When: 2:45 p.m. Monday
Where: Memorial Stadium, Lincoln. All seats in West Stadium; Exeter-Milligan in sections 21 to 25; Elgin/Pope John in sections 27 to 31.
Live streaming video: Online at NEPrepZone.com
Radio: KTMX (104.9 FM, York), KBRX (102.9 FM, O’Neill), KXPN (1460 AM, Kearney), KICS (1550 AM, Hastings)
When No. 7 Exeter-Milligan (12-0) has the ball: Coach Dean Filipi’s Timberwolves, who average 48.5 points a game, have thrived in the playoffs despite shuffling positions because of a broken hand by then-starting quarterback Nolan White. He’s restricted to defense, so James Sluka has moved from running back to quarterback and Kyle Jensen has become the full-time starter at running back. Jensen is 62 yards away from 1,000 yards rushing. E/PJ, which is allowing nine points a game, has 27 takeaways, including six pickoffs by Ross Schindler. Lee Bartak and Trent Hoefer help anchor the Wolfpack defense.
When No. 2 Elgin/Pope John (12-0) has the ball: Coach Carlie Wells’ Wolfpack, who average 53 points a game, are quarterback-based with Schindler throwing for 654 yards and running for a team-high 1,113 yards and 28 touchdowns. Blake Anderson has 684 yards and 15 scores. Exeter-Milligan, which is allowing 16 points a game, has a ballhawk in Jensen (8 interceptions, 4 fumble recoveries). White, Robert Androyna and Jensen are their team’s tackle leaders.
Stu’s pick: Exeter-Milligan has beaten higher-ranked teams twice to get to its first final, including a two-touchdown rally against BDS. Elgin/Pope John rolled through the west bracket in comparison. The Wolfpack have the edge because they’re the veterans with title game experience and have a stellar defense.