The student news site of Creighton Preparatory School.

Jay Journal

The student news site of Creighton Preparatory School.

Jay Journal

The student news site of Creighton Preparatory School.

Jay Journal

RECAP: Controversy and Heartbreak

A look back at the Prep vs. Gretna football game.

After Prep got their first win of the year versus a gritty Millard North team last week, the Junior Jays came in with high hopes versus the #7 Gretna Dragons. Prep came in with a 1-2 record. All three games came against ranked teams in #1 Westside, #2 Bellevue West, and #9 Millard North. Gretna came in 2-0, dominating Burke and Central before taking on the Junior Jays. 

The game was an instant classic…with a controversial ending. 

Prep opened the game by forcing a punt from Isaiah Weber and the Gretna offense and after a 68-yard catch from Eddie Schafer, quarterback Tony Coniglio snuck in his first touchdown of the day.

Early in the second quarter, Coniglio got his second touchdown of the day on another quarterback sneak, resulting in Prep taking a 14-0 lead. The defense continued to swarm the Gretna offense. Gretna focused on establishing the ground game with Weber but could not get past the Jays. Weber finished the first half with 16 carries for only 48 yards. 

The Dragons passing game could not get past the Junior Jays defense either, as quarterback Alex Wilcoxson was picked off twice in the first half. Gretna finally broke through late in the half. After a fumble from Schafer in Prep territory, Weber ran in a 9-yard touchdown to cut the lead to 7 with less than a minute left. Both teams walked into the locker room with Prep up 14-7. 

Opening the second half, Prep running back Jacob Ruby took an 8-yard run for a touchdown, followed by Weber’s second touchdown, making the score 21-14 in favor of the Junior Jays. 

After the opening drive, Prep’s offense stalled, unable to score for the rest of regulation while Gretna’s Isaiah Weber was getting better and better, tying the game with his third touchdown midway through the fourth quarter. After a Coniglio fumble and a Wilcoxson interception, Prep’s Charlie Mangan had an opportunity to make a 37-yard field goal to win the game, but the kick was wide left.

For the first time this season, Prep headed to overtime. Neither team could separate after 1 overtime as both teams were limited to field goals. 

The second overtime is when things changed. 

Prep came looking for a breakthrough but found themselves on the back foot after Michael Scheef picked off Coniglio in the end zone. All Gretna needed was a field goal. Gretna handed the ball to Weber three times and prepared to kick a game-winner. The Dragons’ kicker, Cameron Bothwell had not missed, nailing all three extra points. This was a chip shot, something the Junior Jays had to block. Cornerback Henry Bartholomew broke through, blocking the kick. 

This was when the controversy started. The whistle was blown, Prep ran to the sideline celebrating, and Gretna took the football – not having been downed by Prep – into the end zone. It was determined that the referees blew an inadvertent whistle. 

After the referees had a long conversation, they decided on a rekick. Bothwell hit the field goal, Gretna won 27-24, and Prep walked off the field stunned.

Prep showed a lot of upside in this game. The defense played their best game of the year, allowing 21 points in regulation to a Gretna offense that averaged 38 points a game. They forced 3 interceptions from Wilcoxson and held Weber to his lowest rushing total of the year. 

The Prep offense showed some big play potential, highlighted by Schafer’s 68-yard grab. Prep also showed discipline, only having four penalties. Overall, the Junior Jays played a phenomenal Gretna team and showed they could keep up with some of the best teams in Nebraska. 

Prep is set to head to #3 Millard West this Friday. This game is the fifth top-ten team Prep has played this season. Luckily, the schedule should get easier after this game, with 3 of the final 4 teams being outside the top 10.

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