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'Cats, Bees are set for Playoff battle

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HARTINGTON — The Hartington-Newcastle Wildcats are headed to the Sweet 16.

The Wildcats opened up the D2 football playoffs with an emphatic 75-28 rout of visiting No. 10 seed Mead on a Halloween night that had the hosts bringing the scares all night long.

Now the seventh-seeded Wildcats head to Bloomfield at 6 p.m. Wednesday with a quarterfinal spot on the line only two weeks removed from a 46-36 road loss to the Bees two weeks ago.

“Bloomfield is tremendously physical, and they have a great QB/RB in Braden Eisenhauser,” Hartington-Newcastle head coach Cory Uldrich said. “They have good pieces around him in their skill positions (WR Dade Davis, RB Cody Bruegman), and they may get back their starting RB Logan Johnson from a foot injury.  Obviously, we know each other well, having just played each other.  I think each team will make some adjustments, and we’ll see which team comes up with more big plays to help move the game in their favor.”

This matchup comes at the perfect time after the Wildcats played lights out to open the playoffs as Bloomfield enters this contest on the heels of a 54-16 win over Pender.

A win in the rematch with the Bees would propel the Wildcats to their first quarterfinal appearance in the six years since the consolidation. 

A year ago, the program advanced to the second round for the first time.