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Yutan vs. Centennial, C-2 state football final, 11/21/17

Centennial's Jackson Hirschfeld pulls in the pass from quarterback Wyatt Ehlers against Yutan in 2017.

No. 1 Norfolk Catholic (11-1) vs. No. 2 Centennial (12-0), 10:15 a.m., Tuesday.

ROAD TO LINCOLN

Norfolk Catholic: First round—beat Archbishop Bergan 77-32; quarterfinals—beat No. 8 St. Paul 56-12; semifinals—beat No. 6 Sutton 50-28

Centennial: First round—beat North Platte St. Pat's 28-0; quarterfinals—beat No. 4 BRLD 33-28; semifinals—beat No. 3 Oakland-Craig 35-14

VETERAN PRESENCE

With 2,612 yards this fall and four 1,000-yard seasons on his ledger, Norfolk Catholic all-state running back Dylan Kautz is 24 yards away from being the all-time career rushing leader in Nebraska 11-man high school history with 7,455 yards. He's scored a C-2 state record 45 touchdowns this season. Centennial senior all-state quarterback Wyatt Ehlers has passed for 6,201 yards and 72 TDs in leading the Broncos to a 33-2 record over the past three seasons. Bronco all-state wide receiver Jackson Hirschfeld has 199 catches for 2,730 yards and 30 TDs in his four years.

HUGE CHALLENGE

Not only is Kautz the fastest high school athlete in Nebraska, a three-time state champion in the 100-meter dash, he runs behind an offensive line featuring Nebraska recruit and first-team Super-Stater Ethan Piper and fellow all-stater Joe Teten. "We've got to get ready for a battle on a level like we've never seen," Centennial coach Evan Klanecky said.

TOUGH SCHEDULES

Centennial and Norfolk Catholic have endured difficult schedules to reach this point. Centennial owns wins over No. 3 Oakland-Craig, No. 4 BRLD, No. 5 Aquinas, No. 6 Sutton and No. 10 Shelby-Rising City. Norfolk Catholic's lone loss is to C-1 No. 1 Pierce in the season-opener. The Knights have beaten BRLD, Aquinas and Sutton and have two wins over No. 8 St. Paul.

NORFOLK CATHOLIC

Previous state final appearances: 16 (State titles: C-1/1983, C-1/1991, C-1/1999, C-1/2004, C-1/2005, C-1/2010, C-1/2011, C-1/2012, C-1/2017. State runner-up: C-1/1984, C-2/1987, C-1/1993, C-2/1996, C-1/2009, C-1/2015).

Head coach: Jeff Bellar.

Three to watch

Dylan Kautz: 2,612 yards rushing, 45 TDs.

Ethan Piper: 113 tackles, 14 quarterback sacks, two blocked kicks, one fumble recovery.

Joe Teten: 114 tackles, six quarterback sacks, one pass interception.

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Points per game: 47.5

Points allowed: 19.7

Yards per game: 457.7

Yards allowed: 256.6

CENTENNIAL

Head coach: Evan Klanecky.

Previous state final appearances: Two (State runner-up: C/1976, C-2/2017)

Three to watch

Wyatt Ehlers: 162 of 253 passing for 2,260 yards, 30 TDs; 777 yards rushing, 8 TDs.

Jackson Hirschfeld: 86 receptions for 1,185 yards, 14 TDs; 61 tackles, three pass interceptions, one fumble recovery.

Caleb Cast: 97 tackles, nine quarterback sacks, one blocked kick, one fumble recovery.

Points per game: 36.0

Points allowed: 12.7

Yards per game: 380.8

Yards allowed: 230.8 

— Ron Powell

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