Friday, April 18, 2014
   
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Eagles get another shot at A-M

Brady makes playoffs for first time in 12 yeras.

For 12 straight years, the Brady Eagle football team has packed away uniforms and gear on the Monday following their final regular season game.

Jerseys did get washed over the weekend after Brady’s 26-6 loss to Anselmo-Merna but they’re not going into storage.

For the first time since 1997, Brady has qualified for the state football playoffs.

“It’s very exciting for the team, for the coaches and for everyone in this community,” said coach Darren Tobey.

With a 4-4 record, Brady earned the No. 13 seed in the western bracket of the D-2 state playoffs.

It’s virtually uncharted territory, Tobey said, but not an unfamiliar opponent.

The Eagles will travel to Merna Thursday to face the 7-1 Anselmo-Merna Coyotes, who are rated No. 8 in the state by the Omaha World-Herald with the No. 4 seed in the west.

“Sure we would like to play a team we didn’t just see,” Tobey said of Brady’s 26-6 loss to Anselmo-Merna on Friday, “but at least we’re not having to travel halfway across the state and now we know exactly what we’re up against.”

The Coyotes jumped on Brady early, scoring a touchdown on the second play of the game.

After returning the opening kickoff 35 yards, Anselmo-Merna had a 40-yard touchdown run and a 6-0 lead less than a minute into the game.

“We had a couple of kids out and a couple of others playing new assignments,” Tobey said. “Once we got things figured out, I thought our defense did a good job.”

The Coyotes scored again just before the end of the first quarter on a 22-yard pass from Andrew Christen to Cole Geiser. A two-point conversion pass gave A-M a 14-0 lead.

“We never felt like we were completely out of this game,” Tobey said. “Even in the fourth quarter, we had opportunities to close the gap.”

Midway through the second period, Brady cut the lead with a 19-yard pass from junior Kyle Pohlman to senior Alvin Lunkwitz. The two-point conversion attempt failed but Brady was back in the game.

“Our offensive line did a really good job of firing off but we had a little trouble sustaining our blocks,” Tobey said. “I think that’s something we can correct.”

A-M scored twice more in the second half but it wasn’t the Coyote defense that kept Brady from keeping the score close.

“We had some mental mistakes that really cost us,” Tobey said. “I think we can fix that too.”

Brady finished the game with just 129 yards total offense. Pohlman completed two passes for 42 yards and freshman Mike Neiman added a pair of completions for 56 yards total in the air.

Neiman led the way on the ground with 37 yards on nine carries.

Facing A-M in back-to-back games, this time on the road, isn’t ideal, Tobey said, but at least the Eagles know exactly what they are up against.

“Nobody on the outside has to believe we can win this game,” Tobey said. “Only the team has to believe and I think they do.”

Should the Eagles get past A-M, it would be the first state football playoff victory in school history.

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