Monday Rewind: Back on Track

Elkhorn North rebounded from its week four loss and downed brand new Omaha Westview 49-6 on Thursday night

On the heels of its 24-20 loss to Grand Island Northwest the previous week, the Wolves were able to put another game in the win column after defeating the Omaha Westview Wolverines with a score of 49-6. Elkhorn North, for the second time this year, faced a brand new school in which was not composed of seniors. This time, unlike Lincoln Northwest, Westview was absent of juniors. Although things got off to a shaky start for Elkhorn North which included a Westview touchdown to take an early lead, the Wolves bounced back quickly and controlled the rest of the game, leaving no doubt on the field. 

Elkhorn North kicked off to the blasting sound of “Narco” over the speakers at Elkhorn Stadium. Excitement in the stands and on the sidelines ran high. However, the Wolverines quickly caught the Elkhorn North defense sleeping and was able to make it pay right off the bat. 

Westview elected to pound the ground game hard on its first drive, and it ended up exploiting the Wolves defense. A huge gain by sophomore running back Blake Smith put the Wolverines inside the Wolves’ 30 yard line, well inside Elkhorn North territory. A few plays later, Smith punched it into the end zone, leaving everyone stunned. An attempted two point conversion failed, but the Wolverines led 6-0 early in the game. 

However, Westview’s edge didn’t last long. In fact, they would never score again. Elkhorn North responded with a quick punch back at the Wolverines with a three play drive, composed of two Christian Young runs and a Chase Loftin touchdown reception. The score was 7-6.

On the ensuing Westview drive, Jett Tingelhoff intercepted a pass and ran it back to the house for a pick-six, but the touchdown was called back on the first of many penalties for Elkhorn North throughout the game. Nevertheless, Tingelhoff scored on a rushing play moments later to extend the Elkhorn North lead to 14-6 with 6:38 to go in the first quarter.

By this point, the Elkhorn North defense was back in full force, severely limiting Westview. The Wolves forced a three-and-out and Christian Young scored his first of three touchdowns during the game only a few minutes later. The scoreboard read 21-6, Elkhorn North with the lead, as the second quarter began.

It didn’t take long for the Wolves to continue to build upon their lead in the second quarter. A muffed punt from Westview gave the Wolves the ball inside the five yard line which led to another Young touchdown run. The Wolves had the advantage, 28-6, with 11:30 to go in the second quarter.

Westview put together a decent looking drive on its next possession. The Wolverines found success in short comeback routes with nicely thrown passes by a young, talented quarterback in Luke Shaffer. Smith found some more success on the ground, albeit there were hardly any holes in the stellar Elkhorn North defense. Despite this, Westview would have to punt yet again with seven minutes to go in the half.

Loftin, who was clearly the number one target for Elkhorn North’s Josh Basilevac on Thursday night, caught another touchdown pass which was called back due to an ineligible man downfield penalty. It was the second Elkhorn North touchdown in the game erased by a penalty. 

It didn’t matter, though, as a couple of substantial gains from Tingelhoff set up a Basilevac touchdown run to make it 35-6, Wolves with the lead with 3:19 remaining on the first half clock. This ended up being the score at halftime, as Elkhorn North headed to the locker room with all the momentum in the world.

The second half ended up being relatively uneventful and moved unusually quickly as Elkhorn North only scored two more touchdowns, but continued to keep the Wolverines contained to six points. A deep downfield catch by Loftin set up Young’s third touchdown run of the day to make it 42-6 with 10:12 to go in the third quarter.

By this point, Elkhorn North knew it had all but won the game and decided to let its foot off the gas pedal a little bit. Subs began to enter the game and several younger players were able to obtain some key experience. Junior Johnny Ferguson looked impressive at the quarterback position and made some solid plays on the ground. 

The Wolves scored their final touchdown of the night at the beginning of the fourth quarter in which Tingelhoff caught a short pass and proceeded to make several defenders miss for a highlight-reel type of play. Elkhorn North bled clock after that and the final score read 49-6. The Wolves improved to 4-1 while the Wolverines dropped to 1-4.

Ultimately, it was a well executed game in which the Wolves essentially left no doubt after the first few minutes. The fact that Elkhorn North was able to regain momentum and confidence after the previous loss to GI Northwest is important considering the Wolves will face rival and Class B top five opponent Elkhorn High this week. 

This week’s game will certainly be competitive. If the Wolves can limit penalties and turnovers, they will have a massive opportunity to beat the Antlers. Getting injured Cole Sharar and Tommy Meckna back to full strength for Friday’s match-up is also a priority. The Antlers are looking for three straight against the Wolves. Elkhorn North is searching for that first win against the rival school. We will see on Friday.