OMAHA — Lincoln East's defense was able to contain Omaha Westside's offense for the most part during Friday's Class A opening-round playoff game, but as the Spartans found out, the Warriors can't be held down for four quarters.
The No. 3 Warriors (9-1) led 13-0 at halftime before a 21-point third quarter gave them a five touchdown lead and a date in next week’s quarterfinals. The Westside defense, which stymied the Spartan (5-5) offense from the first whistle, kept East off the scoreboard until the last minute of play in dominant performance that led to a 34-7 victory at Westside High School.
“(In the second half) we challenged our O-lineman up front because Lincoln East did a great job of plugging the A gaps and shutting down our inside game,” Westside coach Brett Froendt said. “That’s what we want to do so we made a few adjustments but mainly our guys just had an attitude adjustment and did a better job in the second half."
The two defenses squared off in the first half with neither offense finding a solid rhythm. It was Westside, however, that held the Spartans to just 22 yards in the opening half and the resulting field position allowed the Warriors to take advantage of the short field.
A Dylan Packett 14-yard touchdown reception was sandwiched between two Jack Bush field goals of 33 and 40 to give the Warriors a two-score lead at the break.
Westside found success through the air in the third quarter to extend the lead.
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Quarterback Cole Payton hit Trevor Barajas for a 9-yard touchdown early in the quarter before wideout Brett Curran threw a reverse pass to Packett, who took it 59 yards to house to give Westside a 27-0 lead. A Sam Parsonage 9-yard rushing touchdown pushed the Warriors lead to 34 before the end of the third quarter.
East got on the board late in the fourth quarter on a 1-yard plunge by Blake Ingamells.
“These kids gave a great effort and they never quit,” East coach John Gingery said. “We had one of the best defenses in the state until tonight. We hadn’t given up 100 points this season but we just had some trouble up front and on offense tonight. The injuries kind of piled up, that’s not an excuse, but it was tough tonight.”
Westside forced three East turnovers in the second half to keep the lead intact.