Logan Gier's long touchdown runs not only put Omaha Burke in front, they ensured that the Bulldogs stayed there.
Gier scored on runs of 66 and 37 yards and capped his night with a 90-yard kickoff return in the fourth quarter Friday to give the host Bulldogs a 35-21 victory over Omaha Central.
Burke held a two-touchdown cushion most of the evening before Central quarterback Cameron Dorsey hit Malik Sams with a 6-yard touchdown pass on fourth down with 6:54 remaining.
The momentum now was Central's after it trailed 28-7 late in the third quarter.
But that's when Gier fielded the ensuing kickoff at his 10, sprinted through a hole up the middle of the field and went untouched for a touchdown that kept Central at bay.
“We needed that. He found a seam and went,” Burke coach Paul Limongi said. “He's a fast kid. He's a big-play guy.”
It was the first kickoff return for a touchdown for the 5-foot-9, 180-pound senior.
“Coach told me to be special, so I showed him I could be special,” Gier said.
Gier was special in the game's opening minutes, too. On the fourth play from scrimmage, Gier went around the right side of the line, found an opening and sprinted 66 yards for a touchdown.
Burke quarterback Alex Curbeam also scored on a 6-yard keeper with 6:16 left in the first quarter after Central lost a fumble on a punt return, one of its five turnovers.
“We knew we had to come out and make a little bit of a statement, play hard and be back to where we need to be,” Limongi said. “We wanted to start the game off fast.”
Curbeam, who was 11 of 14 for 129 yards, hit a diving Austan Daniels in the end zone midway through the second quarter to increase the lead to 21-0. At that point, Burke had 211 yards compared to Central's 41.
The Eagles answered with a 10-play, 80-yard drive to pull within 21-7 at halftime, and they stayed close the rest of the way.
“We knew they would keep fighting and playing hard,” Limongi said of Central. “We just wanted to make sure we kept playing hard.”
Dorsey had a strong second half. He scrambled for a 74-yard touchdown run after being chased out of the pocket, and he also had the scoring pass to Sams. Dorsey finished the night with 128 rushing yards and 137 passing yards.
And as a team, Central was better offensively than it was in its 24-7 season-opening loss to Omaha Westside. Central had five first downs in its opener, but Friday it tallied 377 yards and 16 first downs.
Burke finished with 326 yards. The Bulldogs bounced back from a 25-7 loss last week to Creighton Prep.
“We play harder,” Limongi said. “The first week we had some butterflies going in and we made a lot of mistakes. We tried to build off correcting those mistakes, but we have a long way to go.”
Omaha Central (0-2) .................... 0 7 7 7—21
Omaha Burke (1-1) ...................... 14 7 7 7—35
OB: Logan Gier 66 run (Hayden Guy kick)
OB: Alex Curbeam 6 run (Guy kick)
OB: Austan Daniels 21 pass from Curbeam (Guy kick)
OC: Cameron Dorsey 1 run (Michael Galeski kick)
OB: Gier 37 run (Guy kick)
OC: Dorsey 74 run (Galeski kick)
OC: Malik Sams 6 pass from Dorsey (Galeski kick)
OB: Gier 90 kickoff return (Guy kick)
RUSHING—OC: Dorsey 12-128, Tre Sanders 18-70, Sams 5-32, Kahlil Muhammad 2-7, Aaron Wright 4-4, Kolbie Foster 1-2, Shannon Jackson 1-(minus 3); OB: Gier 17-164, Curbeam 7-23, Rodney Williams 9-10.
PASSING—OC: Dorsey 10-25-3 137; OB: Curbeam 11-14-0 129, Williams 0-1-0 0.
RECEIVING—OC: Malik Harris 3-31, Demetrice Marable 2-44, LaTrell Jameson 2-34, Sanders 2-22, Sams 1-6; OB: Trey Carr 5-77, Daniels 2-21, Gier 1-12, Noah Fant 1-9, Lim Puoch 1-6, Jacob Coughlin 1-4.