BLOOMFIELD — Braden Eisenhauer was just too much for the Hartington-Newcastle Wildcats to handle Wednesday night.
The speedy all-stater carried the ball across the goal line for four first-half touchdowns to lead the Bees to a 50-20 playoff win over the Cats on a cold and windy night which saw the first snow of the season. He ended the night with 232 rushing yards. He also threw the ball for 41.
Bloomfield, 10-0, now advances to the quarterfinals, while HNS ends the season at 6-4.
After forcing the Cats to a three-and-out on their opening drive, the Bees got the ball back in great field position as a stiff wind and a poor punt ended up rolling backwards for a one-yard loss.
Two plays later, Eisenhauer took the option and headed off to the races on a 23-yard TD jaunt around the right end. The two-point conversion pass was mis-handled and the Bees led 6-0 just two-and-a-half minutes into the game.
The swarming Bee defense forced another HNS three-and-out on the next series, but this time the
Cat defense was able to hold Eisenhauer and the potent Bee offense to a single 28-yard gain before forcing the Bees to punt.
The Purple Pride finally got the offense clicking on its next drive, picking up their first first down of the game. The drive started with a pair of seven-yard runs by Carson Sudbeck and Shaye Morten. Coby Heitman picked up three more yards on an end-around, but Morten overthrew Jake Peitz on 3-6 to force another punt.
Bloomfield sandwiched a pair of Eisenhauer runs around a five-yard Sauser run off tackle. The Bees then found paydirt again when Eisenhauer faked the handoff on a read option and cut through the heart of the Wildcat defense to score again. He also bulled his way over on the conversion play to make it 14-0 with 1:18 left in the first quarter.
The running of Heitman, Morten and Sudbeck enabled the Cats to put together a nine-play drive after that. The drive stalled out, though, when Morten and Peitz were unable to connect on a 3-6 pass play, forcing Morten to punt.
The Bees went back to their bread and butter game on their next drive, alternating runs between Eisenhauer, Sauser and Bruegeman to put together a 13-play scoring drive. The drive ended on a seven yard TD run by Eisenhauer with 4:19 left in the first half to give the Bees the 20-0 advantage.
On their next drive, the Cats turned the ball over downs giving the Bees good field position. Eisenhauer only needed two plays to find the endzone this time. He opened the series with a five-yard gainer, then broke down the sidelines for a 29-yard TD scamper on the next play to give the Bees a 28-0 lead.
Morten and Jake Peitz were finally able to hook up on the Cats next possession. The duo combined for a 24-yard pass play to open the drive. Morten then hit Carson Sudbeck on a 14-yard pass play to move the sticks again. Runs by Heitman and Morten then put the ball in the Red Zone. Morten put the Cats on the scoreboard when he connected with a wide open Sam Harms in the middle of the endzone with just seven seconds left in the first half to make it 28-6 at the break.
The Wildcats came out of the break fired up, forcing Bloomfield to a three-and-out on its opening drive. The Wildcat offense then used that momentum to put together a six-play scoring drive. The Cats found paydirt on a third-and-nine play off a play-action pass from Morten to Jake Peitz. Peitz snagged the ball over the middle and rambled in for the score. The two-point conversion pass was knocked away at the last second, making it 28-12 with 7:27 left in the third quarter.
Sauser and Eisenhauer continued their exhibition on the next Bee drive, which ended with a six-yard Eisenhauer TD run with 4:09 left in the frame. The two-point conversion play gave the Bees an impressive 36-12 lead.
HNS has another good 11-play drive after that. The drive stalled out, though, deep in Bloomfield territory and the Cats turned the ball over on downs.
Bloomfield sealed the win in the final frame with two more TD plays.
The Cats got their final score of the night on a 20-yard pass to Jake Peitz with just 19 seconds left in the game.
Hartington-Newcastle 0 6 6 8 - 20
Bloomfield 14 14 8 14 - 50