LINCOLN — Cozad’s onslaught began 55 seconds into Tuesday’s Class C-1 final and didn’t subside until early in the fourth quarter.
“We ran into a big buzzsaw today,” Ashland-Greenwood coach Ryan Thompson said.
With speedsters Colin Wetovick and Jake Paulsen helping them build a 35-0 lead, the No. 2 Haymakers completed an undefeated season with a 47-21 victory over the Jays before 5,242 at Memorial Stadium.
Paulsen scored on the game’s third play, a 66-yard breakaway that started the senior to 198 yards and two touchdowns in his final high school game. He ran for 2,533 yards on 247 carries this season.
“We got it going and shut them down,” Paulsen said. “After that, we got the job done.”
No. 8 Ashland-Greenwood (11-2), in its first state final, was in position to match Paulsen’s score on its ensuing possession. Tyler Craven got the Jays to the Haymaker 19 on a 33-yard reception from Gunnar Garner.
They got to the 2 before being set back by an encroachment penalty on second-and-goal. Garner couldn’t connect on a pair of fade passes to the end zone, then Wetovick tackled him for a 12-yard loss on fourth down.
“The stand was huge,” first-year Cozad coach Brian Cargill said. “They got down with a big play. The kids knew what happened and understood, then bowed their necks and made a play. We got the offense rolling then, so it was a big momentum play.”
Wetovick capped the game’s longest drive of 17 plays with a 4-yard touchdown run early in the second quarter, then came back on the next series with a 50-yarder. He caught a two-point conversion pass from Nate Bubak on a trick play for a 22-0 lead.
Ben Stille had the only defensive stop of the half for the Jays, intercepting Bubak at the Jays’ 1 with 3:48 left.
A short punt, though, led to Cozad taking a 28-0 halftime lead on a 19-yard pass from Bubak to Paulsen.
Wetovick’s 41-yard interception return at the start of the second half — his third score Tuesday — put the game into running-clock mode with a 35-0 lead.
Alex Boryca made it 41-0 by scoring on a 1-yard run three plays after he blocked a punt, which Tanner Evertson recovered at the Jays’ 4.
Garner’s 51-yard touchdown pass to Tyler Craven with a second left in the third quarter shut off the running clock. It went on again with Boryca’s second 1-yard scoring run, with 9:41 left, but Ashland-Greenwood ended the game with Garner throwing touchdown passes of 18 yards to Craven and 29 to Bryce Chudomelka in the final 1:46.
Garner was 17 of 44, with three interceptions, for 266 yards. Craven had 10 catches for 174 yards.
Cozad held the Jays to 11 yards rushing in the first half and 41 for the game.
“Garner is an exceptional athlete, and we felt we had to take his running away,” Cargill said. “I felt we did a pretty good job most of the time to force him to do something else.”
Cozad (13-0).......................................7 21 13 6—47
Ashland-Greenwood (11-2)................0 0 7 14—21
C: Jake Paulsen 66 run (Tysen Werner kick)
C: Colin Wetovick 4 run (Werner kick)
C: Wetovick 50 run (Wetovick pass from Nate Bubak)
C: Paulsen 19 pass from Bubak (kick failed)
C: Wetovick 41 interception return (Werner kick)
C: Alex Boryca 1 run (kick failed)
A: Tyler Craven 51 pass from Gunnar Garner (Ben Stille kick)
C: Boryca 1 run (pass failed)
A: Craven 18 pass from Garner (Stille kick)
A: Bryce Chudomelka 29 pass from Garner (Stille kick)
RUSHING: C, Paulsen 23-198, Wetovick 6-71, Boryca 4-14, Bubak 3-6, team 2-minus 2, Conor Young 1-minus 2, Brian Messersmith 4-minus 8. A, Garner 10-12, Bo Kitrell 6-13, Trevor Nichelson 3-6.
PASSING: C, Bubak 4-8-1 83. A, Garner 17-44-3 266.
RECEIVING: C, Young 3-64, Paulsen 1-19. A, Craven 10-174, Nichelson 3-41, Stille 2-28, Chudomelka 1-29, Kitrell 1-minus 6.
TACKLES: C, Boryca 5-2-7, Wetovick 4-1-5, Tanner Evertson 1-4-5, Simon Rangel 3-1-4, Young 1-3-4, Dallas Maack 2-1-3, Hugo Escamilla 1-2-3, Blaine Petersen 0-3-3, Jason Finnegan 2-0-2, Bubak 1-1-2, Werner 1-1-2, Chase Dugan 1-1-2, Jacob Stallbaumer 0-2-2, Messersmith 1-0-1, Hank Pflaster 0-1-1, Jordan Henry 0-1-1, Mitch Fischer 0-1-1, Clay Trejo 0-1-1. A, Brett Kitrell 6-4-10, Chudomelka 2-6-8, Bo Kitrell 2-4-6, Zach Kramer 2-3-5, Eric Kelly 1-3-4, Stille 3-0-3, Craven 1-2-3, Ryan Schuster 1-1-2, Garner 1-1-2, Nichelson 1-1-2, Skyler Sherman 1-0-1, Alex DeGarmo 1-0-1, Shaun Washburn 1-0-1, Dawson Grell 1-0-1, Joe Stasny 1-0-1, Cory Washburn 1-0-1, Matt Survil 0-1-1.
FUMBLE RECOVERIES: A, Walker Fisher, Aric Kasuske
INTERCEPTIONS: C, Young 2, Wetovick. A, Stille.
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Video: Class C-1 championship game highlights: