Loss Ends Wolfpack Football Season

On a cold night on a field where the Elgin Public-Pope John football team had never played on before, the end of the football season came when the clock reached 00:00.
Neligh-Oakdale’s 30 to 16 victory over the Wolfpack ended EPPJ’s season while extending the Warriors’ year. The Wolfpack’s 3-5 record and their power-rating wasn’t good enough to qualify them for the State D-1 Football Playoffs and, thus, denied them a chance to defend the state championship they earned with a perfect record in each of the last two years. On the other side of the field, the Warriors’ players, coaches and fans celebrated the victory and a berth in the playoffs where they will face #1 seed Bruning-Davenport-Shickley (BDS) in the east half of the playoff bracket.
Neligh-Oakdale is just one of several teams whom the Wolfpack played this season who advanced to the state playoffs. Altogether, seven of the eight teams the Wolfpack played during the season qualified for the playoffs. In addition to the Warriors, Creighton, Randolph, Chambers/Wheeler Central, Nebraska Christian, Bloomfield and Niobrara/Verdigre all qualified for the playoffs. Of those teams, the Wolfpack posted victories over Bloomfield and Niobrara-Verdigre.
The last time the Wolfpack didn’t qualify for the state playoffs was in 2009. Another area team that wasn’t on the Wolfpack’s schedule, but qualifying for the playoffs was Clearwater-Orchard who finished with a 4-4 record.
First-round games to be played by area D-1 teams Thursday are:
Neligh-Oakdale (4-4) @ BDS (8-0) — 4 p.m.
McCool Junction (6-2) @ Randolph (7-1) — 6 p.m.
Bloomfield (5-3) @ Creighton (8-0) — 7 p.m.
Clearwater-Orchard (4-4) @ Overton (8-0) — 3 p.m.
South Loup (3-5) @ Chambers/Wheeler Central (5-3) — 4 p.m. at Chambers
Nebraska Christian (5-3) @ Burwell (7-1) — 7 p.m.
Niobrara-Verdigre (5-3) @ Elm Creek (7-1) — 4 p.m.
Second round games will be played Nov. 6. Quarter-finals will be held on Nov. 12. Semi-finals will be Nov. 18 with the championship game, set for Memorial Stadium in Lincoln on Nov. 25.