Spalding/Academy Last Area Team Eliminated From NSAA Playoffs

Bernt bursts for yardageA feisty Spalding/Spalding Academy squad hung with Class D2 #1 West seed Hayes Center for a half Wednesday before the visiting Cardinals’ size and muscle wore down the Knights and fashioned a 42-8 victory in the second round of the 2009 Nebraska State High School 8-Man Football Playoffs.
Hayes Center (9-1) used third-quarter touchdown runs by its stout RB tandem of Keifer Messersmith (190) and Tyler Clifford (195) to boost a 15-0 halftime lead to 28-2 and secured the decision with two more TDs by the pair in the final stanza.
“I thought we did a great job increasing our level of play against a very physical Spalding/Spalding Academy team,” commented Hayes Center Coach Scott Jorgensen. “We did a great job neutralizing their running game, which put us in good position to do some things on offense.”
Hayes Center did indeed win the battle in the trenches as the game progressed. The Cardinals held host S/SA to 101 yards rushing while grinding out 258 yards on the ground behind their twin battering rams.
It wasn’t easy, however. Every yard in the first half was given grudgingly.
Spalding/Spalding Academy had a golden opportunity in the waning minutes of the opening half when senior Justin Criss intercepted a Hayes Center pass attempt and gave the Knights field position deep in Cardinal territory.
Criss had his own aerial intercepted on the following play, however, and the Cardinals took their 15-0 advantage into intermission.
Momentum began to shift squarely to Hayes Center in the second half, beginning with Messersmith’s 40-yard TD bolt early in the third period. Hayes Center added 39 passing yards to its ground total for 297 total yards in the contest. Spalding/Academy gained 255 yards, including 154 through the air.
Steven Schmeits led the Knights offensively with 84 yards on 16 carries. Criss completed 5-of-9 pass attempts for 59 yards and Kasperbauer had three receptions for 113 yards.
Defensively, Valasek wreaked havoc with nine solo tackles and 11 assisted stops. Other S/SA tackle leaders included Criss (5, 9), Jeff Duda (4, 13), Bernt (3, 8), Schmeits (3, 14) and Ryan Glesinger (2, 10). Criss had an interception and Kasperbauer recovered a Hayes Center fumble.
Spalding/Spalding Academy finishes the 2009 season with a 5-5 record.

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