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10/31/2014 - CLASS B FOOTBALL PLAYOFF: Gretna Outshines Pius X

By Jeff Motz

GRETNA---Lincoln Pius X held on as long as they could Friday night before things slipped away, as Gretna pulled out a few tricks on Halloween.

The Dragons' offense racked up 511 total yards and big plays helped them to a 49-34 victory over the Thunderbolts in the opening round of the Class B football playoffs.

Gretna quarterback Jared Samuelson used a aerial attack on the Pius X defense, finding receiver Nate Skrdla for a 51-yard touchdown pass on one play and found receiver Ricky Johnson for a short 12-yard TD reception.  

The Dragons built up a 14-3 first quarter lead before the Thunderbolts responded with Colton Abendroth's 46-yard touchdown run.  Gretna took control in the second quarter with two more touchdowns and built up a 28-10 halftime lead.

A slight momentum shift early in the third quarter helped Pius X narrow the gap to 28-20, after a 1-yard touchdown run from Abendroth and a 25-yard field goal from kicker Nathan Asselin.  

Gretna took a 35-20 lead when Samuelson scored on a 13-yard touchdown run with 31 seconds remaining in the third quarter to cap a 75-yard, three play drive.  Pius X had the ball to start the fourth quarter and ended a 70-yard drive with a quarter back sneak from Ethan Andersen.

But Gretna scored two straight touchdowns in the fourth quarter to put the game out of reach.  Emmitt Knight, who had 14 carries for 135 yards, scored on a 40-yard run and Trent Jeary intercepted a Pius X pass, setting up a short 21-yard scoring drive capped off three plays later on an 18-yard touchdown run from Dustin Matlock with 2:29 left and a 49-26 lead.

Pius X finished their final drive strong, with an 8-yard touchdown pass from Andersen to Cory Liesch.  Gretna took to a knee twice to run out the clock and earn the win.

Pius X finishes the season at 4-6, while Gretna (9-1) advances to next Friday's quarterfinals against Elkhorn.

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