The Gregory Gorillas slipped past the Howard Tigers 28-22 in the Class 9A quarterfinals on Thursday night at Gregory.
"It was a tough way to end the season," said Howard Coach Pat Ruml. "It was a very hard-fought game between two very good football teams."
Jackson Eklund put the Gorillas on top in the first quarter with a seven-yard touchdown run.
The Tigers answered and held an 8-6 lead after one period. Riley Genzlinger scored on a 72-yard run. Isaac Feldhaus tossed the two-point conversion pass to Kieffer Klinkhammer.
Eklund put Gregory back on top in the second quarter when he scored on a 3-yard run and added the two-point conversion. Gregory led 14-8.
Howard deadlocked the score before the end of the second quarter. Genzlinger scored on a 79-yard runs. The two-point conversion failed and the score was tied at 14-14.
Gregory added another touchdown before the second quarter was over. Coy Determan tossed a 10-yard scoring pass to Grant Thomas. Eklund added the two-point conversion and Gregory held a 22-14 halftime advantage.
Gregory stretched its lead to 28-14 in the third quarter when Eklund scored on a seven-yard scamper.
Howard added a touchdown in the final quarter when John Callies scored on a five-yard run. Feldhaus tossed the two-point conversion pass to Lane Miller to make the final score read 28-22.
"I thought we played really tight early in the game. Penalties just kept us from getting an offensive rhythm," Ruml said. "We had a very good chance at the end of the game to win it. It came down to a few big plays, and Gregory just made more of them than we did."
Feldhaus was 1 of 6 passing for 31 yards and Miller caught one pass for 31 yards.
Genzlinger had 179 yards rushing on 14 carries while Miller had 108 yards rushing on 15 attempts.
C. Determan was 12 of 18 passing for 163 yards for the Gorillas. Tommy Determan caught one pass for 43 yards. Eklund caught three passes for 36 yards.
Eklund had 86 yards rushing on 18 attempts.
Paul Winker had 12 tackles and Miller added 10.
"It's not how we wanted to end the season, but it was still a great year," Ruml said. "I'm proud of the guys for how they played and prepared all season."
Howard finished the season with an 8-2 record.