WAHOO -- There is no better way to end the regular season and start the playoffs than with a near-perfect game.
Class C-1 No. 2-ranked Wahoo finished off its first 9-0 season since 1995 with a rousing 49-0 victory over Columbus Scotus on Friday night at Memorial Field.
Wahoo blew past No. 6 Scotus in the third quarter to hand the Shamrocks their second loss of the regular season -- the other coming to No. 1-ranked Pierce.
"I'd have to say Wahoo and Pierce are pretty darn even and that'll be interesting to see if they both get to the finals," said Scotus coach Tyler Linder, whose 7-2 team will likely host a first-round playoff game next Friday. "You see size, strength, speed and a stud defense on both teams."
Wahoo's defense held the Shamrock offense to 6 yards rushing on 37 carries. On 18 of those carries, Scotus was held to no gain or a loss. Six Wahoo sacks led to 36 yards in losses.
"I know they were missing their quarterback, but we still played with intensity on defense and we really stepped up tonight," said Wahoo coach Chad Fox. "We responded well to the challenge and when we asked for a higher level, we got it."
Columbus Scotus was without standout quarterback Tyler Palmer, a Nebraska baseball recruit.
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"It makes a big, big difference in our offense when we're missing a Division I caliber athlete," said Linder. "But Wahoo was really on its game tonight. They were exceptional in the second half."
Wahoo ran 45 plays for 240 yards in the first half, but managed just 14 points.
Trevin Luben, who rushed for 227 yards and four touchdowns, scored on a 41-yard run to open the second half. After a blocked punt, he scored again on a 1-yard plunge. Colin Ludvik, a sophomore, scored two more Warrior touchdowns -- on a 13-yard run and a 41-yard sprint around the right end in the third quarter.
"I think our offensive line is getting better all the time, and when you see Trevin or anybody hit the hole, you know they're going to get some yards because our blocking is very good," said Wahoo quarterback Thomas Waido. "We wanted to show we could pick up the pace in the second half, and I thought the offense did pretty good."
He was also impressed with his team's defense.
"They aren't allowed to hit me in practice, but they are really good and it's not easy to play against our defense," he said.
Wahoo's defense got sacks by Kalon Cooper, Callan Phillips, Brandon Swahn and Grant Kolterman, and an interception by Cooper Hancock.
The Warriors even posted a withering goal-line stand in the fourth quarter. Scotus standout Eric Mustard, who was held well below his nearly 100-yard-a-game rushing average, returned a kickoff 72 yards and Scotus moved to the 1-yard line midway in the fourth quarter. But four plays netted just 3 yards and the Warriors took over at the 1-yard line to protect their fourth shutout of the season.
Wahoo reached the playoff semifinals the past two years -- falling to eventual champion Aurora last year and to Norfolk Catholic in 2017.