BATTLE CREEK, NE —Battle Creek scored 14 points in the final four minutes to come back and beat top-seeded Ponca 24-20 at Bob Schnitzler Field on Friday night.
The win propels the Braves (8-3) to a semifinals matchup against Yutan. Ponca finishes their season 10-1.
It was a wild game that featured 10 combined turnovers, a blocked punt and a deflected punt.
Battle Creek capitalized on good field position following an interception on a halfback pass by the Indians. Quarterback Ty Heimes punched in a one-yard sneak to make it 7-0.
Ponca got the next two scores. First, Dalton Tremaine scored on a third down option play to get the Indians on the board. Later in the second quarter, Conner Day tallied a touchdown on a two-yard run to give Ponca a 14-7 lead.
Ryan Brauer knocked through a 28-yard field goal on Battle Creek’s opening drive of the second half to cut it to a four-point game.
The Indians extended their lead late in the third quarter. Heimes was picked off by Carter Kingsbury on an attempted screen pass to his wide receiver. Kingsbury took it 71 yards for a score to make it 20-10.
The Braves forced Ponca to punt with just under four minutes to play in the fourth quarter. Kingsbury’s punt was blocked by Austin Marx and recovered for a touchdown by Slate Kraft.
After forcing a three and out, Battle Creek got the ball back trailing by three points. Heimes lofted a pass to Stone Kraft, who made a leaping grab and trotted in for the go-ahead score.
Ponca threw an interception on the final play of the game.
The Braves’ win avenged an eight-point loss to Ponca from earlier in the season. Battle Creek has made the state semifinals five straight seasons.