The state football playoffs begin tonight for the C and D classes, meaning four Lincoln County teams begin their quest for a state championship. The St. Patrick’s Irish are unbeaten and the third seed in the West bracket in class C2, hoping to advance one step further after state semifinal appearances the last two years. They host Centura tonight in their first round game. ESPN Radio 1410 will have all the action, with pregame coverage at 6:30 and the kickoff at 7 PM. Also tonight in the class C2 playoffs, twelfth-seeded Hershey hopes to reverse a seven-point regular season loss to Perkins County when they visit the fifth-seeded Plainsmen. In class D1, thirteenth-seed Maxwell also wants to avenge a regular season loss as they travel to battle Paxton. And in class D2, twelfth-seeded Wallace heads north to Oshkosh to play unbeaten fifth-seeded Banner County.
#9 Chase County (5-3) @ #8 Ord (5-3) – 6 PM – The physical Longhorns won three of their last four in the regular season, while the Chanticleers lost two of their last three.
#13 Gothenburg (4-4) @ #4 Cozad (6-2) – 7 PM – The Haymakers topped the Swedes 42-7 in the regular season, with Jake Paulsen’s big night helping to spoil homecoming in Gothenburg. But the Swedes made the state quarterfinals last season and they’ll hope to have a similar surprise run in them this time.
#12 Hershey (4-4) @ #5 Perkins County (7-1) – 6 PM (mountain time) – The Plainsmen held off the Panthers 14-7 in the regular season. Can the Hershey defense duplicate their outstanding effort against Perkins County star QB Elliot Carlson?
#14 Centura (4-4) @ #3 St. Patrick’s (8-0) – 7 PM – The Irish went unbeaten in the regular season for the seventh time. Their defense has allowed just 38 points in eight games this season. LISTEN LIVE on ESPN Radio 1410.
#9 SMC (6-2) @ #8 Elm Creek (7-1) – 6:30 PM – It’s the first trip to the playoffs for the Stapleton-McPherson County co-op, who won three straight games to close their regular season.
#12 South Loup (3-5) @ #5 Arapahoe (8-0) – 6 PM – The Bobcats had an up-and-down regular season marred by injuries but won their season finale and are playoff experienced, having reached the quarterfinals the last two seasons.
#13 Maxwell (3-5) @ #4 Paxton (6-2) – 6 PM (mountain time) – The Tigers trounced the Wildcats 54-18 in the regular season thanks to big plays in special teams. Each of Maxwell’s losses this year came to playoff teams.
#12 Wallace (5-3) @ #5 Garden County (8-0) – 4 PM (mountain time) – The Wildcats are back in the playoffs for the tenth time in eleven years.
#13 Potter-Dix (5-3) @ #4 Medicine Valley (8-0) – 5 PM – The Raiders, led by star QB Riley Garey, made the quarterfinals last season and are hungry for more this year.
#14 Hayes Center (4-4) @ #3 Kenesaw (7-1) – 6 PM – The high-powered Cardinals have scored over 50 points four times this season – but they’ve also allowed over 50 points four times.
#10 Mullen (5-3) @ #7 Spalding/Spalding Academy (5-3) – 6 PM – The Broncos shook off a slow start and won four of their last five to get back to the postseason.