ELM CREEK — The Burwell Longhorns laid siege to Elm Creek Wednesday night, and eventually the walls came tumbling down.
Jase Williams, a 215-pound senior running back, rushed for 208 yards and three touchdowns as Burwell avenged a regular-season loss to the Buffaloes, winning 50-13 in the second round of the Class D1 playoffs.
It didn’t start well for the Longhorns or Williams. A botched punt by Elm Creek gave Burwell the ball at the 5-yard line. Williams made it to the 1-yard-line on his first carry, but that’s where Elm Creek slammed the door, stopping Williams twice and quarterback Barak Birch once.
“The goal-line stand at the beginning of the game gave us a lot, gave me a lot of hope for this game,” Elm Creek coach Jayce Dueland said. “Then us taking that drive right after and scoring on a long run, I thought we started really hot.
Three plays after Elm Creek took over, quarterback Karsten McCarter turned the corner around the right end and went 74 for the game’s first score.
But McCarter’s next carry resulted in an ankle injury and even though he came back in the second half, Elm Creek’s fate had been decided.
“It’s Karsten’s senior year. We thought we could at least try to throw with him. But he couldn’t get a push with his right foot and even throw it,” Dueland said. “It makes it tough because it makes you one dimensional, especially when you’re in an option team and you have to run the quarterback.”
McCarter got sacked a couple times in the second half and finished with 53 yards rushing and no completions. His teammates had similar difficulties and the team finished with 63 yards of total offense.
Meanwhile, Williams and the Longhorns ran downhill.
In spite of Elm Creek’s goal-line stand, Burwell coach Luke Gideon said. “I just thought that once we got back in the middle of the field where it’s a little wide open, we could do some things.”
What they did best was play keep-away. The Longhorns ran 65 plays to Elm Creek’s 25. Elm Creek’s other score came on a 68-yard kickoff return by Lane Gutzwiller.
Williams carried the ball 39 times. His backup, Caleb Busch, carried the ball eight times for 63 yards and a touchdown. He also caught two touchdown passes covering 35 yards.
Burwell only completed four passes, but three resulted in touchdowns.
“They just stuck to the running game. They knew coming in probably that was their only shot,” Dueland said. “We practiced against it, it just came down to up front on the line of scrimmage.”
Since losing to Elm Creek 36-28 on Sept. 27, the Longhorns have made great strides.
“We’ve gotten better throughout the season and so we were pretty excited to play this game,” Gideon said. “We had kind of figured out who we were. ... I thought we ended up kind of controlling the line of scrimmage and that was obviously the key to the game.”
Burwell advances to play Cambridge in the quarterfinals Tuesday in Burwell.
Burwell 50, Elm Creek 13
Score by Quarters
Burwell (8-2)0 22 14 14 — 50
Elm Creek (8-2)7 6 0 0 — 13
ELM CREEK — Karsten McCar6ter 74 run (Gage Clabaugh kick)
BURWELL — Jase Williams 1 run (Williams run)
BURWELL — Levi Bode 14 pass from Barak Birch (Williams run)
BURWELL — Caleb Busch 19 pass from Birch (Williams run)
ELM CREEK — Lane Gutzwiller 68 kickoff return (run failed)
BURWELL — Williams 5 run (run failed)
BURWELL — Busch 16 pass from Birch (Williams run)
BURWELL — Williams 4 run (run failed)
BURWELL — Busch 22 run (Alex Gideon pass from Birch)
RUSHING — BUR: Jase Williams 39-208, Caleb Busch 8-63, Corey Dawe 4-15, Titus Gideon 2-3, Colton Dawe 1-1, Barak Birch 4-(minus 10). EC: Karsten McCarter 5-53, Bryton Walz 1-8, Xavier Perez 7-5, Carter Erickson 2-(minus 1), Kolby Smith 1-(minus 2).
PASSING — BUR: Barak Birch 4-5-0, 70 yds.; EC: Karsten McCarter 0-6-0, Kolby Smith 0-1-0, Xavier Perez 0-1-0.
RECEIVING — BUR: Caleb Busch 2-42, Levi Bone 1-14, Corey Dawe 1-14).