DWIGHT —East Butler wasn’t about to lose twice this season to Howells-Dodge.
The 10th-ranked Tigers, who lost to the top-ranked and previously unbeaten Jaguars 26-20 to open the season, gained some revenge on Monday night in the Class D-1 state football semifinals.
Camden Robley scored three touchdowns to spark the Tigers to a 22-0 lead. They hung on to defeat the Jaguars 22-12.
A week earlier, the Tigers (10-2) defeated No. 2 Creighton. Now they will face South Loup at 10:15 Monday morning in the state final at Memorial Stadium. East Butler will be playing for its first state title since 1989.
“The defense played lights out tonight,” East Butler coach Shawn Biltoft said. “We gave up a couple plays here and there, but I was happy with how our guys ended up finishing the game.”
While the Tigers’ defense frustrated the Jaguars, their passing game clicked. Quarterback Dalton Bohac connected with Robley on scoring passes of 51, 17 and 20 yards.
The first two touchdowns helped the Tigers to a 14-0 halftime lead. Then they extended the lead early in the third quarter. Facing a fourth-and-goal, Bohac connected with Robley in the corner of the end zone.
Bohac was 14 of 22 passing for 202 yards. He also rushed 28 times for 53 yards.
Howells-Dodge coach Mike Speirs said Bohac was able to connect with some talented receiving targets.
“They go to them (Robley and Trevor Havlovic) both equally,” he said. “That’s what kind of makes them tough. We were able to stop their run game, but they hit us with a couple of passes.”
East Butler limited the Jaguars to 139 total yards, including 68 rushing.
Dylan Horejsi of the Jaguars rushed 26 times for 63 yards, including a 4-yard touchdown run in the third quarter. Quarterback Dax VanLengen connected with Jon Yosten on a 17-yard TD with 10:54 left in the game.
The Jaguars had chances to get closer, but the Tigers forced a punt and Robley ended two other series with interceptions.
“Our kids fought back and got us back in the game,” Speirs said. “We had our chances, but field position kind of hurt us.”
VanLengen was 8 of 16 passing for 71 yards. Yosten hauled in three catches for 25 yards while Jordon Brichacek had three receptions for 30 yards.
The loss ends the Jaguars’ season at 11-1 while the Tigers improve to 10-2.
Howells-Dodge 0 0 6 6 — 12
East Butler 0 14 8 0 — 22
EB — Camden Robley 51 pass from Dalton Bohac (pass failed)
EB — Robley 17 pass from Bohac (Robley pass from Bohac)
EB — Robley 20 pass from Bohac (Trevor Havlovic pass from Bohac)
HD — Dylan Horejsi 4 run (run failed)
HD — Jon Yosten 17 pass from Dax VanLengen (pass failed)