LINCOLN – The Johnson-Brock football team fell behind by 20 in the first quarter, but scored 36 unanswered points and rallied to defeat Mullen, 56-26, in the Class D2 state championship game at Memorial Stadium in Lincoln on Monday.
The Eagles gave up 117 yards on 12 carries and all three Mullen touchdowns to running back Lane Edis in the first 10 minutes.
“We were fanning out too far and letting him do what he wanted,” Johnson-Brock junior Ty Hahn said. “He was getting yard after yard. We did some things to try to contain him, which we knew was going to be really hard because he’s a great player, but we tried our best and got some good stops.”
Edis, who broke his father’s – Wade – single season school record for rushing yards in a season in the first quarter (2,861), finished with 263 yards and four touchdowns. He needed 130 yards to grab the new mark. The 180-pound senior suffered a rib injury in the first half, but finished the game and ends his career with 6,966 career rushing yards and a school record 146 touchdowns.
“Things were looking good in the first quarter,” said Mullen coach Mitch Pfeiffer, whose team finished 12-1. “We were getting off the ball good and had some things go our way, but couldn’t keep the momentum.
“They were on their heels to start with and we knew there was a good chance they would regroup and get things going again.”
The Eagles defense wouldn’t allow another score until 4:10 left in the third quarter, forcing two interceptions and a pick-six from Hahn.
Hahn finished with 120 rushing yards, 116 receiving yards and four total touchdowns. He added 14 tackles on defense.
“We were not really surprised. Mullen is a really good team,” Hahn said. “But being down 20-0, we were surprised by that score. In all honestly we thought we would be able to hit them hard coming out of the gate, but they did it to us.
“We’ve faced adversity. We were down to (Falls City) Sacred Heart in Week Eight, so we’ve faced this before. Being down 20-0, you don’t see a lot of comebacks from that. Some teams lay down. We said, ‘Hey, once we get our offense going we’re getting back into this thing.’”
Quarterback Cole Fossenbarger completed 19-27 of his passes for 329 yards and four touchdowns. He started the game 2-8, but finished 17-19. He finishes his senior season with 2,969 yards, 56 touchdowns and 2 interceptions – both coming during the title game.
Tight end Dylan Rowe had 5 receptions for 101 yards and a touchdown, and Kaden Glynn also had 5 grabs for 88 yards and two scores.
Seniors Shane Westhart and Seth Moerer both had 12 tackles. Westhart added 2 tackles for loss.
The defensive stop of the game was Hahn and Fossenbarger tackling Edis for a 1-yard loss on fourth-and-1 at the Mullen 35 to open the second half. Hahn briefly left with a neck stinger, but, without his top receiver, Fossenbarger hit running back Dylan Rowe on the next play for a touchdown and a 28-20 lead.
“We didn’t really change anything (after 20-0). We got the ball to our playmakers,” Eagles coach Mitch Roberts said. “I think we were a little timid, afraid to turn the ball over. We opened up the passing game with some slants and short routes to pull those linebackers out and then we were able to run the ball.”
Johnson-Brock (13-0) wins their first state football title in school history. They scored at least 50 points or more in every game this season. No team was within two touchdowns of the Eagles all year.
Mullen (12-1) …………………… 20 0 6 0—26
Johnson-Brock (13-0) ……….. 8 14 20 14—56
M: Lane Edis 12 run (pass failed)
M: Edis 22 run (Ty Durfee pass from Brady Gracey)
M: Edis 36 run (run failed)
JB: Ty Hahn 56 run (Caleb Fossenbarger pass from Cole Fossenbarger)
JB: Kaden Glynn 15 pass from Cole Fossenbarger (pass failed)
JB: Glynn 52 pass from Cole Fossenbarger (Dylan Rowe pass from Cole Fossenbarger)
JB: Rowe 36 pass from Cole Fossenbarger (run failed)
JB: Hahn 9 pass from Cole Fossenbarger (Glynn pass from Cole Fossenbarger)
M: Edis 48 run (pass failed)
JB: Rowe 9 run (pass failed)
JB: Hahn 19 run (Rowe pass from Cole Fossenbarger)
JB: Hahn 20 interception return (run failed)
Rushing: M, Edis 37-263, Spencer DNaeyer 2-23, Zac Sweet 2-21, Brendon Walker 2-21, Ty Kvanvig 4-16, Gracey 6-14, Jade Lovitt 3-8, Sean Simonson 1-3, Jaden Emerson 1-0. JB, Hahn 12-120, Glynn 6-30, Hunter Oestmann 2-7, Rowe 4-1, Cole Fossenbarger 3-minus 8.
Passing: M, Gracey 8-19-2 104. JB, Cole Fossenbarger 19-27-2 329.
Receiving: M, Sweet 4-66, Ty Durfee 2-36, Clayton Hassett 1-6, Edis 1-0. JB, Hahn 7-116, Rowe 5-101, Glynn 5-88, Oestmann 1-13, Caleb Fossenbarger 1-11.
Tackles (unassisted-assisted-total): M, Edis 10-0-10, Kvanvig 2-4-6, Joshua Cx 3-3-6, Hassett 3-3-6, Walker 2-3-5, Teven Marshall 5-0-5, Durfee 2-3-5, Koby Walker 3-0-3, Sweet 0-2-2, Brandon Peters 1-1-1, Bryce McIntosh 1-1-2, Justin Wiens 1-0-1, Jared Finney 0-1-1, Jade Lovitt 0-1-1. JB, Hahn 9-5-14, Shane Westhart 8-4-12, Seth Moerer 7-5-12, Oestmann 4-7-11, Glynn 3-6-9, Rowe 5-1-06, Wyatt Volker 3-3-0, Cole Fossenbarger 4-1-5, Brendon Froisland 2-3-5, Caleb Fossenbarger 2-0-2, Kade Davis 1-0-0, Connor Smith 0-2-2, Joshua Hoff-Boring 0-1-1.
Interceptions-yards: M, Marshall 1-12, Sweet 1-0. JB, Hahn 2-19.
Follow Hunter on Twitter: @TheBurnRadio
The World-Herald News Service contributed to this report.