Neligh-Oakdale jumped out to a strong start on Friday, but the Clarkson/Leigh rushing attack was able to wear down the Warriors and complete a comeback.
Neligh-Oakdale jumped out to a 14-6 lead after the first quarter thanks to an 18-yard connection from Hunter Charf to Julien Hearn and an Andrew Herley scoring run, but they were unable to find the end zone again until the fourth. By that point, C/L was already up 26-14. The Patriots were able to hold on in the end for the 36-20 win.
"We got off to a good start offensively. We are still making too many mistakes over the course of a game. When we turn it over three times and not being able to make them turn it over, that is the difference in the game," said Warrior head coach Ron Beacom.
The loss marks the second-straight week that Neligh-Oakdale jumped out to a lead only to come out on the wrong end of the score board. Beacom contributes that to his team's youth and says they are learning as they grow.
"Our youth really shows at times," he said. "We're still trying to figure out what it means to compete for four quarters at the varsity level. We put up a good fight for about a half with a top five rated team last week and at times played winning football tonight. However, we don't have a lot of room for error. So, each kid has to give his best effort on every play. It is something we are getting better at, but we're not quite there yet."
Overall, the Neligh-Oakdale offense looked strong throughout the game. Charf connected on 63.6 percent of his passes for 203 yards and two touchdowns, both to Hearn.
Herley led the way on the ground with 15 carries for 88 yards. Colton Klabenes added 15 more yards on five carries for the Warriors.
Hearn was the top target of Charf on the night, pulling in four catches for 99 yards and both scores. Austin Rice pulled in five grabs of his own, going for 79 yards. Herley finished with three catches for 13 yards and Beau Murray had two catches for 12 yards.
For the second week in a row, Rice and Nate Buck each recorded a sack on defense. Herley led the way with 17 tackles, seven solo. Kaleb Pofahl added 12 while Hearn and Klabenes each finished with nine.
Julian Hearn makes the catch and runs in for the first touchdown of the game for the Warriors.