FRIEND, NE – The Fullerton Warriors (7-3) were not shaken by the idea of playing unbeaten Exeter-Milligan/Friend on the road.
Fullerton’s defense pitched an early three-and-out, and the Warriors scored first to take an early 8-0 lead with 6:14 left in the first quarter.
Sixteen seconds later, senior fullback Mitchell Manning turned a five-yard run into a 58-yard touchdown. The ensuing two-point try tied the game at 8-8 with 5:58 to go in the opening quarter.
Fullerton regained the lead when junior receiver Isaac Gleason hauled in a 42-yard touchdown pass to put the Warriors ahead 14-8. The Warriors missed the two-point try, however.
Minutes later, EMF senior quarterback Spencer Pribyl scored from nine yards away and the successful two-point conversion gave the Bobcats a 16-14 lead at the end of the first quarter.
They never trailed after.
Senior running back Edwin Baptista topped 200 yards rushing for the second straight game as the Bobcats (10-0) held off the Warriors, 40-28, in a second round game in the Class D1 state football playoffs in Friend on Wednesday night.
Baptista ended up with 227 rushing yards and a touchdown on 38 carries. His total for the postseason is now 53 carries, 510 yards and five touchdowns.
The all-state running back is averaging 9.6 yards per carry in the playoffs so far.
Baptista’s only touchdown of the night was an important one. On the first play of the second quarter, he broke free around the outside to put the Bobcats ahead 24-14.
EMF led 32-20 at halftime.
The Bobcats finished with 330 yards rushing as a team. Manning totaled 87 yards on eight carries. He also had two touchdowns.
Pribyl had 10 carries for 15 yards and a score. Through the air, he completed 3-of-9 passes for 49 yards and a TD.
Pribyl’s lone touchdown throw was a one-yarder to senior Colton Bossaller, which came three seconds before halftime.
Fullerton was led in defeat by sophomore quarterback Hunter Haughton, who completed 10-of-21 passes for 203 yards and two touchdowns. He also had two interceptions.
Gleason, who scored on a 42-yard touchdown catch in the first quarter, finished with three catches for 99 yards and a pair of touchdown grabs.
Exeter-Milligan/Friend will now play No. 3 Guardian Angels Central Catholic on Tuesday in Milligan at 6 p.m. The game will be carried live on Ol’ Red 99.5.
The Bluejays (9-1) knocked off Howells-Dodge, 40-34, in West Point on Wednesday.
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