When: 10:15 a.m. Monday
Where: Memorial Stadium, Lincoln. All seats in West Stadium; Giltner in sections 21 to 25; Humphrey St. Francis in sections 27 to 31.
Live streaming video: Online at NEPrepZone.com
Radio: KLIR (101.1 FM, Columbus), KXPN (1460 AM, Kearney), KICS (1550 AM, Hastings)
When No. 3 Giltner (12-0) has the ball: Coach Jeff Ashby’s Hornets, who average 64.8 points a game, have assembled the best passing attack by an eight-man team. Jake Findley has thrown for 3,508 yards and 62 touchdowns and rushed for 484 yards and 14 touchdowns. Kyle Hawthorne and Dustin Hastings have combined for 41 touchdown catches and four other receivers have four or more scores. St. Francis hasn’t been prolific in interceptions, with only four listed in its season statistics, but has gotten 14 fumble recoveries while holding opponents to 8.3 points a game. Jake Werner has six sacks and JJ Oltmer has a team-high 103 tackles.
When No. 2 St. Francis (12-0) has the ball: Coach Eric Kessler’s Flyers, who average 53 points a game, have thrown 42 passes all season. Their 1-2 punch in the backfield is JJ Oltmer (1,499 yards, 27 touchdowns) and Chad Haiar (794 yards, 16 TDs). Nathan Classen makes the offense go as quarterback. Giltner’s defense is allowing 18 points a game but has gotten 35 interceptions. Ashby believes his defense gets overshadowed by the gaudy offensive numbers. Ryan Kleier is the Hornets’ leading tackler.
Stu’s pick: Giltner hasn’t seen a defense the likes of the Flyers, but they haven’t defended an offense comparable to the Hornets. Both teams have size and speed up front, which was the downfall for No. 1 Falls City Sacred Heart against the Flyers in the semifinals. Giltner won 36-26 when the teams played last year and that seems a reasonable guess for the rematch.