There was no rush to find each other Tuesday night.
This celebration was going to last a while.
But when Omaha Gross coach Tim Johnk and his son — Cougar starting quarterback Zach Johnk — finally did get a moment after their team's 14-7 win in the Class B state title game, the bear hug was well worth the wait.
“I couldn't be prouder,” Tim said through a few tears as his son walked away. “That's as special as it gets as a dad.”
Tim knows the feeling well. He was a 2,000-yard rusher on a Schuyler team that won a state title in 1986. He's shared the memories a time or two with Zach.
“He loved it, and he said he wanted our group to experience that,” the younger Johnk said. “I've always looked up to him. He won state when he was a senior and I've always just kind of set that goal, especially if he was still coaching, to win it for him. That would be pretty cool, I thought.”
Thanks to a stingy defense and a big third-quarter drive, the Cougars did exactly that.
Gross, which held its last three playoff opponents to a combined 20 points, was staring at a 7-6 deficit when it took over at its own 17-yard line just over four minutes into the second half.
Zach Johnk was 3 for 4 and Anthony Vigneri carried nine times on a 16-play drive that covered 83 yards, took seven minutes and culminated with a Vigneri touchdown and 2-point conversion that would stand as the game-winner.
The Cougar defense would come up with a pair of stops — including one in its own territory — to seal things.
“This is why you do it,” Tim said. “You get up every morning — early mornings, summer time, weight lifting, all the time you put into it — this is the pinnacle and this is why you do that. This is the reward.”
But even after things were decided, father and son didn't find each other until the handshake line and a couple of interviews were finished.
They saw each other from about 10 yards away and slammed into each other for a full embrace.
“Words can't explain how unbelievable that is for a dad,” Tim Johnk said. “It's pretty cool. This is something we'll talk about until I'm dead and gone.”
After going from an assistant job at Gross to the head gig at Logan View, Tim returned for an opportunity to coach his son, something he had never done in his 21 years on the sideline.
“I wanted him to be coached by someone else,” he said. “There's so many dads that do that, but I knew I was going to get my opportunity when he was in high school. I just sat in the stands and I was a dad. I loved it. I sat there with my popcorn. I eat, watch him and go home.”
He had a pretty good view of Tuesday's win, too.
“I'm proud to be his dad,” Tim Johnk said.
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