WAVERLY–(KFOR Nov. 10)–Two long touchdown runs from running back Anthony Heithoff proved to be the difference in the second half, as the Omaha Skutt football team defeated Waverly 38-26 on Friday night in the Class B State Playoff semifinals at Viking Stadium.
Skutt (11-1) will now play two-time defending Class B state champion Bennington, who notched their Class B record-tying 38th consecutive win in the other semifinal with a 30-6 win over Elkhorn North. The SkyHawks and Badgers will play for the Class B state championship Nov. 20 at Memorial Stadium in Lincoln.
Heithoff managed to help Skutt when it mattered most. His 64-yard run with 1:02 left in the third quarter put the SkyHawks back in front 24-20. He followed that up in the fourth quarter with 6:13 to play, when he broke free for a 76-yard run for a score that gave Skutt the lead for good and a 31-20 advantage.
Fullback Max Chandler scored the final touchdown of the night for Skutt, on a 9-yard run with 3:15 remaining. The SkyHawks managed to have 450 total yards of offense.
On the game’s opening drive, senior quarterback Bennett Turman ran for a 51-yard touchdown, as Skutt led 7-0.
Waverly (11-1) was hit by early mistakes. A turnover on a fumble on the Vikings’ opening drive turned out to be a big defensive stop with Skutt missing a field goal attempt. On Waverly’s next drive, the Vikings settled for a 29-yard field goal from Mark Novoselov when a false start penalty was called at the Skutt 10-yard line.
In the second quarter, Turman threw a 29-yard touchdown pass to Danny Johnson with 8:47 remaining and the SkyHawks increased their lead to 14-3. On the next possession for the Vikings, quarterback Nolan Maahs ran for a 20-yard touchdown but the point after failed and Waverly trailed 14-9 with under seven minutes left in the half.
Skutt would add a 36-yard field goal with 11 seconds left in the second quarter and took a 17-9 halftime lead.
Waverly, who has lost to Skutt six times in the playoffs (three in the past five seasons in the semifinals), climbed back into the game early in the third quarter following a Nathan Axmann 28-yard touchdown run, followed by a two-point conversion to tie the game at 17. The only lead the Vikings had came with 1:17 left in the third quarter off the 28-yard field goal from Novoselov before Skutt responded with Heitoff’s 64-yard scoring run.
Waverly had their best season record-wise since 1975, when they finished runner-up in Class B to state champion Lincoln Pius X in the first year of the playoff system. The Vikings were turned away again in the semifinals for the fourth time in six seasons. Waverly’s last trip to the Class B championship game was 1980, when they defeated McCook 14-7 at Seacrest Field.
Click the link below to listen to the podcast of Friday night’s game heard on KFOR.