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Bennington clinches back-to-back titles with rout of Omaha Gross in Class B final

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LINCOLN — The touchdown Bennington squeezed in before halftime was too much for Omaha Gross to overcome.

The Badgers repeated as Class B champion with Tuesday night’s 38-14 win – their 26th in a row — before 5,068 at Memorial Stadium.

Trey Bird threw a 75-yard strike to Isaac Conner on Bennington’s third play of the game. The duo hooked up again for a 26-yard touchdown midway through the second quarter that broke a 7-7 tie.

Gross lost 13 yards on its next possession largely from a holding penalty behind the line of scrimmage, then had a net punt of 23 yards to put Bennington at the Cougars’ 34 with 2:40 to use.

The No. 1 Badgers (13-0) spent all but 3 seconds.

A face-mask penalty on No. 2 Gross (12-1) and two short pass plays gave Bennington a first-and-goal at the nine. Three plays moved the ball to the 1 and Nick Colvert, after a timeout with 7 seconds left, surged across the goal line for a 21-7 halftime lead.

"It gave us a lot of confidence," Bird said. "Especially on fourth down, it was a big momentum swing going into the half."

Gross couldn’t capitalize on Jackson Drake’s interception that stopped Bennington’s first possession of the second half.

Layne Boever and Weston Beck intercepted Duncan to end two of the Cougars’ subsequent three possessions while Bennington was getting a second touchdown from Colvert and a 31-yard field goal from Vaughn Anderson.

Bennington coach Kam Lenhart said the Badgers defense, which held Gross to 143 yards through three quarters, came through again.

"We’ve done that all year," he said. "We’ve asked and relied on them to do that all year. And they just continue to amaze me."

Bird was 13 of 20 for 202 yards. Conner had four grabs for 110 yards.

Gross was in the finals for the first time since winning Class B in 2012. It scored in the first quarter on Colby Duncan’s 41-yard pass to Owen Brennan and with 22 seconds left on Duncan’s 14-yarder to Jake Garcia.

The running back’s 91 yards finished his senior season with 1,941 yards in his third consecutive 1,000-yard year.

Omaha Gross (12-1)...  7   0     0   7  --  14

Bennington (13-0).....   7   14   7  10  -- 38

B: Isaac Conner 75 pass from Trey Bird (Vaughn Anderson kick)

OG: Owen Brennan 41 pass from Colby Duncan (Alex Kosse kick)

B: Conner 26 pass from Bird (Anderson kick)

B: Nick Colvert 1 run (Anderson kick)

B: Colvert 5 run (Anderson kick)

B: FG Anderson 31

B: Ben Parsons 1 run (Anderson kick)

OG: Jake Garcia 14 pass from Duncan (Kosse kick)

A: 5,068

Individual statistics

Rushing: OG, Garcia 19-91, Brennan 3-14, Tommy Gilbert 2-6, Duncan 7-minus 15. B, Colvert 31-125, Burd 8-44, Parsons 2-5, team 1-minus 4.

Passing: OG, Duncan 14-29-2 175. B, Bird 13-20-1 202.

Receiving: OG, Westin Miller 6-52, Jackson Drake 3-40, Brennan 2-61, Garcia 2-14, Ben Rice 1-8. B, Conner 4-110, Kawiyou Taffa 3-45, Colvert 3-26, Jonathan Williams 3-21.

Tackles (UA-A-T): OG, Hank Nosbisch 5-6-11, Ethan Le 1-8-9, Joe Rempe 3-5-8, Gilbert 5-3-8, Charlie Paladino 3-2-5, Drake 2-3-5, Brennan 4-1-5, Sal Nacarelli 3-1-4, Sebastian Nava 2-1-3, Rice 2-1-3, Alex Cogswell 0-1-1, Garcia 1-0-1, John Streit 1-0-1, Gabe Hardisty 0-1-1, Ryan Weiss 1-0-1, Daniel Wilson 1-0-1, Casey Braun 0-1-1. B, Cooper Mlnaril 6-3-9, Ben Gilliland 3-4-7, Weston Heinemann 5-2-7, Kyler Lauridsen 3-2-5, Grant Vanarsdel 4-1-5, Gunnar Lym 3-1-4, Layne Boever 1-3-4, Westin Beck 2-1-3, Owen Douglas 1-2-3, Kale Kaufmann 1-2-3, Ethan Nguyen 1-2-3, Beau Pick 2-0-2, Jose Jimenez 0-1-1, Clete Searcey 1-0-1, Jalan Aerni 0-1-1, Seth Kaufmann 0-1-1.

Interceptions – OG, Drake 1-0. B, Boever 1-25, Beck 1-0. ​

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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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