed Skutt its only loss last week in the district championship game.
“I talked to (Ralston) coach (Tyler) Zahn before the game and he said, ‘What are the odds of having three of our teams in the same bracket?’ I guess it’s our district all over again,” Skutt coach Matt Turman said.
Skutt, ranked sixth in Class B, fared better against No. 8 Ralston the second time around. The SkyHawks hope the same is true against Gross — last week, Skutt turned the ball over five times in a 14-7 loss.
“We talked all week about getting off to a better start,” said Turman, whose team turned the ball over just once Friday. “The kids did that tonight.”
Skutt trailed Ralston 16-7 after one quarter in their first meeting. But on Friday, the SkyHawks set the tone from the start.
After forcing Ralston to go three-and-out on the game’s first possession, Skutt scored on its fourth play from scrimmage. Phillip Rasmussen took a pitch and ran untouched to the end zone from 41 yards out at the 9:31 mark.
“The last couple of times, we came out slow on offense,” Rasmussen said. “We made some adjustments at practice. Our team made a 180 and came out firing like we knew we had to.”
Rasmussen, a 180-pound senior, also came up with the biggest defensive play for the SkyHawks.
Trailing 14-0, Ralston started a drive midway through the second quarter at its own 46. Quarterback Josh Krzemien tried to hit Jake Goltl with a quick pass, but the ball deflected off Goltl into the arms of Rasmussen, who sprinted 50 yards down the left sideline for another touchdown.
That touchdown made it 21-0 with five minutes left in the first half. After that, Skutt’s defense never allowed the Rams to seriously threaten.
“Our offense did a good job of getting first downs and making Ralston go 80 yards instead of 20 or 30 yards,” Turman said. “And our defense has played great all year. We continue to hang our hat on that.”
The SkyHawks, who entered the game allowing 7.7 points and 131.4 yards per game, held Ralston to 195 yards Friday.
And the Rams were facing the prospect of long drives all night — Ralston’s average starting position on its 12 drives was its own 24. Its best starting position was the 46 — Rasmussen returned the interception for a touchdown on that drive.
“Defensively, their speed is tremendous,” Zahn said. “Things that are open early close very quickly. Skutt definitely proved they were the better team tonight.”
Skutt’s defense held Isaac Wallace, who rushed for 1,011 yards in the regular season, to 25 yards on 10 carries. Krzemien threw for 115 yards, but he was intercepted three times.
Austin Hauptman led the Skutt offense with 116 yards on 20 carries. Skutt finished with 326 total yards, including 260 on the ground.
Ralston (6-4) .................. 0 0 0 0—0
Omaha Skutt (9-1) .................. 7 14 0 7—28
OS: Phillip Rasmussen 41 run (Jake Sievers kick)
OS: Joe Dooley 21 run (Sievers kick)
OS: Rasmussen 50 interception return (Sievers kick)
OS: Dakota Krejci-Smith 7 run (Sievers kick)
RUSHING: R: Isaac Wallace 10-25, Aaron Baker 4-16, Logan Gofta 3-12, Josh Krzemien 10-10, Andy Chleborad 1-10, Justin Tingwald 5-7; S: Austin Hauptman 20-116, Phillip Rasmussen 4-72, Dakota Krejci-Smith 9-37, Joe Dooley 2-22, Creighton Koley 4-8, Nick Bies 4-5.
PASSING: R: Krzemien 5-18-3 115; S: Koley 2-3-0 40, Bies 3-6-0 26.
RECEIVING: Chleborad 2-16, Baker 1-42, Doug Goltl 1-35, Tingwald 1-22; S: Hauptman 1-20, Zach Matukewicz 1-20, Ryan Bouda 1-13, Jake Sievers 1-10, Rasmussen 1-3.
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