State championship insider: Aurora honors late teammate with state title; NU recruit Piper impresses
After Aurora won the Class C-1 state championship on Tuesday over Ord, senior wide receiver Cy Bullerman wiped tears from his eyes and said, “First of all, I just wish Nick could be here right now. That’s what I am feeling.”
Nick Pachta passed away at 17 on Feb. 2, 2018, after he was involved in a single-car accident just northwest of Aurora. He was a junior on the football team.
Pachta would have been a senior on the team that defeated Ord 49-7 at Memorial Stadium.
“It gets pretty emotional … it’s tough because Nick would have been starting on our offense and defensive line,” senior quarterback Baylor Scheierman said. “He is a good friend to all of us and a great teammate, so for him to not be here with us. … I bet you he is smiling right now at us, so that means a lot.”
Trading in his cleats for boots: Bullerman ended his sports career on top with the Huskies’ victory over Ord. The senior receiver is calling it quits on his athletic career to take a job on a farm.
“I will graduate at midterm, so with football being over, I am almost done with high school,” Bullerman said. “It’s great to end on this moment, I couldn’t have even imagined it a better way.”
During the winter, Bullerman said, he will drive trucks once he learns how to, but once planting season comes, he’ll strap on the boots to start working in the fields.
He also intends on enrolling at Central Community College in Grand Island.
Impressed by Piper: Nebraska defensive tackle recruit and Norfolk Catholic Super-Stater Ethan Piper registered seven tackles in Centennial’s 29-28 overtime win against the Knights in the Class C-2 state title game.
“He’s a dude,” Centennial all-state lineman Caleb Cast said about Piper. “I was just trying to keep up with him. He’s one athletic dude, the best I’ve ever gone against.”
Cast, who faces reconstructive knee surgery in the next couple of months, had seven tackles and a sack in the victory. Even with the knee issue, the 6-foot-3, 225-pound Cast said there was no doubt he would play this season.
“This team means so much to me, there’s no way I could’ve missed this,” Cast said. “They’re like family, I’d do anything for them.”
Familiar with Memorial Stadium: Piper played his last high school football game on Tuesday in the Class C-2 championship game Memorial Stadium.
Though it was the last time he’ll suit up for the Knights, it’s not the last time he’ll play at Memorial Stadium. The 6-4, 290 pound lineman is a member of Nebraska’s 2019 recruiting class and will arrive in Lincoln in May following graduation.
“It’s funny, I have been to a lot of Nebraska games here, so I am a little more comfortable here,” Piper said. “It’s an incredible feeling and I am extremely blessed.”
Piper committed to Nebraska on March 5 but said his decision was made when Scott Frost addressed the media following UCF’s victory over Auburn last season.
“Seeing Coach Frost’s interview after UCF beat Auburn, saying how much of a family he brings to the table, I was like, ‘I want to play for that guy,’” Piper said.
Piper impressed Centennial coach Evan Klanecky, who called the future Husker “one of the single best players he’s seen” in his nine years at this level.
Kautz’s final numbers: Dylan Kautz’s 125 yards made the Norfolk Catholic all-state senior Nebraska’s 11-man career rusher leader with 7,580 yards, eclipsing the 7,478 that Omaha North’s Calvin Strong gained between 2011 and ’14. Kautz finished with 2,737 yards this season and scored 47 touchdowns after reaching the end zone twice Tuesday.