After eleven football games, including a wild and improbable playoff run, it all came down to one point.
Undefeated Potter-Dix, the #1 seed in the 2021 Class D6 Six-Man football playoff field, built a 31-8 halftime lead over host Spalding Academy Friday, making the frigid temperatures and biting winds seem that much colder on the Academy side of the field.
In a memorable second half, however, the never-say-die Shamrocks stormed back to within one point twice before running out of time in 39-38 heartbreaker.
Potter-Dix (11-0) advances to face another unbeaten squad, #2 seed Cody-Kilgore, Friday in the Six-Man championship game at the University of Kearney’s Cope Stadium (7 p.m.).
Spalding Academy, which began as the #13 seed in the D6 field, finishes a terrific campaign 9-2, with one of the most exciting playoff runs this season in any class.
It wasn’t just winning that set this Academy team apart, it was who the Shamrocks defeated, and how.
Academy opened the postseason with a thrilling 45-44 upset victory over season-long Omaha World-Herald #1 ranked Sterling. Academy scored its final touchdown with 46.2 seconds remaining, Sterling answered with 14.2 seconds to play and Academy needed a blocked kick on the PAT attempt to hold on.
The competition got no easier in the quarterfinals, as the Shamrocks faced defending Six-Man state champion McCool Junction. Academy mounted an 18-0 finishing kick in the fourth quarter to overcome McCool Junction’s 25-14 advantage and score a 32-25 victory.
After all that, when Potter-Dix roared to a 23-point halftime lead Friday, the Big Green was unfazed, scratching and clawing to the end.
“We just spotted them too much in the first half,” rued veteran Academy Coach Troy Kleffner. “I’m very proud of how we fought back in the second half. It came down to the wire where it was anybody’s game.
“We’re very proud of them – they had a great season.”
Complete game article and statistics in Print & Online editions of Albion News/Boone County Tribune