Easton Stick put Omaha Creighton Prep ahead with a pair of touchdown passes.
But it was his 63-yard scramble in the closing minutes that secured the Junior Jays' spot in the Class A semifinals.
Stick had a hand in all three Prep touchdowns as the Junior Jays held off Omaha Central 28-14 Friday at Seemann Stadium.
The Junior Jays, in the semifinals for the first time since 2008, will face Omaha North next Friday. They didn't meet during the regular season.
“I'm very excited for that,” Stick said. “I'm great friends with Zach (Martin, North's quarterback) and Coach Martin. I've known them my whole life. It's very exciting to play them.”
Stick made sure of that matchup with his touchdown with 2:39 left in the game.
Central, which trailed 19-0 late in the third quarter, scored touchdowns on two straight two possessions to pull within 22-14. Jackie Davis scored his second touchdown on a 1-yard run with 4:14 left.
After Davis' touchdown, Prep's main objective was to keep the ball away from the Eagles. Prep converted a third-and-6 on an inside screen pass from Stick to Tre Graves for 11 yards.
Prep then faced a third-and-7 from its 37. Stick dropped back to pass, faced pressure, scrambled to his right and angled toward the sideline. He had enough yards for the first down, but instead of running out of bounds, he cut back in front of a couple of Central defenders and found himself in the open. He was able to weave his way to the end zone for the clinching touchdown.
“That was all Easton Stick,” said Prep coach Chris Nizzi, whose team has won six of its last seven games. “I was just hoping for the first down, but he made a great play. He's a talented young man who kept poise.”
Central did drive to the Prep 19 on its next possession, but Nick Vipond intercepted his second pass of the night with just over a minute to play.
Stick, who threw for 162 yards and two touchdowns when Prep beat Central 31-18 two weeks ago, finished the night with 195 yards passing. He threw touchdown passes to James Scott in the first quarter and Alex Duncan in the third quarter to help Prep build the 19-0 lead.
All 19 of those points came after Central miscues. Prep put Central in a hole right away with a 10-0 lead in the first quarter.
“We've seen that before this year,” said Central coach Jay Ball, whose team ends its season at 6-5. “Obviously in the state quarterfinals it's tough to come back against a good team. But our kids don't know the meaning of quit. They put us within a score, and then (Stick) makes a big play and that's it.”
Davis had a huge night for the Eagles as he ran for 202 yards on 26 carries. He had 143 yards on 13 carries in the second half.
“Tremendous effort by Jack tonight,” Ball said. “Everyone in the state knew we had to run the football, and we were still able to get it done at times. Just too many errors.”
Central played without quarterback Cameron Dorsey, who suffered a concussion during the teams' first game. Dorsey didn't play last week when Central upset No. 3 Kearney. Ball said Dorsey was available, but Friday was the first time he was back in pads.
“It just wasn't worth it,” Ball said.
Prep had good balance offensively as Doug Tsoka finished with 114 yards on 24 carries. He also ran for more than 100 yards against Central in the regular-season meeting.
Creighton Prep (8-3)..............................10 0 9 9—28
At Omaha Central (6-5).............................. 0 0 7 7—14
CP: James Scott 24 pass from Easton Stick (Nick Krone kick)
CP: Krone 26 FG
CP: Krone 32 FG
CP: Alex Duncan 8 pass from Stick (PAT failed)
OC: Jackie Davis 41 run (Visit Hkawng kick)
CP: Krone 23 FG
OC: Davis 1 run (Hkawng kick)
CP: Stick 63 run (PAT failed)
>> RUSHING: CP: Doug Tsoka 24-114, Easton Stick 8-83, Tre Graves 3-20, Zane Zitek 1-13; OC: Jackie Davis 26-202, Tre Sanders 8-36, Devontay LeFlore 4-15, Noah Gauff 5-minus 19.
>> PASSING: CP: Stick 14-25-2 195; OC: Gauff 3-7-1 27, Davis 0-2-1 0, Tra-Deon Hollins 0-1-0 0.
>> RECEIVING: CP: RJ Urzendowski 3-92, Kirk Kudlacz 3-27, Graves 2-24, Kevin Toner 2-15, James Scott 1-24, Alex Duncan 1-8, Nate Johnson 1-8, Tsoka 1-minus 3; OC: Hollins 3-27.
Contact the writer: