Boone Central/Newman Grove's Wyatt Mazour once again performed his magic against Norfolk Catholic.
Longtime Albion newspaper man Joe Flanagan told me prior to the game Boone Central/NG had one the finest athletes in that school's storied history in Wyatt Mazour. Not only that, but Flanagan also added that the current group of receivers may be the tallest, yet quickest group since he played back in the day. Joe just wasn't whistling Dixie on those statements. The former Albion high all-state lineman hit the nail square on the noggin as Mazour ran for an even 100 yards and threw for another 230 as Class C-1, #1 Boone Central/NG pulled away in the 4th quarter to double up #3 Norfolk Catholic 32-16. In the process, the Cardinals put the wraps on a perfect 9-0 regular season, their 2nd in as many years.
The picture perfect setting, one that would rival a college set-up, saw local fans gobbling up fence side parking spaces and bird's eye stadium seats 48 hours in advance of the colossal match up between two of Class C-1's most legendary programs. It didn't hurt matters either that Boone Central/Newman Grove has one the finest facilities in the state that was just a year old and still sparkling with artistic newness and bursting at the seams in a sea of red.
Two unbeaten teams with nearly immovable defenses and high powered offenses and potential all-state athletes everywhere you looked. The stage was set.
Ironically, Boone's opening possession lasted only 3 plays as Wyatt Mazour's pass in the flat was picked off by Norfolk Catholic's David Englehaupt, a towering, muscular junior. With good field position at the Catholic 44 yard line, the Knights ran only 5 plays before Boone's pure athlete Zac Glidden returned the favor and pirated a Nathan Boyle pass at the BC/NG 41.
With the opening game jitters out of the way, the two C-1 kingpins went to work.
Following a 23 yard punt return by Wyatt Mazour later in the opening quarter, the Cardinals fashioned an 11 play, 3:15 second drive that culminated with a 15 yard TD strike from Mazour to junior Kyle Kramer. The point after kick failed and Boone Central had a 6-0 that held up till the end of that 1st stanza.
Norfolk Catholic answered right back on it's next possession with a 21 yard field goal from Chase Farlee, who could barely walk, let alone run. Farlee, amazingly enough, was pressed into service after suffering a torn ACL a few weeks before.
On the following possession, Boone leaned heavily on 185 pound senior RB Joe Brugger. The hard running, quick hitting Brugger ran for 50 yards of a 69 yard Cardinal drive and did the scoring honors with a 10 yard blast that ended the 11 play drive. Brugger carried the ball 8 of those 11 plays. Catholic answered right back with speedy, shifty I-Back Seth Montag doing some serious damage to the tune of 50 yards on the 80 yard push down the new field turf. Big David Englehaupt scored from a yard out and Boone Central/Newman Grove took a narrow 12-9 lead into the halftime break.
I figured Knights coach Jeff Bellar would fire up his troops for their opening 3rd quarter possession. Bouyed by crisp line blocking and a splendid 39 yard pass connection from QB Nate Boyle to Matt Miller, Norfolk Catholic ate up 5 minutes and 9 ticks, taking it 80 yards to score and forge into the lead. Englehaupt again went the final yard. Farlee connected on the point after and the Knights enjoyed their first lead of the game at 16-12.
Mazour, now limping a bit with a bad ankle, then turned to his passing game. The amazing senior proceeded to complete 4 of his 5 throws, all to Zac Glidden, who hauled in the last reception for a 20 yard TD. Kyle Kramer finally connected on a point after kick to give the lead back to BC/NG, 19-16. The 3rd quarter would end that way but that score seemed to shift the momentum to the Cardinals for good........maybe.
Boone Central started the 4th quarter with a nice drive, but Kinght DB Jacob Bellar picked off a 2nd Mazour pass at the NC 18 yard line to give Norfolk Catholic a great opportunity. But the Cardinals stuffed Catholic, forced a punt which was partially blocked, and set up the Cardinals with excellent field position at the Knights 46. Wyatt Mazour then nailed Kyle Kramer with a 35 yard strike which set up a 1 yard touchdown run by Mazour to give Boone Central a 26-16 lead with 7:28 left in the game.
Norfolk Catholic then got a pretty good drive going on it's next crucial possession, but on a 1st and 10 at the Boone Central/NG 37 yard line, Knight's QB Nate Boyle was swarmed with heavy pressure from that ferocious BC/NG "D" line and lofted a pass into the cheap seats, prompting a back breaking intentional grounding call. Not only were the Knights penalized 15 yards but a loss of down was accessed and a Catholic punt followed after 2 more Boyle incomplete passes. David Englehaupt sailed a perfect coffin corner punt to the Boone 1 yard line and the Knights needed a stop and a quick score to stay in this battle.
It was then, after 2 Wyatt Mazour runs that went nowhere, that the all-state senior wonder delivered the back breaking/heart breaking blow.
On a 3rd and 8 from the Cardinal 3 yard line, Mazour set himself in the backfield and then audibled by holding up a couple of fingers to junior Scott Ketteler. Mazour then lofted a short crossing pattern completion to the quick, elusive Ketteler, who then zig-zagged and weaved his way 68 yards down the field, leaving white jerseys in his path who grabbed nothing but the humid night Albion air. Workhorse Joseph Brugger then went to work from the Knight 29 yard line, taking the ball 7 times out of the next 8 hand-offs to finally blast in from the 1 yard line. The meaningless point after kick failed but with only 12.5 seconds left the deal was done and Boone Central/NG had struck down Norfolk Catholic 32-16.
As it has been for the last 2 seasons, the magic of Wyatt Mazour led his Cardinal troops to yet another victory. The once-in-a lifetime player rushed 22 times for a 100 yards and a TD and completed 12 of 21 passes for 230 yards and 2 more scores. Backfield mate Joseph Brugger added 109 yards on 29 touches and 2 Tds. Mazour's 12 pass completions were split up by 4 receivers, all quick, sure handed, and shifty.
Norfolk Catholic, who suffered only their 1st loss of the season, was paced by Seth Montag who ran 15 times for 69 yards. David Englehaupt, a 215 pound battering ram junior, chipped in with 56 yards on 16 carries.
Now it is sit and wait time for both of these teams as Friday nights contests will be completed and the C-1 playoff picture will take shape. Both Boone Central/NG and Norfolk Catholic appear to have 1st round home games secured.
Wyatt Mazour increased his 2014 passing total to 1,481 yards and 19 touchdowns and his rushing numbers to 1,107 with 17 scores. And how 'bout some serious props for that Cardinal "O" line of Michael Lipker, Joe O'Brien, Jacob Krings, Isaac Sullivan, and Noah Weidner.
A fitting way to send retiring ace had coach Arnie Johnson out with a perfect 9-0 regular record. But the mission will not be complete until the Cardinals secure a C-1 State Title in Lincoln. Stay tuned. Lots of football left.
Norfolk Catholic (8-1) ...................................... 0 9 7 0--16
At Boone Central/NG (9-0) .............................. 6 6 7 13--32
BC: Kyle Kramer 15 pass from Wyatt Mazour (kick failed)
NC: FG Chase Farlee 21
BC: Joseph Brugger 10 run (kick failed)
NC: David Engelhaupt 2 run (kick failed)
NC: Engelhaupt 1 run (Farlee kick)
BC: Zac Glidden 20 pass from Mazour (Kramer kick)
BC: Mazour 1 run (Kramer kick)
BC: Brugger 1 run (kick failed)