Class D-1 championship: GACC vs. Burwell

GACC's Kobe Slaughter (20) pulls in the first down pass in front of Burwell's Joshua Urbanovsky (1) in the second quarter on Nov. 21, 2016, during the Class D-1 state football championship final at Memorial Stadium.

No. 2 Creighton (12-0) vs. No. 3 Burwell (12-0), 2:45 p.m. Monday, Memorial Stadium.

Road to Lincoln

Creighton: First round—beat Southern 82-28; second round—beat Wisner-Pilger 66-12; quarterfinals—beat Lutheran High Northeast 66-26; semifinals—beat EMF 72-28.

Burwell: First round—beat Palmer 63-26; second round—beat Sutherland 48-0; quarterfinals—beat Arcadia-Loup City 43-8; semifinals—beat North Central 23-22.

Four downs

Longhorns know Memorial Stadium: Monday's game will mark the third time Burwell's seniors have played inside Memorial Stadium. The Longhorns lost in the 2015 state final to BDS before beating Guardian Angels Central Catholic for the 2016 championship. After bowing out in the first round last year, Burwell is back for a third time in four years.

Creighton gets over hump: Creighton, meanwhile, is making its first state finals appearance since 2010. The Bulldogs have come close many times since then, falling short in either the quarterfinal or semifinal rounds. Coach Zac Kliment said health was a big difference this year. Among those players hampered by injuries last year was senior running back Bryce Zimmerer.

Bulldogs' offense has been tough to stop: Zimmerer and cousin Brayden Zimmerer, the junior quarterback, have run wild on opponents all season. As soon as opponents key in on stopping the Zimmerers, that's when Thad Hazen, Caden Wortman and Samuel Vortherms can burn you. Only once has Creighton been held to less than 42 points this season. 

Tough-nosed in the trenches: Both teams have physical offensive lines. Burwell has a four-year starter at center in Weston Svoboda. Creighton has three senior starters up front, led by Tyler Travis. "The offensive line has all the credit in the world," Kliment said. "They love firing off the ball and moving bodies for their own backs."


Three to watch

QB/DB Brayden Zimmerer, jr.: 1,356 rushing yards, 25 rushing TDs, 788 passing yards, 13 passing TDs.

RB/LB Bryce Zimmerer, sr.: 2,422 rushing yards, 46 rushing TDs, 11 catches for 225 yards.

OL/DT Travis Tyler, sr.: 43 total tackles, 5 sacks, 5 blocked kicks, 1 fumble recovery.

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Points per game: 63.8

Points allowed: 21.4

Yards per game: 464.4

Yards allowed: 251.0


Three to watch

RB/LB Jase Williams, jr.: 1,451 rushing yards, 30 rushing TDs.

WR/DB Coy Gideon, sr.: 27 catches, 480 receiving yards, 9 receiving TDs, 6 INTs.

QB/LB Sage Konicek, sr.: 1,096 passing yards, 17 passing TDs, 659 rushing yards, 9 rushing TDs.

Points per game: 41.3

Points allowed: 12.0

Yards per game: 344.3

Yards allowed: NA

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Reach the writer at 402-473-2639 or cgrell@journalstar.com. On Twitter @LJSSportsGrell.


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