Brock Roblee ran in two touchdowns, and Kolten Tilford blocked a punt, scored a touchdown and returned a kickoff for 90 yards, but costly turnovers helped Columbus defeat North Platte 38-28 on Friday in the regular season finale.
Playoff pairings will be released on Saturday, and North Platte needed the win to secure home-field advantage for the first round next week. Instead, it’s fate is unknown, but it will most likely be on the road for the playoffs.
The Bulldogs were without senior linebacker and running back Vince Genatone, who, according to a radio broadcast, was out due to injury.
North Platte fumbled on its opening drive, leading to a Columbus touchdown run. Caleb Tonkinson responded with a one-yard run into the end zone to tie the game, then Tilford’s blocked punt at the end of the first quarter later set up his 14-yard touchdown run in the second to take a 14-7 lead.
Columbus found a receiver in the end zone on a 16-yard pass on fourth down to tie the game, then intercepted Tonkinson’s pass on North Platte’s next drive.
A 52-yard run put Columbus back in the lead at 21-14, but Tilford’s 90-yard kickoff return set up Roblee’s first touchdown run to tie the game at 21-21 before halftime. A Tate Janas interception ended a last-second Columbus drive at the end of the quarter.
North Platte and Columbus traded touchdowns to start the second half, with the Discoverers scoring on a 51-yard run and Roblee punching in a one-yard run to keep the game tied at 28-28.
From there, it was all Columbus. A six-yard touchdown gave the Discoverers the lead for good, then they stopped the Bulldogs on fourth down to get the ball back. A field goal put Columbus up by 10.
North Platte was driving to get back into the game, but Tonkinson threw another interception at the end, allowing Columbus to run out the clock.
The Bulldogs had secured a playoff appearance after defeating both Lincoln East at home and Millard West on the road the last two weeks.
North Platte ends its regular season with a 6-3 record with wins against Fremont, Lincoln North Star, Lincoln Northeast, Lincoln East, Millard West and Class B Aurora. It’s only losses came on the road against Kearney, Creighton Prep and now Columbus.