HOWELLS — In the final 1 minute and 36 seconds, it looked like Howells-Dodge had outlasted East Butler in a matchup of preseason top-rated Eight-Man 1 teams.

Class D No. 3 Howells-Dodge turned away from its trademark man-to-man defense, and it turned into the Jaguars taking control in the second quarter for a 57-45 victory over No. 7-rated Lyons-Decatur Northeast here Friday.

Though Howells-Dodge fell short in its opening round of the Class D-1 state tournament at Lincoln Southeast — it wasn’t because coach Neil VanLengen’s team was just happy to be here nor was it for a lack of trying.

Howells-Dodge swept Cedar Bluffs 3-0 and won the D1-2 District title to punch its ticket for a third trip to the State Volleyball Tournament in four years Thursday in North Bend.

High Plains senior Josh DeMers looked like he belonged to Howells-Dodge, running in the manner Mike Speirs’ best backs bowled through defenses. But it was the Jaguars that the 210-pound senior gouged for 316 yards rushing (on only 16 carries), 77 yards receiving, seven touchdowns and 46 points in an 84-40 win in the first round of the Eight Man-1 playoffs at Ed Booth Field.

You could almost sense what kind of first half the Howells-Dodge Jaguars and the High Plains Storm were going to play after just the first few offensive snaps of the D1 state football playoff game Thursday night in Clarks.

At the beginning of the football season, High Plains coach Greg Wood thought he had a heck of a receiving duo for quarterback Thomas Young in Kyler VanHousen and Josh Demers.

Howells-Dodge turned to defense to create momentum early and turned the same way to steal it late in a 30-8 win over Bloomfield here Saturday.

After tough defense, penalties and miscues stymied Howells-Dodge and West Point Guardian Angels Central Catholic in the first half, GACC capitalized on Jaguar turnovers and its momentum to defeat H-D 26-14 Wednesday in second-round D-1 football playoff action in Howells.

Once Howells-Dodge senior running back Jesse Faltys found a hole in the Cedar Bluffs defense Thursday, he turned on the jets as the Jaguars raced past the Wildcats 60-14 in first-round Class D-1 playoff action in Howells.

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