Omaha Burke stayed unbeaten to open the 2018 season, winning 31-14 over fifth-ranked Millard West. Burke, the top-rated team in Class A, relied on its stalwart defense to thwart nearly every offensive possession by the visiting Wildcats.
Millard West opened the game on rocky ground, fumbling away its first two possessions. The second was converted into six points when Burke quarterback Tyler Chadwick found junior wide receiver Xavier Watts for a 24-yard score. Watts hauled in the lofted pass and just managed to keep a foot down in the back of the end zone to put Burke ahead.
Millard West would not squander its next possession. A mix-up in coverage left wide receiver Dalys Beanum all alone, streaking down the right sideline. Quarterback Tristan Gomes took advantage and Beanum crossed the goal line from 36 yards out to tie the game at seven.
The Wildcats would not score again until the outcome was already decided.
The second quarter belonged to Burke. Running back James Burks capped a 6:26, 81-yard drive with a three-yard scamper to put the Bulldogs up for good. Chadwick found Michael Payne III on a 30-yard scoring toss just 50 seconds before the halftime break and the Bulldogs took a 21-7 lead into the locker room.
After the break, special teams proved to be an adventure for both sides. Following an exchange of punts, Burke lined up to kick it away for a second time in the quarter. But Millard West brought pressure and blocked the punt, setting up the offense with a first-and-ten inside the Burke 25. The drive went nowhere and Millard West was forced to settle for a field goal attempt. Kicker Sam Fedde’s blast was blocked by a leaping 6’5” Chris Hickman. Fellow four-star prospect Nick Henrich scooped the bouncing ball and scampered all the way inside the Millard West 30. With 1:54 left in the third, Burke kicker Collin Campin banged it through the uprights, giving Burke a 24-7 lead.
On the ensuing possession, the Millard West punt was muffed by Burks, again setting up Millard West inside Burke territory. However, the drive would stall on a failed fourth down try inside the red zone.
After trading possessions, including a fumble by Henrich at the Millard West one-yard line, Burke pushed its lead to 24 after reserve running back Tyreece Wynn darted in from 14 yards out.
Millard West would add a late touchdown on a three-yard dive by Gomes, but only nine seconds remained on the clock.
Omaha Burke improves to 2-0 on the season and returns to Gametime on YurView on September 14th to face defending state champion Omaha North. Millard West falls to 1-1 and must face the defending champs next week in a pivotal matchup.
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