North Platte St. Pat's struck quickly for two first quarter touchdowns and the defense did the rest on Thursday night in a 28-0 win over Centura in the first round of the Class C1 playoffs.St. Pat's defensive coordinator Brent Aufdenkamp quoted the late Oakland Raiders owner, Al Davis, to share his thoughts about the game.
"It's just win baby, this time of the year," said Aufdenkamp. "It was a good win. Centura played hard. They're a well-coached team and they have a lot of young kids who are going to keep getting better."
St. Pat's (9-0) got good field position to open the game, getting the ball at its own 46 yard line after a short kick by Centura.
Matthew Buhrman got the Irish going with a 13-yard carry on first down and then three plays later, quarterback Sean Keenan scored a touchdown on a bootleg to the left side from 35 yards out and it was 7-0.
After stopping Centura, St. Pat's scored again when Keenan found tight end Mark Mayfield open for a 34-yard touchdown that made it 14-0, just under seven minutes into the game.
But after falling behind, Centura (4-5) showed some resistance and the Centurions kept the Irish from adding to the lead for nearly the rest of the first half.
With two and a half minutes remaining in the first half, St. Pat's got the ball just inside Centura territory after rugby punt by Jake Hickok.
On first down, Brandon Niesen gained 10 yards to move the chains. The Centurions then forced the Irish to another fourth and one situation at the 30. But Keenan drew the defense offside to get another first down with 1:30 left.
Niesen got to the 17 on the next play and that is where the senior running back scored from two plays later, giving St. Pat's a 21-0 lead 42 seconds before halftime.
Centura couldn't get much done, offensively. But it had a grand opportunity to get some momentum after blocking Joseph Clinch's punt and recovering at the Irish 11 with two minutes left in the third quarter.
The Centurions were called for holding on first down before getting just past the original line of scrimmage on a reverse to the left side by Jacob Osburn.
Travis Holcomb got a combined five yards on the next two carries to set up fourth and four at the five yard line.
But Holcomb, running up the middle as the quarterback in the Wildcat formation was stuffed for no gain and St. Pat's remained unscathed for the rest of the game.
With six minutes left in the game, the Irish added another score for good measure with Niesen scoring from three yards out.
Niesen set up his second touchdown by intercepting Centura quarterback Michael Hansen and returning it to the nine.
Aufdenkamp said that he liked what he saw from his team and he was impressed by the resolve Centura, who only had three seniors this season, showed.
"We've got some things that we're going to fix," he said. "Hopefully, Centura exposed some things that we can see on film and fix. I want to give Centura a lot of credit. They played tough. They're a good young team."
On Halloween night, St. Pat's will host West Holt in its second round game of the playoffs at Knights of Columbus Field. West Holt (7-2) outlasted Battle Creek 13-6 in its first round game on Thursday.
Centura 0 0 0 0 - 0
St. Pat's 14 7 0 7 - 28
SP-Sean Keenan 35 run (Brandon Niesen kick), 10:20
SP-Mark Mayfield 34 pass from Keenan (Niesen kick), 5:12
SP-Niesen 17 run (Niesen kick), :42
SP-Niesen 3 run (Niesen kick), 6:01