In an exciting back and forth shootout that featured four lead changes and three ties, the Salina Bombers used a late fourth quarter 48-yard interception return for a touchdown to seal a 47-33 victory.
The scoring started on the first play from scrimmage for the Beef as quarterback Chuck Wright connected with wide receiver Rueben Linton for a 36-yard touchdown on the first offensive play of the game. After a successful extra point try and a Beef 7-0 lead, the Salina Bombers responded. Former Beef wide receiver OJ Simpson returned the ensuing kickoff 50 yards for a touchdown. The extra point attempt failed, and the Beef clung to a 7-6 lead.
After the teams traded failed drives, Salina took a 13-7 lead via a 24-yard touchdown pass from Bombers quarterback Chris Coffin to Anthony Parks. On the second play from scrimmage in the second quarter, Beef running back Travis Ribbing collected a short pass from Wright and evaded the defense en route to a 32-yard touchdown. The extra point attempt was blocked, making the score 13-13.
But as they did all night, the Bombers responded quickly and efficiently, via a 25-yard quick strike from Coffin to wide receiver Ira Autrey. The extra point attempt failed, giving the Bombers a 19-13 lead with just over 12 minutes left in the half.
The Beef put together their most complete offensive drive of the game, a 6-play, 33-yard effort that ended with an 8-yard touchdown pass from Wright to wide receiver Troy Brookins, making the score 20-19 Beef.
After the Bombers reclaimed the lead on an 11-yard pass from Coffin to Jared Elmore, making the score 26-20, the Beef cut the lead Bombers’ lead to three via a 41-yard Todd Adolf field goal.
The Omaha defense then compiled their best defensive series of the game. With 1:17 left in the half, the Bombers took possession and moved the ball down the field in four plays, setting themselves up for first and goal from the Omaha 8-yard line. After gaining six yards on the ensuing three plays, the series culminated in a fourth down attempt from the two-yard line.
Rather than attempting the short field goal, the Bombers rolled the dice. The Beef stiffened, and a pass attempt from quarterback Coffin to wide receiver Anthony Parks in the corner of the endzone was broken up, and the score remained 26-23 in favor of the Bombers.
Starting from their own two-yard line with 11 seconds left in the half, Beef quarterback Wright completed a quick pass to Travis Ribbing for a gain of 20 yards, setting up kicker Adolf. Despite a high snap, Adolf’s 43-yard field goal conversion to end the half was a bomb that would’ve been successful from 50+ yards. At halftime, the Beef had scratched back to even the score at 26-26.
The second half started with the Bombers making a concerted effort to establish the run. After three consecutive running plays, the Bombers used three straight passing plays and took a 33-26 lead on a 31-yard touchdown pass to OJ Simpson and a successful extra point.
The Beef’s ensuing 6-play, 21-yard scoring drive ate 4:03 off of the clock and was capped off by a one-yard quarterback sneak by Wright. The point-after evened the score at 33-33.
That drive turned out to be the final scoring of the game for the Beef. The Bombers ensuing 10-play, 45-yard drive to start the fourth quarter took 4:05 off the clock and a one-yard sneak by quarterback Coffin gave his team a 40-33 lead.
After moving the ball from the Beef 13-yard line to the Salina two-yard line during a potential game-tying drive, Bombers cornerback Ira Autrey intercepted a Wright pass attempt on the goalline and returned it 48 yards for a touchdown, giving the Bombers a two-score lead and the final margin of victory, 47-33.
Sides of Beef
- Beef running back Travis Ribbing rushed for 47 yards on 14 carries and caught 4 passes for 76 yards and a touchdown.
- Jesse Robinson led the defense with seven tackles, including one tackle for loss, and a pass breakup.
- Antonio Ficklin contributed three tackles, including the Beef’s only sack of the game.
- Kicker Todd Adolf shook off an early miss and confidently nailed filed goals of 41 and 43 yards.