Omaha North ground game wears down Kearney

Kearney Bearcats come together before the Nebraska Class A state championship on Nov. 21, 2017 at Memorial Stadium in Lincoln, Neb. (KHGI)

LINCOLN --- Omaha North gashed Kearney for 413 yards rushing in a 27-20 come-from-behind victory Tuesday night at Memorial Stadium to win the Class A championship.

Kearney kicker Gabe Heins missed a 23-yard field goal with 1:05 left in the fourth quarter to take the lead. North subsequently drove 80 yards in 47 seconds to score the go-ahead touchdown, a Zander Gray rush from 17 yards out.

It looked as though Kearney was on its way to a state championship until the fourth quarter. Trailing 20-7, the Vikings got two quick scores. Houston Fogelstrom hit Vernon Johnson for a 36-yard pass at the 10:51 mark and then 2:56 later, Milton Sargbah hit a 56-yard touchdown run to tie it up at 20.

North appeared ready to rumble from the get-go as Sargbah, the senior running back, broke off a 60-yard run on the Vikings' first offensive play. But Kearney was able to bow-up in the red zone and stop Omaha North on a fourth down attempt from the Kearney 12-yard line.

The game took a huge momentum turn in the second quarter when Hunter Novacek blocked a punt for Kearney and Isaiah Stalbird picked it up at the 2-yard line and scored the first touchdown for Kearney.

Kicker Gabe Heins hit two field goals for Kearney who took a 10-7 lead into the half and boosted it to 13-7 in the third quarter. The Bearcat lead increased to 13 points after a 15-yard run by Miko Maessner midway through the third gave Kearney a 20-7 lead.

This is the first runner-up finish for the Bearcats, while the Vikings have won their third state championship in five years.

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