Class D-2 State Championship-Monday, 10:15 AM Memorial Stadium/Lincoln
Giltner (12-0) vs. Humphrey St. Francis (12-0)
Rushing.....Jake Findley-484-74 (14 Tds)
Passing.....Jake Findley 219-312 - 3,502 (62 Tds)
Receiving...Kyle Hawthorne-79-1,365 (24 Tds)
........... Dustin Hastings-44-805 (17 Tds)
Tackle Pts..Ryan Kleier - 67 Unasisted/62 Asst-129 Total
Humphrey St. Francis
Rushing....J.J. Oltmer-1,499-176 (27 Tds)
Passing....Nate Classen 14-27-347 (6 Tds.)
Receiving..Chad Haiar-10-231 - (6 Tds)
Tackle Pts.John Wieser 28 Unasst-7 Asst.-125 Pts.
Humphrey St. Francis..305.8.....45.0....351.0
Well, on paper it looks like a classic "run vs. pass", "offense vs. defense" game, but a lot of the time when Giltner appears to hand the ball off for a running play it is counted as a pass. Some of these "passes" travel no more than a few feet. It is a forward flip of the ball to the player who is simply running in front of the QB rather than behind. The back is lined up in a wing position like an 11-man version of the Wing-T formation and simply comes around like a reverse and takes the forward pitch. There has been a couple of occasions early in the season where I have stood next to a stat person that has counted those pitches as a run, but it is indeed a pass. Years back this would have been classified as an illegal forward lateral, but this is now, it's legal, and it doesn't matter anyway..... Giltner's offense has baffled 12 straight opponents.
Hornet quarterback Jake Findley shattered the Class D-2 single season passing record with 3,508 yards this year. He surpassed Colin Janitscheck's (Pleasanton) record of 3,351 yards set just a year ago. Skeptics could argue that Findley is not a pure passer like his predecessor Nate Most, but one just has to turn the page back to 2011 to see that Jake Findley threw for 487 yards against Shelby, tying the state single game record......Giltner was not running the current offense with those 1 foot passes. This kid can throw the football downfield. Consider the fact Findley has NO interceptions this season. NONE in 219 attempts. And those who have not followed Giltner football this year must also be rest assured this crew knows how to play defense too.......and how. Yes, they have allowed twice as many + some points than St. Frans, but that was not the starting unit, folks. Whether it appears to be a run or not, this is one heck of an offense....and defense.
Now, let's talk about this Humphrey St. Francis team coached by Eric Kessler. This offense has rushed for 3,670 yards and, count 'em, NINE different backs have run for at least a 100 yards for the season. Not only that, but a sophomore, J.J. Oltmer leads the Flyers with 1,499 yards on ground. This football team passes about as often as Millard North does, which is about twice a game. Quarterback Nate Classen has thrown 27 times, completing 14 of those.......6 for Tds. The St. Fran's defense is very stingy, allowing only 166 yards a contest. Make no bones about this, Eric Kessler is one top notch football coach. This program just reloads every season........every season. I cannot recall when Humphrey St. Francis wasn't outstanding in football (or basketball). In fact, the Flyers have only missed the playoffs once since 1987. It never seems to matter who is playing for this team, they are always in the mix at the end.
So, what happens if we get a defensive stalemate in this D-2 title game? Who has the edge? I like the passing team, but are we certain Classen can't throw? You also have to consider that Giltner has stuffed every running offense they have faced. The only back to have any yards against this team was Tyler Schnitzler of Kenesaw and he had 179. St. Francis has stuffed every prolific runner they have faced this season: Kreinert-Osmond, Behmer-Lyons-Decatur NE, Barnhill and Scheitel-FCSH, Tietz-Bancroft-Rosalie, Wenzel-Sterling, but will this motion offense with so much speed and deception, have St. Frans "flying" all over the place?
Once again, it looks like the classic, run vs. pass, offense vs. defense type of game except for one thing. Giltner's defense is as good as their offense. I guess the final question in mind after mulling this game over and over in my mind is this: Can the Flyers put the stops on this high powered Giltner offense?
I can't answer that one friends. That's why they play the games and I can't think of a better way to open up this year's state football finals than watching these two teams play for it all.