LINCOLN — Ian Lundquist and several of his Oakland-Craig teammates were eighth-grade student managers when the Knights finished as the Class C-2 state football runners-up in 2015.
That group, now seniors, wanted to take it a step further in 2019.
“That was a special year,” said Lundquist, who rushed 20 times for 77 yards and a touchdown Tuesday as the Knights defeated Sutton 19-0 in the C-2 championship game at Memorial Stadium. “We just wanted to come back as seniors this year and win it.”
The Knights did just that with a defense that limited Sutton’s explosive ground attack to just 154 yards on 45 carries.
“This is great. I’m just so happy for this group of kids,” Oakland-Craig coach Joe Anderson said. “They are a great bunch of football players, obviously, but more importantly they are a great bunch of young men that have done everything we’ve asked of them. They’ve done the right things on and off the field.”
Sutton dominated the time of possession — 16:12 to 7:48 — in the first half, but the the Knights led 6-0 at the break.
Faced with a third-and-seven at the O-C 45, Colten Thomsen went 42 yards on a quarterback draw. After Caden Nelson carried twice to the 1, Thomsen scored on a 1-yard sneak with 4:53 remaining in the second quarter to make it 6-0.
“That (the draw) kind of got the momentum going for us,” Thomsen said. “The line really did a great job for us. ... They came out on fire in the second half.”
Lundquist had four carries on a five-play, 61-yard march that ended with Jaron Meyer breaking free for a 23-yard touchdown run with 9:59 left in the third quarter. The try for two was intercepted, but the Knights led 12-0.
“We got beat by a better team,” Sutton coach Steve Ramer said. “Our kids gave a great effort and hung in there as long as they could, but we just couldn’t get anything going on offense.”
A Wyatt Seagren punt pinned the Mustangs at the Sutton 1 early in the fourth quarter. Following a Mustangs’ punt, O-C took over at the Sutton 41.
Faced with fourth-and-11, Lundquist broke loose for a 14-yard touchdown run to finish the scoring.
“It was fun to get one here,” said Anderson, who was a defensive end on the Knights’ 1995 state championship squad that was coached by Clark Benne. “We have such a great following. ... It is just really a lot of fun to bring this one home.”
Meyer led O-C’s attack with 93 yards on 13 carries (an average of 7.2 yards per carry). Thomsen ran five times for 52 yards and Nelson had eight carries for 42 yards and caught the lone reception of the game for 3 yards.
Cade Wiseman led the Mustangs with 84 yards on 25 carries and Jackson Perrian had 51 yards on 15 attempts.
Nelson had 10 tackles, including four solo stops to lead O-C’s defense. Michael Brands had nine tackles while Blake Johnson added eight.
Oakland-Craig 6 0 6 7 — 19
Sutton 0 0 0 0 — 0
O-C — Colton Thomsen 1 run (run railed)
O-C — Jaron Meyer 23 run (pass failed)
O-C — Ian Lundquist 14 run (Meyer kick)