C is for cramping. W is not for Waverly.

The Elkhorn Antlers pull off a narrow win against the Waverly Vikings.

Head+Coach+Feickert+and+Assistant+Coaches+Rosenbaum+and+Hays+overjoyed+after+the+final+seconds+tick+off+the+clock.

Casey Schiessler

Head Coach Feickert and Assistant Coaches Rosenbaum and Hays overjoyed after the final seconds tick off the clock.

Jacob Uehling, Managing Print Editor

Starting back on their own half, Waverly drives up the field in under 36 seconds as their passing attack carves up the Elkhorn defense. As the clock hits zero and one final pass is hucked up into the air, the best Class B game of the week comes to an end in stunning fashion.

The Elkhorn offense wanted to come out firing off the ball, but instead, a costly false start left second-year head coach Dan Feickert in a tough situation.

“I talked to Bacus on the headset, and I said, ‘I did not expect on my fourth play of the season to make a fourth and one decision,’” Coach Feickert said.

This decision ended in a punt that netted around 20 yards due to the strong winds. Even with the favorable field position, Waverly was unable to find their stride and settled with a field goal. Even with two of the best kickers in Class B, this would end up being the only field goal of the night. 

The Elkhorn offense’s strong suit tells a story of old-school football, but their second drive tells the reason why. On a quick-out route, senior quarterback Connor Hunt’s ball was picked off, and Waverly’s Cooper Skrobecki waltzed into the end zone. With Waverly up ten early, this was a pivotal moment for Elkhorn if they wanted a fighting chance in their season opener. Elkhorn responded to this test with a demoralizing fumble by senior KJ Schenck as the first quarter came to the end. 

The hope for a fantastic game came from a player new to the system. The hope came from someone who watched his former school win a state championship as a freshman. Junior Audric Bermel, a Westside transfer, turned the tides of this matchup with a beautiful 84-yard pick-six. This play was the turning point of the game as Elkhorn would go on to put up a show the next drive.

“I know we get the knock for being boring, but we went on a 19-play drive that netted 100 yards because of penalties. Being on the receiving end of a 19-play 100-yard drive, there is nothing more demoralizing. So, in the second quarter, Waverly knew right then that they could not match us in the trenches,” Coach Feickert said.

The Elkhorn way to dominate in the trenches worked as they went up 14-10. This domination was without senior stud offensive lineman Jaxson Ninete, who will be back for the Norris game. Waverly was able to put up one final score, hoping it would be the nail in the coffin during the third quarter to go up 17-14, but Elkhorn would not be put away that easily.

With just over three minutes left in the fourth quarter, a miss-snap on a punt gave Elkhorn the opening they needed. With 3:23 left in the fourth, Elkhorn went back to the bread and butter and gave the ball to Schenck six times during the final drive, and he capped the drive off with a beautiful score. Elkhorn went up 21-17.

Waverly drove down the field with their high-flying passing attack and a lucky penalty. A desperation throw fell just short, and Elkhorn ended their opening game with a narrow victory.

In a game with more pick-sixes than field goals and enough cramping to go around, the slow methodical Antler offense came away with the victory as they rushed the ball 46 times for 253. 

Elkhorn looks to write a similar story this Thursday as they take on the Norris Titans at home. Norris lost their nail-biter versus Seward, and they’re hoping for a redemption tour at 1409 Veterans Drive.

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