In his first varsity start, freshman quarterback Ben Weindel engineered two late touchdown drives that gave Millard North a 17-16 victory over Papillion-LaVista, keeping the Mustangs in the hunt for a playoff berth.
Trailing 10-3 at the start of the fourth quarter, Weindel led Millard North on a 16-play, 81-yard touchdown drive to tie the game. Midway through the possession, Millard North faced a 1st-and-34 after consecutive penalties pushed them back. On the next play, Weindel raced around the right end for 33 yards. Junior fullback Andrew Bednar plowed ahead for two yards on second down to secure the conversion on the ensuing play.
The drive was punctuated by Weindel’s 7-yard scamper, Millard North’s only touchdown in regulation. Weindel finished with 144 yards rushing on 26 carries.
The first half was all Papillion-LaVista. The Monarchs opened the game with a 12-play, 46-yard march that ended in a 39-yard field goal by Kaden Alexander.
Millard North answered on its first possession with a 23-yard field goal from Miles Whitaker to tie the game 3-3. It would prove to be the only points scored by Millard North until late in the fourth quarter. In its next six possessions, Millard North would punt five times. The other was a one-play kneel down that ended the first half.
Papillion-LaVista took the lead with 3:36 remaining in the second quarter when quarterback Conner Barnett found Caden Kirby on a jump pass that went for 24 yards and a touchdown. The Monarchs led 10-3 at the break. They would hold that lead until Weindel’s fourth-quarter run.
Tied at 10, Millard North had the first possession in overtime. Facing a third down from the seven-yard line, Weindel threw just his second pass of the game. The pass found Noah Knoell in the left corner of the endzone, giving the Mustangs their first lead of the game. Whitaker’s PAT was good, giving Millard North a 17-10 advantage.
On Papillion-LaVista’s first play in overtime, Barnett dashed up the middle on the read-option for a 10-yard touchdown. It was Barnett’s 20th carry of the game, in which he finished with 82 yards on the ground. But Monarch head coach Randy Huebert elected to try for two instead of heading for a second overtime period.
On the play, Barret was tackled for a loss by defensive end Tyler Ross, among others, ending the game.
Millard North moves to 3-4 on the season and plays #1 Omaha Burke next week. The loss drops Papillion-LaVista to 3-4. The Monarchs had won three straight coming into the game.
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