No. 1 Howells-Dodge (11-0) at No. 10 East Butler (9-2), 7 p.m., Dwight: Howells-Dodge won the season opener between these teams 26-20 behind a 13-of-20 passing performance for 177 yards and a pair of touchdowns by Dax VanLengen. In the Jaguars’ 54-42 quarterfinal win over Johnson-Brock, it was Dylan Horejsi running the ball that was the difference as the junior carried 39 times for 231 yards and a pair of TDs. Expect a physical game up front with all-state center/defensive end Ryan Macholan leading the way for Howells-Dodge (6-2, 220) and East Butler all-stater Trevor Havlovic (6-2, 210) being a force at tight end and middle linebacker.
No. 6 Medicine Valley (11-0) at No. 5 South Loup (11-0), 6 p.m., Callaway: South Loup was impressive in its 54-15 win over CWCE as 6-4, 175-pound quarterback Jack Rush hit 14 of 18 passes for 226 yards and a pair of touchdowns, and rushed for another 66 and four more scores. Rush has 2,934 yards of total offense this season. Medicine Valley will look to establish the ground game with senior Landon Lenz, who rushed for 232 yards and four TDs in the 48-26 quarterfinal win over Perkins County last Tuesday. He has 1,824 yards and 34 TDs this fall.
No. 4 Blue Hill (11-0) at No. 6 Mullen (11-0), 2 p.m.: Mullen beat Lawrence-Nelson in the snow last Tuesday 36-18 in the quarterfinals as junior Lane Edis went for 276 yards and three TDs to raise his season totals to 2,139 and 43 scores. It should be a fast track at Mullen on Monday with an undefeated Blue Hill team coming to town off the heels of a thrilling 37-34 win over last year’s state runner-up, Twin Loup, on a 25-yard field goal by Joe Mackin with 7 seconds left. The Bobcats had a pair of 100-yard rushers in that game, with John Rouse going for 129 and Lane Deisley running for 100.
No. 2 Falls City Sacred Heart (10-1) at No. 1 BDS (11-0), 6 p.m., Shickley: BDS quarterback John Christensen calls it the revenge tour for the Eagles, and they’re getting the matchup they wanted against an Irish team that beat them in this same round a year ago. While BDS rolled past Wynot in its quarterfinal road game, Sacred Heart needed last-second heroics to pull out a 15-14 win at Bloomfield with a 6-yard TD pass from Drew Bippes to Jake Hoy and a Ryker Hoy extra-point kick with 19 seconds left. The Irish knocked off BDS in the final seconds of last year’s state semifinals on their way to the title, something the Eagles haven’t forgotten. BDS won the earlier matchup this season at Falls City Sacred Heart 23-14 behind Christensen, who had 20 carries for 102 yards and a 30-yard TD scamper to go with a 20-yard scoring strike to Garrett Schardt. Expect another physical, defensive battle.