ARTHUR — Pawnee City scored two touchdowns in the fourth quarter and held Arthur County scoreless as the Indians defeated the Wolves 66-54 on Friday in Arthur to punch their ticket to the Class D6 championship game.
“Our kids played their hearts out,” Arthur County coach Wade Kramer said. “They really did. I couldn’t be more proud of them.”
Lance Vasa accounted for five touchdowns (three rushing and two receiving), four of which came in the first half, but the Wolves couldn’t shut down Pawnee City’s offense.
Andy Maloley led the Indians with five touchdowns (four rushing and one receiving). Tyler Tegtmeier, Jett Farwell and Anthony Kling each scored a touchdown as well.
“We went down, we had two or three guys out there on one leg,” Kramer said. “And credit (Pawnee City), they shut our run game down. We had to go to some different stuff.”
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Both teams started the game trading scores over the first three minutes. Vasa scored twice for Arthur County, and Farwell returned a kickoff for a score and Maloley scored on a long touchdown run to even the score at 14-14.
Pawnee City forced a turnover on downs, then scored on a long Maloley touchdown catch to take a 22-14 lead.
Vasa tied the game on a five-yard run, but the Indians responded with a long Farwell touchdown to take a 28-22 lead going into the second quarter.
Pawnee City scored again on a Kling 15-yard touchdown run to extend the lead to 36-22. Neither team scored on their next two drives.
Vasa finally broke through with a long touchdown catch to cut the deficit to six. Pawnee City scored on a two-yard Maloley run right after, then Arthur County scored on a Justin Wenzel touchdown catch as time expired in the first half.
Pawnee City led 42-36 at halftime.
Arthur County recovered a fumble to start the second half, then Knight Kramer caught a touchdown to give the Wolves a 44-42 lead.
Reese Swanson intercepted Pawnee City on the next drive, but Arthur County turned the ball over on downs. Tegtmeier caught a touchdown as Pawnee City regained a 50-44 lead.
Fumbles by both teams and an Arthur County turnover on downs gave the Indians the ball at their own two-yard line, and Arthur County got a safety to cut the deficit to four.
Vasa scored his final touchdown on a 65-yard catch to give the Wolves a 54-50 advantage going into the fourth quarter, but Pawnee City scored twice, both on Maloley touchdown runs to secure the win.
“That this day sucks,” said Kramer on what the message to the team was after the game. “Right now, it sucks, but in a couple days, I want them to look back and think of it as we had an incredible run here, especially our seniors. They need to keep their heads high.”