CLAFLIN — After a 36-8 halftime lead, the Central Plains High School football team struggled in the third quarter, but held on to beat Quinter in the first round of the Eight-Man Division-I playoffs.
The Oilers started strong defensively, finishing Quinter’s first drive with a sack by Dylan Prosser to turn the ball over on downs.
Central Plains then ran three plays for 53 yards, capped by a 47-yard sprint by running back Benn Kirmer.
“We came out just really smoking in the first half, which was pretty big for us because I thought that the last three weeks, we came out pretty flat,” Oilers head coach Chris Steiner said. “We just pounded the football. I couldn’t believe how much success we were having. They’re big. They’re strong. We were just hitting stuff quick enough that it was working off well.”
Kirmer finished with two touchdowns and 122 yards on 18 carries.
“He’s always big for us,” Steiner said of Kirmer. “Like I’ve said all year long, it’s the guys giving him breaks that allow him to be that strong throughout the ball game, and Prosser’s lead blocking.
“Once again, that was a straight lead right up the middle against a team way bigger than us. Prosser just smokes somebody, and Kirmer hits it hard. He don’t waist no time getting where he’s going.”
The Oilers recorded another touchdown on its following drive when quarterback Bryce Steiner scored on a quarterback keeper for 28 yards.
Steiner threw a touchdown to Tim Stueder for 10 yards, Nick Schepmann rushed for a 65-yard score and Skyler Turner dived for a 1-yard touchdown to light up the scoreboard in the second quarter.
Central Plains got the ball to start the second half, and was forced to punt on a fourth-and-16.
The Bulldogs responded with a two-play drive, concluding with a 35-yard touchdown run by Logan Reed, who finished the game with 176 yards on 33 carries.
“That third quarter, we can’t do that ever again,” Steiner said. “I told them at halftime, if you think these guys are going to quit, you’re crazy. They’re not going to lay down for nothing. They’re going to be coming just as hard at the end of the ball game as they did in the first half.
“I don’t know what was in our head or what we were thinking, but we can’t let that happen again.”
Reed scored again in the fourth quarter, but touchdowns from Prosser and Kirmer kept the Oilers ahead.
Central Plains will travel to Montezuma-South Gray on Saturday at a time to be determined.
Quinter 8 0 6 8 — 22
Central Plains 16 20 8 6 — 50
Central Plains — Benn Kirmer 47 run (Kirmer run)
Central Plains — Bryce Steiner 28 run (Patrick Hubbard pass from Steiner)
Quinter — Alex Albin 40 run (Logan Reed run)
Central Plains — Tim Stueder 10 pass from Steiner (pass failed)
Central Plains — Nick Schepmann 65 run (Steiner run)
Central Plains — Skyler Turner 1 run (run failed)
Quinter — Reed 35 run (pass failed)
Central Plains — Dylan Prosser 1 run (Prosser run)
Quinter — Reed 3 run (Jesse Ochs pass from Brett Crist)
Central Plains — Kirmer 25 run (pass failed)