MILLIGAN, Neb. — Exeter-Milligan scored three touchdowns in the first 5:05 in Tuesday night’s game and didn’t give up a first down to High Plains until building a 44-0 lead.
It was an unexpected 58-24 runaway victory for the Timberwolves, who advance to next Monday’s Eight Man-1 semifinals and a game at Bruning-Davenport/Shickley.
The No. 7 Wolves (11-0) led 24-0 with 6:55 left in the opening quarter as James Sluka scored on a 2-yard run and threw a 16-yard touchdown pass to Derek Luzum after teammate Kyle Jensen blocked the Storm’s first punt. The third score was Jensen’s 15-yard interception return.
“It was miscue after miscue,” High Plains coach Greg Wood said. “It was one of those things you know you can’t do. We didn’t execute and we got into situations where we were trying to do too much.”
Sluka has been the Wolves’ quarterback in the playoffs, shifting from running back after starter Nolan White broke a hand. He completed 6 of 12 passes for 118 yards and two touchdowns, one a two-handed chest pass to Robbie Androyna for a 27-yarder to boost the lead to 44-0, and ran for 112 yards.
“He’s getting more confident with that spot,” E-M coach Dean Filipi said. “The team knew we had to make changes and roles were going to change.”
The Wolves held No. 6 High Plains (9-2) to 45 yards in the first half. The Storm got their initial first down on their first scoring drive, which ended with Tanner Fate throwing to Cole Klingsporn for a 15-yard touchdown with 2:06 left in the second quarter.
Fate, who was a 1,000-yard rusher and passer this season, picked up only 74 yards rushing and 87 yards passing.
“Early on the guys were disciplined in what they had to do to keep him contained,” Filipi said.
High Plains (9-2) ................. 0 6 0 18—24
At Exeter-Milligan (11-0) ................. 24 20 8 6—58
EM: James Sluka 2 run (Sluka run)
EM: Derek Luzum 16 pass from Sluka (Sluka run)
EM: Kyle Jensen 15 interception return (Sluka run)
EM: Luzum 25 pass from Sluka (run failed)
EM: Robbie Androyna 36 pass from Sluka (Androyna from Sluka)
EM: Androyna 27 pass from Sluka (pass failed)
HP: Cole Klingsporn 15 pass from Tanner Fate (pass failed)
EM: Sluka 28 run (Androyna pass from Sluka)
HP: Fate 23 run (pass failed)
HP: Trey Engel 4 run (pass failed)
EM: Jensen 14 run (kick failed)
HP: Jabe Wurtz 36 pass from Logan Engel (no attempt)
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