MULLEN -- The Mullen Broncos and Sargent Bulldogs met on the gridiron for the second time this season. This game was not to decide the district champion, this meeting was for a guaranteed chance to play for the Class D2 state championship Monday morning at Memorial Stadium in Lincoln.
After playing each other in the season finale for the district title, the game plans for these teams were obvious. Mullen’s defense would need to slow down the high scoring rushing attack of Sargent, then on offense, sustain long drives to consume the minutes off the clock. Sargent’s defense would need to contain Mullen’s leading rusher, Zach Call and on offense create big plays for quick scores.
It did not take long for the game plans to unravel as Sargent took the early advantage in the first quarter. Ryan Mosier recovered a Mullen fumble then on Sargent’s first play on offense, Tyke Kozeal sprinted 54 yards for a touchdown. Kozeal’s PAT kick gave the Bulldogs an early 7-0 lead. Sargent scored again when Guy Fenske snuck for a 1-yard touchdown. With the PAT kick, Sargent took a 14-0 lead. Mullen put a drive together near the end of the first quarter but Sargent intercepted a pass inside their own 20-yard line.
The turnover led to Sargent’s third score capped by a G. Fenske to Kozeal 11-yard pass play for a 21-0 lead to begin the second quarter. Mullen finally got on the scoreboard with 67-yard drive which took 18 plays ending with a fourth and goal 1-yard run by Braden Storer. After the ensuing kickoff it took Sargent one play to answer Mullen’s score as G. Fenske rushed through the middle of Mullen’s defense for a 65-yard touchdown. Kozeal added the PAT giving Sargent a 28-6 halftime lead.
For Sargent the second half began like the first. Sargent scored quickly on their first possession with G. Fenske, again, rushing up the middle for a 70-yard touchdown. Ridge Horky caught the 2-point pass from Kozeal giving Sargent a 36-6 advantage. After both team traded possessions, Mullen reached the end zone on a Call 15-yard run ending a 9-play, 49-yard drive. Again, Sargent answered quickly as G. Fenske scored on another draw play, this time with a 64-yard run. Kozeal’s kick increased the lead to 43-12.
Mullen had the ball to begin the fourth quarter until G. Fenske recovered a fumble, turning the ball over to Sargent. Sargent turned the turnover into points with Kozeal scoring with a 5-yard run and adding the PAT kick. Mullen scored the final points of the game when Call finished the Bronco drive with an 8-yard run and 2-point run.
“The team came up with some big plays on offense,” said Sargent head coach Mike Kozeal. “We did an excellent job of spreading the field and running our spread option. Guy Fenske stepped up and had a superior game.”
The 50-20 final moved Sargent into the Class D2 State Championship game where they will face Howells who was a 40-20 winner over Giltner. Howells won the last two D1 state championship titles and is going for their third straight state championship.
Game time for the Class D2 championship between Sargent and Howells is at 10:15 a.m. Monday morning.
Mullen season ends at 10-2 with both losses to Sargent.
Score by Quarters
Sargent 14 14 15 7 - 50
Mullen 0 6 6 8 - 20
SAR - Kozeal 56 run (Kozeal kick)
SAR - G. Fenske 1 run (Kozeal kick)
SAR - Kozeal 11 pass from G. Fenske (Kozeal kick)
MUL - Storer 1 run (run failed)
SAR - G. Fenske 65 run (Kozeal kick)
SAR - G. Fenske 70 run (Horky pass from Kozeal)
MUL - Call 14 run (pass failed)
SAR - G. Fenske 64 run (Kozeal kick)
SAR - Kozeal 5 run (Kozeal kick)
MUL - Call 8 run (Call run)
Rushing: SAR - G. Fenske 8-223, Kozeal 15-87, Richards 1-6, Viers 3-3. MUL - Call 49-205, Vinton 15-74, Spurlin 2-13, Porath 1-6, Connealy 1-6, Storer 2-2, Gray 1-1.
Passing: SAR - G. Fenske 7-11-113. MUL - Storer 2-9-48-1, Call 0-1-0.
Receiving: SAR - Richards 1-38, Williams 3-36, Horky 2-28. MUL - Gray 2-48.