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Two former junior match play champions will play for their first men's title Friday

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A decade apart, Johnny Spellerberg and Reed Malleck were state junior match play champions.

Friday at Riverside Golf Club in Grand Island, again in match play, each will be after his first men’s state crown.

“We’re playing for the for the one we don’t have yet,” said Malleck, the Husker golfer whose junior title was in 2020.

“It’s a pretty cool storyline," Spellerberg said. “Back in 2010, that was a long time ago. I put cereal in the trophy then and I think there will be something else that, you know, that would be put in it this time.”

Malleck, who turned 21 on Sunday, and Spellerberg will begin their twice-around trek at Riverside at 7:30 a.m. after each played 35 holes Thursday in winning his quarterfinal and semifinal matches.

“I’ve played with Johnny a good amount of times already this year and I feel like he’s gotten my number every time, so I’m excited for another chance," Malleck said.

Cade McCallum, the last hometown golfer in the bracket, lost 1-up in the quarters to Malleck who followed up with a 3-and-1 win over Omaha’s Matthew Quandt as the winds picked up.

Spellerberg never trailed in his quarterfinal against 2019 champion and former Husker golfer Caleb Badura of Aurora, but needed a short birdie putt on 18 for the 1-up victory after Badura’s eagle putt nearly went in. He then defeated Fordyce’s Matthew Schaefer 3-and-1.

“You can play this course so many ways," Malleck said. “I’ve seen guys bomb drivers over the corners and guys take irons to the corners. So it’s really a decision-making course.”

Quarterfinals: Reed Malleck, York, def. Cade McCallum, Grand Island, 1-up; Matthew Quandt, def. Preston Carbaugh, Cambridge, 3 and 1; Johnny Spellerberg, Bennington, def. Caleb Badura, Aurora, 1-up; Matthew Schaefer, Fordyce, def. Charlie Zielinski, Omaha, 19 holes.

Semifinals: Malleck def. Quandt 3 and 1; Spellerberg def. Schaefer 2 and 1.

Final Friday: Malleck (No. 9) vs. Spellerberg (No. 2), 7:30 and 11:30 a.m.

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Reporter - High school sports

Stu is The World-Herald's lead writer for high school sports and for golf. Follow him on Twitter @stuOWH. Email stu.pospisil@owh.com

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