OMAHA — The first quarter hadn’t even ended when the Creighton Prep student section broke out the “overrated, overrated” chants.
The Lincoln Southeast student section offered nothing in response, and the Knights’ effort on the field did nothing to dissuade the verbal jabs. A lethargic, mistake-filled first quarter put Lincoln Southeast in a 20-0 hole, and Class A No. 7 Creighton Prep never budged an inch in its 41-7 blowout win over the No. 4 Knights at Omaha Burke Stadium on Thursday.
Creighton Prep (2-2) had plenty of positives to take from last week’s close loss to No. 1 Bellevue West, and coach Tim Johnk said that game installed belief in his team that they are among the best in Class A. After Thursday night’s game, that can hardly be disputed.
“Our guys believe that now we’re one of the elite teams in Class A football, and we’ve proven that in the last couple weeks against some really good football teams,” Johnk said.
It was a special teams gaffe that started the disappointment for Lincoln Southeast (3-1). A punt on its opening drive barely crossed the line of scrimmage and resulted in a loss of a yard. It took Creighton Prep just two plays for Pierce Johnson to punch in a 15-yard rushing touchdown.
The Knights failed to gain a first down on their first three drives, all going three-and-out, leaving Prep more than happy to lean on its rushing attack. CharMar Brown and George Egan both scored rushing touchdowns, and the rout was on.
“They came out and played really well, but we have to be more physical on both sides of the ball,” Southeast coach Ryan Gottula said. “They’ve got a good football team and we have to play better, it’s that simple.”
The battle in the trenches was always going to define this matchup, and there’s no doubt it was Prep that came out on top in that aspect. Even after the Knights scored their lone touchdown of the game, a 10-yard pass from Willem Reddick to Jake Appleget just before halftime, Prep came right back to the bread-and-butter of its run game.
Brown scored his second rushing touchdown of the game and Jack Stessman closed with two rushing touchdowns of his own. All six of Prep’s touchdowns came on the ground. Meanwhile, Southeast junior running back Max Buettenback was bottled up for 1- and 2-yard gains time and time again, with Prep’s defensive line also breaking through for several third-down sacks to end promising drives.
“I think we’re really good on defense, if you take away one fluke play right before halftime where the ball bounced back to them, we pretty much controlled the line of scrimmage and controlled the game on the defensive side of the football,” Johnk said.
After narrowly squeaking by Grand Island 17-7 on the road last week, this might be a wake-up call for the Knights. They’d been tested to the maximum in wins over Omaha North and Lincoln Southwest, but no team had run over them the way Creighton Prep did.
The Junior Jays controlled time of possession from start to finish, never giving Southeast a way back into the game. The Knights won’t be eager to re-watch the game film from the loss, but they’ll need to learn from these mistakes ahead of another challenging contest next week against Noah Walters and No. 10 Lincoln East.
“Football really is a pretty simple game, and all of the things that we did not do well tonight are things that are fixable,” Gottula said. “We just need to go back to work and get ready to play a game against another really good football team next week.”
CREIGHTON PREP 41, LINCOLN SOUTHEAST 7
CP--Johnson 15 run (kick failed)
CP--Brown 6 run (Hamilton kick)
CP--Egan 15 run (Hamilton kick)
LSE--Appleget 10 pass from Reddick (McCashland kick)
CP--Brown 10 run (Hamilton kick)
CP--Stessman 6 run (Hamilton kick)
CP—Stessman 15 run (Hamilton kick)
Reach the writer at 402-473-7437 or at LMullin@journalstar.com. On Twitter @lmullin7