FALLS CITY, NE - In a game littered with playoff implications in late September, Falls City Sacred Heart rode its best quarter of the season to a homecoming victory at Jug Brown Stadium.

Junior quarterback Tate Wilcox accounted for four touchdowns, senior Joe Simon recovered two fumbles and forced a safety, and the Irish kept their playoff hopes alive with a 38-26 victory over Humboldt-Table Rock-Steinauer.
Sacred Heart (2-4) made an early statement, scoring on its opening drive thanks to a 31-yard touchdown run by Wilcox. After James Froeschl recovered a fumble on the ensuing drive, the Irish took advantage of the short field, capping the possession with a seven-yard touchdown run by Wilcox.
Sacred Heart forced a turnover on downs on the next HTRS drive, taking a 22-0 lead on the ensuing possession thanks to a one-yard touchdown plunge by Joe Simon. The Titans got on the board with a 59-yard end zone sprint by Hunter Bohling, but the Irish had one more response before the quarter break, with Wilcox hitting Simon in stride for a 51-yard touchdown pass to make it 30-6 after one period.
HTRS controlled the flow of the game in the second quarter, marching off a quick scoring drive and finishing it off with a 27-yard touchdown run by JJ McQueen. Alex Kozial nabbed an interception for the Titans to thwart a Sacred Heart drive, but neither team was able to put any more points on the board before half.
Trailing 30-14, HTRS got the ball to start the third quarter and quickly moved backwards, botching a double reverse on the opening play of the drive. Simon then capitalized on the mistake, chasing down McQueen and forcing the quarterback into an intentional grounding penalty in the end zone, resulting in a safety.
Even so, the Titans continued to inch closer, cutting the lead back to two scores with a Bohling touchdown plunge and forcing a quick three-and-out. But with HTRS threatening to make it a one-score game, Simon blew up another play on defense, batting away an option pitch and recovering the fumble. Wilcox capitalized on the short field, hitting Rob Froeschl for a 14-yard touchdown to extend the Sacred Heart lead to 38-20.
The teams traded turnovers until the waning moments of the game, when the Titans' Brennen Vaughan grabbed a fumble out of the air and raced 28 yards for a scoop and score. However, with the deficit at 12 and 1:19 left, HTRS head coach Caleb Lempka opted not to try for an onside kick, leaving Sacred Heart to run out the clock on offense.
Sacred Heart improved to 2-1 in district play with two weeks left in the regular season. The Irish will travel to Johnson-Brock (6-0) next week, while HTRS (3-3) squares off against Lourdes Central Catholic (5-1).
In the home stretch of the season, Sacred Heart will try to make the playoffs for the 42nd consecutive year, while HTRS will try to secure its first winning record since 2015.