BRUNING, Neb. — Exeter-Milligan coach Dean Filipi played a hunch.
It paid off.
With 2:26 left to play on Monday, Exeter-Milligan quarterback James Sluka lofted a perfect spiral down the right sideline and sophomore Kyle Jensen hauled in the pass for a 56-yard touchdown to send the Timberwolves to the Eight Man-1 championship game with a 24-20 win over Bruning-Davenport-Shickley.
Filipi put the speedy Jensen to the outside, hoping he could get free. He most definitely did.
“We’ve had Kyle to the inside and I moved him to the outside thinking he might be able to get open, and Jimmy threw a beautiful pass that all Kyle had to do was run under,” Filipi said. “The line did a great job and gave him time to throw and that was all we needed.”
Exeter-Milligan will play Elgin/Pope John in next Monday’s final at 2:45 p.m. at Memorial Stadium. Elgin/Pope John advanced with a 42-6 win over Arapahoe on Monday afternoon.
After Jensen’s touchdown on Monday, BDS still had all three of its timeouts and drove inside the Exeter-Milligan 25-yard line.
On third-and-3 with time running down, BDS quarterback Ryan Tegtmeier had his receiver open on a short out, but an Exeter-Milligan lineman was able to bat the ball down to set up a crucial fourth-down play.
The Exeter-Milligan defense then forced Tegtmeier out of the pocket and, as he was rolling to his right, he threw the ball toward the end zone. Jensen knocked the ball to the ground and the Timberwolves’ sideline and their fans knew they had a date to play for the Eight Man-1 title.
“We had some problems keeping their defense out of our backfield, but when we needed it, we got it,” Filipi said. “For us all season long, the fourth quarter has been a good quarter for us, and on that last drive, the defense did their job, and on that final play, it was the pressure on the quarterback that forced the incomplete pass.
“The defense came up big after a rough start to the second half.”
Exeter-Milligan (12-0) ................. 8 0 0 16—24
BDS (10-2) ................. 0 6 14 0—20