BLOOMFIELD, Neb. — Braden Eisenhauer racked up five touchdowns to lead Bloomfield past Hartington-Newcastle 50-20 in the second round of the Nebraska Class D2 playoffs on a bitter night in Bloomfield.
Eisenhauer’s five touchdowns were the first five of the day for the Bees (10-0) and they all came on the ground. Bloomfield rarely threw the ball, relying on Eisenhauer and running backs Tyson Sauer and Cody Bruegman to carry the offensive workload. Bruegman added two rushing scores in the fourth quarter.
“It didn’t matter if it was Cody (Bruegman) or (Tyson) Sauser or Mr. Do-it-all (Eisenhauer) running the ball,” Bloomfield head coach Matt Kuchar said, “our offensive line did a great job.”
At kickoff, there were snow flurries and a decent north wind. The first drive of the game for Hartington-Newcastle (6-4) was from south-to-north, and finished with a punt straight up into the night sky for little to no net yardage.
Eisenhauer and company took advantage of the short field. Eisenhauer’s first touchdown came on a 20 yard scamper. Before the end of the quarter, another short punt by the Wildcats allowed for a second score from Eisenhauer, this time from 22 yards.
Both teams were held in check for the first seven and a half minutes of the second before Eisenhauer ran for two more scores (10 and 29 yards). With 1:35 to go in the half, it looked like Bloomfield was going to run away with it.
Hartington-Newcastle figured out the passing game on the ensuing possession, and with seven second left, quarterback Shaye Morten connects with Sam Harms for a 6-yard touchdown. Going into the half, the score was 28-6.
To open up the second half scoring, Morten connected on a 39-yard touchdown pass to Jake Peitz, and the score was 28-12. The Wildcats had momentum on their side and looked like they had another stop until Bloomfield pulled a screen-play out of their hats, and converted a third down and long play.
We were down 28-0 and we got it back to 28-12,” Hartington-Newcastle head coach Corey Uldrich said. “They had third-and-long and I thought we had another opportunity to get a stop and they dialed up a really nice screen pass play.”
The screen-play led to a fifth touchdown for Eisenhauer, and a 36-12 lead for the Bees. Bruegman’s touchdowns sealed the game in the fourth. Peitz hauled in a second touchdown catch, this time from 20 yards out, with 19 seconds left, but it was too little, too late for the Wildcats.
Eisenhauer rushed for 223 yards and threw for 41. Bruegman added 55 yards and Sauser 24. Sauser contributed 45 receiving yards for the Bees.
Hartington-Newcastle saw their season come to a close Wednesday night, but Uldrich said he was proud of the strides the young, inexperienced group made throughout the season.
“With the 27 guys we had, I think, four of them played football at the varsity level,” Uldrich said. “We were very young and very inexperienced when we started. Our first game against Chambers-Wheeler Central was a lot different than the way we have played late in the year.”
As for Bloomfield, they continue their season next Tuesday at home. The Bees as the second seed host the number three seed Falls City Sacred Heart (10-0).
“Like I told the boy over here, the first time we played them, they kicked the snot out of us,” Kuchar said. “The second time we played them, it was disappointing we lost by one. So I looked at them, they looked pretty excited, and was like, third time’s the charm.”
Follow @BaileyZubke on Twitter