UTICA – In a hard-fought game, the Lincoln Lutheran Warriors pulled out a 28-21 win over the Centennial Broncos in the waning moments on a chilly night in Utica.
The Broncos struck first thanks to a Lincoln Lutheran special teams miscue, as the Warriors muffed a punt and Centennial took over at the Lincoln Lutheran 19-yard line. The Broncos capitalized on the turnover thanks to a short touchdown plunge from Jarrett Dodson.
The Warriors responded, dialing up a halfback pass on a third-and-eight early in the second quarter. The play went for 22 yards and a touchdown to tie the game, but Centennial immediately answered back.
Methodically marching down the field, the Broncos capped their next possession in the end zone as junior quarterback Maj Nisly broke loose for a five-yard touchdown run with 5:45 remaining in the first half.
Centennial carried its 14-7 into the locker room, but Lincoln Lutheran scored once in the third quarter to even the game at 14-all heading into the final frame.
Both teams scored in the fourth quarter as the game remained tied at 21 in the waning moments of regulation. However, Lincoln Lutheran moved down the field and found the end zone in the closing seconds to hold on for a 28-21 win.
Nisly completed nine of 22 passes for 73 yards with no touchdowns and an interception thrown on a deep ball on the final play of the first half. He also ran for 72 yards and a pair of scores on 23 carries.
Dodson finished as Centennial’s leading rusher, as the sophomore logged 24 rushes for 98 yards and a touchdown.
Senior wideout Jake Bargen led the Broncos’ receiving corps with three receptions for 34 yards, while Dodson also hauled in three passes for 17 yards.
Defensively, senior Carson Fehlhafer recorded a team-high six tackles and also notched a tackle for loss and a sack. Senior Sam Payne and junior Shawn Rathjen also tallied a tackle for loss and a sack as the Broncos finished with three sacks for the game.
Micah Richters recovered the muffed punt for the lone Centennial turnover.
The loss dropped the Broncos to 5-3 on the year, but they still remain 15th in the Class C2 wild card standings and appear in decent position to return to the playoffs after missing out last fall. Centennial closes the regular season at home when Omaha World-Herald Class C2 No. 5 Yutan comes to town Friday. The Chieftans are 7-1 and haven’t lost since the season opener at Archbishop Bergan