YORK, Neb. — York's offense needed a big play. It got one.
Elkhorn's defense had to come up with a big play on York's final drive. It got one.
Result — Elkhorn 10, York 7. Season over for the Dukes, but never forgotten.
On fourth-and-1 inside the Elkhorn 40 with less than a minute to play, the Antler defense stopped York's Eric Buller short and the Dukes' season came to an end on a loss to the No. 6 team in Class B in state quarterfinal action Friday night at East Hill Park.
The crowd was standing room-only, with all the extra bleachers and seats filled and the sidelines and end zones packed with people from both schools. They watched York and Elkhorn play a defensive Class B battle for the right to advance to the state semifinals.
With 3:25 to play in the third quarter, the Dukes got a huge play from the offense as junior quarterback Linden Kaliff found senior wide receiver Colton Zumpfe on a 76-yard touchdown pass that doubled the York offensive output for the night and cut the Elkhorn lead to 10-7. Colten Sikes' PAT pulled the Dukes within three.
The touchdown was the senior's first as a Duke.
York stopped an Elkhorn drive on the Antlers' first possession as York junior Ty Danielson intercepted a Ben Hass pass just inside the 5-yard line and returned the ball to the York 7.
The York offense was anemic in the first half as the Antler defense held the Dukes to 69 yards of total offense, while Elkhorn rolled up 186 yards total, including 169 on the ground.
Elkhorn's only two scores came in the second quarter. The Antlers drove 48 yards in eight plays with quarterback Hass scoring on a keeper from 3 yards out. Following the PAT by Colin Stiles, Elkhorn led 7-0 with 11:16 to play in the quarter.
York's deepest penetration in the first half was to the Elkhorn 40.
With 4:57 left in the half, Stiles hit a 32-yard field goal following a five-play, 59-yard drive, and the score at the break was 10-0.
In the second half, the Dukes' defense started to win the battle at the line of scrimmage, and Elkhorn's offense began to struggle to move the ball.
In the fourth quarter the Antlers hurt themselves with penalties. They drove inside the York 25-yard line two times, but holding penalties thwarted both scoring opportunities.
York took the ball with less than two minutes to play with no timeouts and moved down to the Antler 38-yard line before the Dukes' final offensive play of the year did not produce the necessary yardage to keep the drive alive.
After the game, York head coach Glen Snodgrass said over and over that he could not have expected more from the Dukes.
“We knew they were physical, and they were not going to do anything fancy,” Snodgrass said. “I was a little bit nervous after their first drive, but the defense stepped up and evened out things on the line of scrimmage. We made a few uncharacteristic mistakes tonight, but overall we played pretty well. I thought we ran the ball well. We just couldn't maintain the success in the running game.”
York (6-5)...........................0 0 7 0— 7
Elkhorn (8-3)......................0 10 0 0—10