MANNING — South O’Brien running back Zach Nieman rushed for more yards Monday than IKM-Manning gained in total offense.
The Wolves (11-0), however, recovered five fumbles to go along with a back-breaking kickoff return by Devontay Massey-Hocken on the final play of the first half to take down the Wolverines 28-17 in a second-round Class 1-A playoff game.
“We created some of those by the way that we tackled and not giving up on any play,” IKM-Manning co-head coach Tom Casey said. “That’s part of the football game and we just made key plays at key times.”
Nieman rushed for 241 yards on 36 carries and scored twice as the Wolverines outgained the Wolves 389-199 in the game. South O’Brien fullback Austin Rohrs added 102 yards rushing.
“We told the kids that (IKM-Manning) would not beat itself and make mistakes and we can’t do that either,” South O’Brien Mark Fuhrmann said. “We just made too many errors.”
The two teams traded touchdowns early in the first half before Michael Callahan hit a 26-yard field goal to put South O’Brien ahead 9-7 with 14 seconds remaining in the half. Massey-Hocken turned the game, though, by fielding a squib kick and racing untouched for 84 yards for a touchdown.
Shayne Wiese found the endzone in the third quarter to put IKM-Manning ahead 21-9 heading into the final period. Nieman scored with 4:15 to go and also ran in the two-point conversion to pull his team within four at 21-17, however.
The Wolverines got a three-and-out and forced an IKM-Manning punt with just under three minutes remaining, but Sam Weber coughed the ball up on a screen pass. Massey-Hocken recovered his second fumble on the evening at the South O’Brien 39 and Scott Opperman scored from five yards out to close out the game.
Sam Wegner led the Wolves on the ground with 95 yards and a touchdown.
“Tonight was a team effort and we just pushed each other to get it done,” Massey-Hocken said.
South O’Brien (8-3) .................. 6 3 0 8—17
IKM-Manning (11-0) .................. 0 14 7 7—28
S: Zach Nieman 13 run (kick blocked)
I: Sam Wegner 16 run (Dillon Muhlbauer kick)
S:FG Michael Callahan 26
I: Devontay Massey-Hocken 84 punt return (Muhlbauer kick)
I: Shayne Wiese 1 run (Muhlbauer kick)
S:Nieman 1 run (Nieman run)
I: Scott Opperman 5 run (Muhlbauer kick)