The Bergan football program has lived by the motto “Finish the fight” since losing the Class C-2 state championship game to Ord last fall.
“We’ve lived by that motto since the day after that,” said senior quarterback Koa McIntyre. “We got in the gym and put in that work and it’s really paying off.”
The Knights finished their postseason revenge tour Friday, earning a spot in this year’s state championship game with a 20-0 shutout of the Chanticleers.
“All season, we’ve been focusing on getting better and having our revenge and making it back,” said senior linebacker Jarett Boggs. “It’s just a dream come true.”
The lone points of the opening half came on the first play of the second quarter.
Koa McIntyre threaded the needle between three Chanticleer defenders to junior Kade McIntyre, who made the catch in traffic in the back of the end zone.
The two sides traded turnovers in the back half of the quarter with Bergan ultimately taking it’s 7-0 lead into the intermission.
“With the weather and everything, we were able to generate just enough offense and generate enough of a lead to try and make them do things they weren’t very comfortable with,” said Bergan coach Seth Mruz.
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The Knights milked nine minutes off the clock on their opening drive of the second half with McIntyre netting his second passing touchdown of the night hitting Jarett Boggs on a five-yard after rolling out of the pocket.
“I saw everyone flowing outside and I was like I’ll just sit,” Boggs said. “If there was going to be someone behind, Koa will see that and make the throw.”
The nail in the coffin came with six minute and six seconds left in the game.
Bergan called a timeout facing a third and 10 from the Ord 42 with Mruz sending in instructions for what he termed “a touchdown play”.
The play called for Lucas Pruss to run a deep post. The Knights had yet to hit on a pass longer than Kade McIntyre’s score despite multiple shots down field.
Pruss ran practically uncontested on his route, hauling in the 42-yard strike from McIntyre to give Bergan a three-score cushion.
“Mruz, he just made up the play I’m pretty sure,” McIntyre said.
It wasn’t drawn in the dirt, rather plotted out in his daughter’s notebook before getting sent over to offensive coordinator Josh Boggs, who polished it up prior to its implementation late in the semifinals contest.
Ord returned the ensuing kickoff back to the Knights 32-yard line, but a strip sack by Boggs, recovered by lineman Owen Pruss, who also had an interception in the first half, thwarted the Chanticleer’s best opportunity of the evening.
McIntyre, who also had an interception on Ord’s second-to-last drive, accounted for 207 of Bergan’s 244 yards of total offense, passing for 101 yards and three touchdowns on 8 of 20 passing while also carrying the ball 20 times for 106 yards.
“On a night like tonight, we get three touchdown passes, but whatever works,” Mruz said.
The Bergan’s shutout is the first posted against Ord this fall, who came in averaging north of 40 points per game.
The Knights defense also bottled up both of the Chanticleer’s 1,000-yard rushers with quarterback Dylan Hurlburt going for 32 yards on 14 carries and running back Gage Racek getting 26 yards on 13 carries.
In total, the Bergan defense held Ord to just 150 yards of total offense.
“We are continually improving, just trying to do our job, have everything go smooth and do our best to hold them to under 100 yards and the fewest yards they’ve ever had,” Boggs said.
Bergan (12-0) will face Norfolk Cathlic (11-1) in the Class C-2 state championship at 2:45 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 23 at Memorial Stadium in Lincoln.
It will be the group’s first game at Memorial Field after last year’s state title game was held at Heedum Field due to COVID restrictions.
“We are really excited because we get to go play there actually,” McIntyre said.
Norfolk Catholic beat Wilber-Clatonia 35-12 to earn their spot at the table.
“You start the fight, you keep fighting and then you finish the fight,” Mruz said. “We have one more round and hopefully we will get it done.”