ELGIN, Neb. — Elgin/Pope John has brought its “A” game in each round of the state playoffs, and the Wolfpack have yet to be tested.
The defending Eight Man-1 state champions had another easy assignment as they whipped Arapahoe 42-6 in the semifinal round Monday.
Elgin/Pope John (12-0) will take on Exeter-Milligan next Monday at 2:45 p.m. in Lincoln.
The Wolfpack defeated their first three playoff opponents by scores of 56-0, 42-6 and 60-13.
“That’s good, I guess,” Elgin/Pope John coach Charlie Wells said. “But I expect the finals to be a tough game.”
Elgin/Pope John and Arapahoe looked as if they might be engaged in a defensive battle early on.
But the Wolpack soon got their ground attack going, scoring on a 1-yard touchdown run by Blake Anderson on their second possession of the game. Elgin/Pope John took over on the Warrior 38-yard line after punter Wyatt Anderson gained two yards on a fake punt play. The touchdown was set up by a 9-yard pass from quarterback Ross Schindler to Andrew Heithoff.
Anderson finished with 95 yards on 24 carries.
“We just wanted to keep driving it at them,” Anderson said. “Our offensive line does a wonderful job. They block hard, and we do a lot of training for it.”
After stopping the Warriors (11-1) on downs, the Wolfpack generated a 37-yard drive that was capped by Schindler’s 3-yard run that put them up 12-0 with 4:27 left before halftime.
The Wolfpack, who outrushed the Warriors 270-72, added another score on a 16-yard touchdown pass from Schindler to Heithoff with 17 seconds left in the half.
“After we got that last touchdown just before half, I felt comfortable,” Wells said. “I felt if we could just play good defense and make them drive the field and don’t give them any big plays ... I thought if we could get the ball back and drive and grind the clock — that we’d be all right.”
Arapahoe finally scored on a 59-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Caden Weverka to tight end Isaac Watson in the fourth quarter. But by that time, the Wolfpack had put the game out of reach.
“They run the option very well, and we knew that coming in,” Arapahoe coach Dustin Sealey said. “We played them well early on, then they kind of wore on us up front. Our defensive ends weren’t getting to their ends as well as they should’ve. They were getting to our linebackers. They run the option better than anybody.”
Arapahoe ................. 0 0 0 6—6
At Elgin/Pope John ................. 6 14 6 16—42
E/PJ: Blake Anderson 1 run (run failed)
E/PJ: Ross Schindler 3 run (run failed)
E/PJ: Andrew Heithoff 16 pass from Schindler (Anderson run)
E/PJ: Schindler 35 run (pass failed)
E/PJ: Austin Heying 5 run (Anderson run)
E/PJ: Andrew Heithoff 19 interception return (Heithoff pass from Schindler)
A: Isaac Watson 59 pass from Caden Weverka (run failed)
RUSHING: A, Gage Schutz 12-32, Caden Weverka 14-31, Brennnan Koller 1-8. E/PJ, Schindler 14-110, Anderson 24-95, Heying 8-44.
PASSING: A, Weverka 6-10-1 130, Parick Gardner 1-1-0 40. E/PJ, Schindler 2-4-0 25.
RECEIVING: A, Watson 1-59, Schutz 3-55, Wyatt Anderson 2-47. E/PJ, Heithoff 2-25.