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Rodgers leads Roncalli past Warriors

Schuyler hosted Omaha Roncalli for Friday’s homecoming football game and Crimson Pride quarterback Alex Rodgers made sure Warrior fans had little to celebrate.

Rodgers ran for 92 yards and three touchdowns and added 162 yards and two TDs through the air in Roncalli’s 58-0 win.

The Warrior defense held Roncalli (4-2) to consecutive three-and-outs to start the game before the Crimson Pride offense got going.

Roncalli scored its first touchdown on a 2-yard run by Dwayne Brown and followed that score by recovering a fumble at the Schuyler 27-yard line. Rodgers ran in a 14-yard TD three plays later, giving Roncalli 14 points in less than two minutes and starting the rout.

Schuyler head coach Aaron Thumann was pleased with his team’s play for much of the first quarter.

“We came out really solid. We were worried about Rodgers because he is an incredible athlete. We felt like we had a really good plan in place and for the most part we really kind of kept them in check tonight,” he said.

We had solid things going on offense, but it seemed like we would go, go, go, then shoot ourselves in the foot,” Thumann added. “We have to figure out the secret not to go flat after we start out well.”

Schuyler (0-6) was held to 98 total yards in the loss, including 72 yards passing on a 6-for-11 performance from quarterback Kevin Contreras. Tychique Kutalu hauled in two receptions for 46 yards, with 32 coming on Schuyler’s biggest play of the night, and Jesus Maganda and Mason Kovar both had 13 receiving yards.

Roncalli scored three second-quarter touchdowns on a 61-yard scamper by Rodgers, 38-yard pass from Rodgers to Justin Niederle and 44-yard run by Logan McGill to carry a 34-0 lead into halftime.

The Crimson Pride put the 35-point running clock rule into effect with 10:26 to play in the third quarter when Rodgers tacked on a 14-yard score on a quarterback draw.

Crimson Pride kicker Andrew McCoy put the next points on the board with a 34-yard field goal. He finished 1 for 2 on field goal attempts and hit 7 of 8 extra points.

Roncalli added two scores in the fourth quarter on a 21-yard run by T.J. Hamilton and 13-yard quarterback draw by Ethan Ortner.

Caleb Novak led the Warriors with his steady play on defense. He had eight total tackles. Maganda, Kutalu and freshman Curtis Novak all were credited with four tackles.

As the Warriors head into the final third of the season, Thumann is still confident that his team can break out of its funk and pick up a victory.

“We have to learn from this and continue to move forward,” he said. “We can see differences in the past three or four years with our kids. We can see that we are learning and trying to move forward and we have to continue to grow in that way.”

Schuyler plays 7 p.m. Friday at Blair (3-3).

Schuyler boys win title at Raymond Central Invite

RAYMOND — The Schuyler boys cross country team put on its best performance of the season Sept. 28, taking first place among 11 teams to win the Raymond Central Invite for the second straight year.

The Warriors placed three runners in the top four spots and had three others finish in the top 17.

Nesrudin Yusuf led the charge, taking second with a time of 17 minutes, 44.55 seconds. Following close behind in third place was Cristobal Gonzalez with a time of 18:09.98 and Miguel Carrasco completed the 2-3-4 finish in fourth place after crossing in 18:20.23.

Schuyler’s Hugo Ramon continued to improve by finishing 13th in 19:03.68, Kenneth Castro was 16th in 19:10.12 and Abner Perez crossed in 17th with a time of 19:11.78.

Arlington’s Noah Kubat won the boys race in 17:40.59.

Warrior head coach Rick Carter took a different approach to the meet and it paid off.

“The boys ran an awesome race again, especially considering we didn’t rest up for this race. They ran 9-plus miles with six long hill repeats on Tuesday and 6 more miles on Wednesday,” Carter said.

Schuyler won the boys team title with 22 points. Douglas County West was second with 35 points and Arlington took third with 42 points.

Carter said the competition was stronger than during last year’s event, but his runners stepped up to the challenge.

“I was especially thrilled with Hugo’s finish as this was the first time he placed this year. He has been practicing extremely hard this season and he really earned that medal,” he said. “It was nice to see the team run another smart race. I had a coach from another team tell me how impressed he was with the way that the Schuyler boys ran, starting off back quite a ways and just continually moving up toward the front during the entire race.”

Schuyler’s Edith Oliden had another strong performance in the girls race, grabbing fifth place with a time of 22:28.26.

Elizabeth Morrison of Arlington won the event with a time of 21:14.17, followed by Andie Koch of Tri County (21:49.28) and Rylee Haecker of Raymond Central (22:14.31).

Yessica Rodriguez took 11th for Schuyler, finishing in 25:04.57, and Roxana Galdamez was 29th in 27:55.94. Crystal Carrillo came in 35th with a time of 29:23.28.

The Schuyler girls continued their rise in the team standings during the past few weeks by finishing in a third-place tie with Centennial with 62 points. Tri County ran away with the team title with 25 points and Lincoln North Star was second with 45 points.

Schuyler eighth-grader Emmanuel Zuniga won the middle school race by more than 40 seconds with a time of 8:32. He and three other local middle school runners will compete in the junior high state meet Saturday at Papillion-La Vista South High School.

The next competition for the varsity squads is Thursday’s Central Conference meet in Aurora.

Adams Central sweeps Lady Warriors

Central Conference foe Adams Central came to Schuyler on Sept. 28 and swept the Lady Warriors in three sets.

Schuyler was hoping for a homecoming week victory, but fell 25-15, 25-17, 25-18 to drop to 6-7 on the season. Adams Central improved to 7-9 with the win.

The Lady Warriors followed the same pattern in all three sets. They started strong, struggled in the middle of sets, then made an effort to finish strong.

The teams were tied at 4-4 in the first set before the Patriots went on a 6-0 run behind the serving of Tara Knehans to open up a lead they would not relinquish. Strong blocks by Kameryn Healy and Kinzie Petersen pulled the Lady Warriors to within 13-10, but a couple more runs put the Patriots comfortably ahead at 19-12.

Schuyler stumbled out of the blocks in Set 2, falling behind 6-1 early, before regrouping to climb within 7-4. Again, the Lady Warriors struggled in the middle of the set and Adams Central raced to a 16-5 lead behind the superb net play of Hannah Lonowski and Caitlyn Scott.

Despite trailing 24-13 late in the set, Schuyler kept pecking away at the lead and closed the gap to 24-17 before a serve into the net ended the set.

The teams played on even terms early in Set 3. When Schuyler’s Rachel Shonka smashed home a kill between the Patriot defenders the Lady Warriors trailed only 7-6.

However, the Patriots’ steady play and Schuyler mistakes allowed Adams Central to pull away for a 15-9 lead in the middle of the set. The Lady Warriors continued to play hard, holding the deficit to six points at 21-15, then three more kills by Lonowski put the match away.

The Lady Warriors had 15 kills in the match, led by four each from Shonka and Petersen, who added a pair of aces.

Petersen also led the Schuyler defense by recording five of the team’s nine blocks. Shonka had two blocks.

Maria Semerad paced the Lady Warriors with 21 digs, and Healy finished with 15 assists.

Schuyler hosts Seward on Thursday.

Will Huskers be Badgered again?

The Nebraska Cornhuskers have apparently righted their ship, at least to some degree, with a lackluster 27-17 home victory over Rutgers and a much more spirited performance against Illinois in Friday’s 28-6 victory to improve to 3-2.

Now comes the game many thought would feature two 5-0 and top-25 teams before the season began in Nebraska and Wisconsin. This was supposed to be the marquee matchup, quite possibly for the Big 10 West crown. Nebraska is currently 2-0 in the conference while Wisconsin won its first conference tilt Saturday, beating Northwestern 33-24.

Has this game lost its luster after Nebraska’s losses to Oregon and Northern Illinois?

The Badgers are 4-0 with victories over Utah State (59-10), Florida Atlantic (31-14), BYU (40-6) and Northwestern. They are currently ranked No. 9 and the favorite to win the Big 10 West.

Nebraska could put an end to all of that premature talk and actually thrust itself into the favorite role with a home victory over the Badgers on Saturday.

History does not favor the Cornhuskers in this matchup. Nebraska has lost the last four encounters with the Badgers and five of the last six. The only Nebraska triumph in that stretch occurred in 2012 when the Huskers clawed out a 30-27 victory in Lincoln.

A night game in early October in Lincoln gives Nebraska a bit more incentive than it normally would have. The crowd will be on fire (at least in the early stages of the game) and could make a difference late in the game with a victory on the line. The big questions are which Nebraska team, which Blackshirt defense and which Tanner Lee will show up to do battle against the Badgers?

Here is the formula for disaster that has crippled Nebraska in prime-time games against quality foes in must-win spotlight games in the past. Turnovers, poor tackling, silly penalties and a Swiss cheese offensive line have spelled doom for the Huskers. We have seen it time and time again over the past dozen years. In 2016 alone we can look at Ohio State, Iowa and Tennessee blowout losses as examples.

Nebraska’s defense is improving with every game and has drawn national attention since halftime of the Oregon game. Last week the Blackshirts held Illinois to under 200 total yards. If they settle down and figure out a way to stop Wisconsin’s powerful running game they could help lead NU to an upset victory. The real key is will they be able to avoid the missed tackles that have plagued then against good teams in the recent past.

Nebraska still has a penchant for coming up with offensive holding calls, encroachment penalties on defense and uncalled-for personal foul penalties. The Huskers can’t allow these to happen this Saturday. Penalties must be at a minimum for the Huskers to have a legitimate chance of winning the game.

The true chance for pulling off the upset will be in the hands of the offense. Nebraska must secure the football. Lee must make good decisions and not throw an interception. Then there is the offensive line, which did a good job against Illinois, but Wisconsin is a much better team than Illinois. The O-line will be tested early and often, but the unit is healing up and looked like it was beginning to gel last week.

In November 2014, I predicted a Nebraska win and the Huskers got mauled 59-24. It was brought to my attention that I made a horrible choice in picking the Huskers to win. Nebraska was 8-1 going into that game and ranked No. 17 in the country. This team is 3-2 and just seeking some national recognition. A win over the Badgers this weekend would certainly do a great deal for bringing some of that recognition back to Lincoln.

The realist in me sees Wisconsin winning 28-17. The true Husker in me sees Nebraska pulling off the 28-27 upset. Let’s hope the realist loses this Saturday.