Friday, 10 July 2020
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Nemaha Central Dominates Riley County to Punch Ticket to Class 2A State
By Jonny Kane
Copyright: MSC Sports

Since week eight of the high school football season the Nemaha Central Thunder has relied on big plays by their defense to make it all the way to the sub-state round of the Class 2A playoffs.

Saturday afternoon the trend continued as the Thunder forced three interceptions in the first half and four total in a 39-14 beat down of Riley County to reach the school’s first state championship game since Nemaha Valley consolidated with Baileyville in 2014.

The Thunder started slow as they went scoreless on their first three possessions including one fumble and a turnover on downs.

After the turnover on downs the Thunder racked up three straight interceptions and scored on three consecutive possessions on two rushing touchdowns from Dylan Schultejans and one from Gavin Duryea to lead 21-0 at halftime.

With those three interceptions in the first half the Thunder held Riley County to just 66 total yards of offense and only three yards per play.

The Thunder put the game away quickly out of halftime as the defense forced a three-and-out and Nemaha Central blocked the ensuing punt setting up a short field for Duryea to score his second touchdown on the night pushing the lead to 27-0.

On Riley County’s next possession Nemaha Central’s Bryce Uphaus racked up the Thunder’s fourth interception of the game and returned it to the Falcon 5-yard line before Duryea picked up his third rushing score for a 33-0 lead.

He would pick up his fourth rushing touchdown after another punt from Riley County which was the final score allowing the Thunder to rest the starters a majority of the fourth quarter which resulted in two late touchdowns for the Falcons.

Nemaha Central held Riley County to just 182 yards of total offense and forced four interceptions which is the third time in the last four weeks the Thunder defense forced four turnovers.

Gavin Duryea racked up four rushing touchdowns for the second consecutive week and 86 yards on the ground, while Dylan Schultejans threw for 94 yards.

The Thunder (10-2) will now make their first appearance at state in school history as they will take on Norton (9-3) Saturday in Salina with kickoff scheduled for 1 p.m. with live coverage on 92.1 KMZA.

©2020 MSC Sports
Hiawatha, KS 66434
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