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EMF Blasts GACC; Advance To Semi-finals

With its stud running back out of the line-up, Exeter-Milligan/Friend imposed its will early on Guardian Angels Central Catholic and never gave the No. 3 Bluejays any hope of securing a road quarterfinal win. Edwen Baptista raced 48 yards in the game's first 16 seconds to the house and the Bobcats never looked back in a 46-12 win over outmanned GACC Tuesday, November 6. EMF led the chilly contest 18-0 at intermission in Milligan.
The win over the Bluejays propelled 11-0 EMF into a showdown with top-seeded Creighton in one NSAA Class D-1 State Football Play-off semi-final contest on Monday, November 12.  A win over the undefeated Bulldogs in Creighton will have the Bobcats playing  in the D-1 State Championship game on Monday, November 19, at 2:45 p.m., at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln's hallowed Memorial Stadium.
Baptista hit paydirt again in the first quarter last Monday from six yards out.  The Bobcat senior running back finished the contest with 194 yards on 30 carries.  Fellow senior running back Mitchell Manning capped the first-half scoring with a five-yard TD jaunt.
The Bobcats would score first in the second half with Baptista adding his third touchdown of the evening from six yards out.  Manning added the PAT and EMF had the game and the visiting fans on ice at 26-0.  GACC got on the scoreboard midway through the third period when quarterback Cody Steffen scampered in from 12 yards out.
On the next possession, Manning crashed in from three yards out.  The senior speedster added the PAT.  GACC scored the final touchdown in a busy third quarter to make the score 34-12.  The Bluejays were playing on November 6 without star running back Jared Minnick who injured a hamstring the play-off game before.  Minnick had rushed for 1,782 yards and 28 touchdowns on the season.
Manning added touchdowns No. 3 and No. 4 for the Bobcats in the fourth period.  Manning rambled in from 20 yards and 69 yards to cap the game's scoring.  Manning finished the lopsided victory with 156 yards on 16 carries—an average of nearly 10 yards per tote.
Christian Weber rushed two times for 13 yards in the win.  Spencer Pribyl was 3-for-9 passing for 52 yards.  Max Zeleny hauled in two passes for 44 yards for the Bobcats and Baptista caught one swing pass for eight yards.
The Bobcats produced 24 first downs and 415 yards of total offense.  GACC had 19 first downs and 272 total yards.  EMF had two turnovers and the Bluejays had one. GACC was whistled for 80 yards of penalties and EMF had 50 penalty yards.
Zeleny paced the Bobcats' bend-don't-break defense with 11 tackles and 3.5 tackles for a loss.  Colton Bossaller logged eight stops and one tackle for a loss.  Manning had 7.5 tackles and Slater Wells had 6.5 stops with two going for a loss.  Johnny Babula had 5.5 tackles and Trevor Zelenka had five.  Pribyl had a tackle for a loss and 3.5 stops.  Jackson Beethe was in on three tackles.
Bossaller returned three kicks for 55 yards and Manning returned two punts for 13 yards.
Exeter-Milligan beat Creighton five years ago, 20-8, late in the state play-offs en route to a Timberwolf State Championship.  This year's Bulldogs are rolling through its state play-off draw outscoring their opponents 224-68. The high-flying ground-chuck Creighton offense has put up 82, 66 and 76 points en route to the east semi-final.
The Bulldogs haven't been tested since their Aug. 31 clash with Clearwater-Orchard.  The Creighton defense has been surrendering 21 points a contest.  The game started at 5 p.m., on November 12, in Creighton. The Bulldogs are one of the most athletic teams in 8 man.