The Blair High School football team's latest loss was a heartbreaker.
Omaha Gross came back from 11 points down during the fourth quarter Friday, handing the Bears a 24-21 homecoming defeat. Coach Bryan Soukup's team fell to 1-6, while the Cougars left Krantz Field 3-4.
“Keep playing hard and stay together,” the coach said when asked what his message to the team was after its fifth-straight loss. “Our seniors have been amazing and have helped provide the leadership needed when the team is struggling to get a win. This team deserves a win and our goal is to finish strong.”
With games at Ralston and South Sioux City left on the schedule, BHS wants victories.
“Get to 3-6 and see what happens,” Soukup said.
The Bears nearly earned win No. 2 against Gross. A 14-0 third quarter put the home team ahead 21-10.
Sophomore quarterback Bode Soukup contributed three touchdown passes to that lead. The first was a 24-yarder to Shea Wendt, who returned from injury against the Cougars, during the second quarter.
The second and third touchdown tosses of Soukup's night went to classmate J'shawn Unger, who finished off both the 43- and 87-yard plays in the end zone.
“We liked our match-ups on the edge with both Jay and Shea,” coach Soukup said. “Both are big targets with speed, and are tremendous athletes. Bode was able to connect with each of them multiple times.”
On Unger's first score of the third quarter, the Gross defender fell down. On the second, the 87-yarder, the Cougars lined up with just one defensive back within 20 yards of the 6-foot-3 receiver.
It was a mistake.
Unger raced down the sideline at the snap, came back for the slightly under-thrown ball and put one move on the defensive back before sprinting by him for the score.
Blair drove inside Gross' 25-yard line twice during the fourth quarter, but couldn't finish them with points to build on their lead. In the meantime, the Cougars' Jake Garcia scored his second touchdown to pull his team within 21-16.
Then, with just 41.9 seconds left, Gross backup quarterback Colby Duncan combined with Jackson Drake for the winning points on an 8-yard touchdown pass. Duncan added the two-point conversion, too.
Trailing by three points, he Bears' last chance to earn a homecoming win ended with an interception. Just 8.9 seconds remained in the game.
BHS next plays 7 p.m. Thursday at Ralston. The Rams are 1-6, too.