ELM CREEK – The Elm Creek Buffaloes survived the Eagles of Nebraska Christian, 24-22 to advance to the D1 quarterfinals. Xavier Perez scored three touchdowns, picked off the Eagle QB twice and the Buffalo defense forced four turnovers in the win.
Elm Creek grabbed an early 16-0 lead as Beau Knapp connected with Perez on a 39 yard touchdown pass. After an interception by Perez, the Buffaloes found the endzone on a 30 yard run by Perez. Nebraska Christian would respond, scoring on three straight drives before the end of the first half. Eagle tailback, Elijah Boersen scored on a 10 yard rushing touchdown and a 67 yard rushing touchdown. Quarterback Dayton Falk would end the first half with a five yard rushing touchdown, to give Nebraska Christian a 22-16 lead at the half. It would be the final time the Eagles would score.
Despite Knapp throwing an interception on the first play of the third quarter, Elm Creek would score on their next drive. Perez would gallop in from 26 yards out. The Buffalo defense would stiffen and force three more turnovers. Koby Smith, Carter Erickson and Perez each had one interception in the second half.
Perez ran 30 times for 191 yards and three total scores. Knapp completed 2 of 7 passes for 56 yards, a touchdown and one interception. Elm Creek committed five penalties for 43 yards.
Nebraska Christian was led by Boersen’s 166 yards rushing and two touchdowns. Falk passed for 84 yards, four interceptions and ran for 28 yards and one score.
Elm Creek (9-1) will play Cross County in the quarterfinal round on Nov. 6. Nebraska Christian ends the year with a 5-3 record.