Burwell playing in D1 State Champinonship for fifth time in the last six seasons
Longhorns looking for second state title in program history
BURWELL, Neb. (KSNB) - At this point you can just about pencil in the Burwell Longhorns into the D1 State Football Championship before the season even begins.
The Longhorns are now playing for a state championship for the fifth time in the past six seasons.
“This is one of the harder places to get. It’s a long season, it’s a physical game and our guys just don’t seem to ever give up,” Burwell Football Coach Luke Gideon said. “We had our goal set pretty high again this year and we got to the game here that we wanted to get to, and I’m so proud of the guys.”
“It takes a lot of hard work, guys being dedicated and coming in here in the summer and working hard,” Senior Quarterback Barak Birch said. “The mindset is just the mindset of being a champion and being a winner and knowing what it takes.”
“I’m lucky to be a part of something this special, because you don’t see this every day and it’s just a great feeling,” Junior Offensive Lineman Carter Mann said.
Burwell enters the D1 State Championship game with a perfect 12-0 record, where they have won each game by an average of 30 points. While the Longhorns have been regulars in the title game, they have only come away with the first place trophy one time. Finishing as the runners-up the past two seasons, by a combined eight points in the contests, has only made them hungrier to come out on top Friday
“So it gives us the fire to come back and win and come out on top this time,” Birch said.
To get to this point, third seeded Burwell edges out second seeded Cross County 38-37. In the game, the Longhorns trailed 22-0 and committed four turnovers, but as they always do, they found away.
On the other side of the bracket, fourth seeded Dundy County-Stratton upset top seeded Tri-County to punch their ticket in the finals. Setting up a rematch of last year’s semifinal game with Burwell, in which the Longhorns won 28-10.
Burwell is the best seed remaining in Class D1, and because of that, they will host the championship game. While the team was looking forward to playing at Memorial Stadium, they’re just as jacked to play in their hometown.
“For us to come back and do it in our hometown and get a championship game here, that’s really meaningful to us too,” Gideon said. “I just think that’s cool because nobody ever thought you’d probably get that opportunity again.”
“It’s just an incredible feeling because we get to do it in front of our home fans,” Mann said. “Our entire town is just so supportive of this team, and we’re just really glad that we can do it for them and see if we can get the job done and make them proud.”
The game is set to kickoff in Burwell Friday at 5 p.m. We will have the highlights and sounds right here on Local 4.
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