Monday, June 18, 2018
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Swedes suffer shut out in playoffs

Season ends with 19-0 loss at Broken Bow.

BROKEN BOW—Big plays have produced easy wins for the Gothenburg football team in recent weeks.

Break-out runs, kick returns and halfback pass plays have all worked to produce plenty of touchdowns this fall.

But Swede coach Craig Haake said it was a consistent running game that pushed Gothenburg into the second round of the Class C-1 state playoffs and when he looks back, that’s probably where he should have turned more in his play calling.

“You’ve gotta dance with the one who brought you,” Haake said. “I don’t think I danced enough.”

The Swedes, he said, got caught waiting for that big play to happen while Broken Bow kept plugging away until the Indians managed a 19-0 win at home on Nov. 4.

“Having the capability to score on big plays is a good thing,” Haake said. “Maybe we relied on that a little too much.”

Instead of running at the Indians and taking the two or three yards each play produced, Haake’s team kept looking for more.

“Maybe we tried to take too many shots,” he said.

The first half was all about defense.

Between the two teams, neither managed more than seven plays at a shot with six punts, one interception and three times turning it over on downs before halftime.

“Defensively, we played as well in the first half as we’ve played all year,” Haake said.

Offensively, the Swedes sputtered against Broken Bow’s stingy defense.

“We had decent field position a couple of times and couldn’t do anything with it,” Haake said.

Broken Bow opened the second half with the ball.

After a 30-yard kickoff return, the Indians marched consistently up the field 58 yards for the first score of the game with six minutes to go in the period.

A 2-yard run by senior Josh Arnold put his team up 6-0 after a failed PAT.

A sense of urgency took over, Haake said, and the Swedes got a little rattled.

“All of our turnovers happened after that drive,” he said.

On the third play of Gothenburg’s first possession of the second half, a fumbled snap put the ball back in Broken Bow’s hands.

Mark Hilderbrand retaliated with an interception on the next play to put the Swedes on their own 13-yard line.

The series stalled, though, and Gothenburg was forced to punt the ball away again.

“We were not productive offensively,” Haake said. “We had breakdowns everywhere. On one play we’d have a missed block and on the next play our running back would slip. Then we’d have a missed assignment up front and the next play we’d drop the ball. We just weren’t quite firing.”

Two Indian plays later, Broken Bow’s quarterback Nathan Scott slipped through a couple of tackles and shot up the sideline for a 48-yard touchdown run.

The two-point conversion failed putting Broken Bow up 12-0 with 2:49 to play in the third.

“At 12-0, we were in a pretty deep hole,” Haake said. “We hadn’t moved the ball with any consistency all night. You could feel the let-down.”

And as if it weren’t already bad enough, the Indians mounted another drive that started at their own 2-yard line late in the third quarter.

Broken Bow reached midfield before being forced to punt but got the ball back on the Gothenburg 17-yard line after a fumble on the return.

The Indians scored five plays later on a 2-yard carry by Scott and the PAT kick made the score 19-0 with four minutes left in the game.

“This is a great group of kids and they played hard every play,” Haake said. “I can’t fault their effort. They could have rolled over and allowed Broken Bow another score but they didn’t. Sometimes, it’s just not your night.”

Gothenburg finished with just 97 yards total offense.

Landen Haake had 36 yards rushing to lead the Swedes, ending the season with a total of 1,180 yards.

Mark Hilderbrand added 35 yards rushing and two pass completions for 28 yards.

Brady Preitauer paced the defense with 14 total tackles and Doran Johnson contributed 12 tackles, including 10 solos.

The Swedes end the year with an 8-2 record and a wealth of life lessons.

“Hopefully what they’ve learned on the football field they can take with them into life,” Haake said. “You don’t always get to win and in Nebraska’s playoff system, only one team is happy at the end.”