At the time, East Butler all-state tight end/linebacker Trevor Havlovic was OK with the Class D-1 No. 10 Tigers’ 26-20 season-opening football loss at No. 1 Howells-Dodge.
Upon further review, however, the 6-foot-2, 210-pound senior has had a change of heart. That’s why he and his Tiger teammates are excited for their 7 p.m. rematch at home Monday in the semifinals of the playoffs.
“When the game was over, I thought we played pretty well, but when we watched film this week getting ready for the (Monday) game, we really didn’t play very well at all,” Havlovic said. “It shows how far we’ve come since the beginning of the season. We could’ve played much better, and really we should’ve won that game.”
East Butler (9-2) rolls in with plenty of confidence from its 40-28 quarterfinal win at No. 2 and previously unbeaten Creighton on Tuesday. Senior quarterback Dalton Bohac was 10-of-16 passing for 184 yards and four touchdowns while also rushing 36 times for 138 yards and another score.
Bohac shouldered more of the running duties with senior Carter Stara out with a knee injury. He has now thrown for 1,782 yards and 26 TDs, and rushed for 978 yards and 17 more scores this fall.
Havlovic, who had 12 tackles defensively in helping holding Creighton to its lowest point total of the season, had five catches for 97 yards and two touchdowns. Camden Robley, a 6-1, 175-pound senior, contributed 13 tackles and had four receptions for 49 yards and a TD.
Havlovic is at 60 catches for 873 yards and Robley has 43 for 587. They’ve combined for 23 TDs.
“I think that game shows we can play with anyone,” said 210-pound senior lineman Brandon Rezac, who leads the team with 146 tackles. “I remember how physical Howells-Dodge was when we played them, but myself, Jacob (Janak) and Nolan (Makovicka), we’re not afraid of anyone. We’ll take everyone head on.”
Rezac, Janak, a 230-pound senior, and Makovicka, a 190-pound sophomore, will be going against a Jaguars front that features 6-2, 220-pound senior all-stater Ryan Macholan, one of seven players 215 pounds or heavier on their 28-man roster. East Butler’s line has been playing without 225-pound junior Corden Novotny the past four games because of a season-ending ACL injury.
Howells-Dodge uses its size up front to pave the way for junior running back Dylan Horejsi, who has 1,559 yards rushing and 24 TDs this season.
“Howells-Dodge gets after it physically and they don’t make mistakes,” East Butler coach Shawn Biltoft said. “I like the experience we have with our eight seniors going into a game like this. They’ve seen a lot of football and been in a lot of different situations. They stay the course and never get too high or too low. I think that really helped us at Creighton.”