LINCOLN — Scott Siegel's addition to an elite group of running backs was Grand Island Senior High's lone highlight against Lincoln Southeast on Thursday.
The fourth-ranked Knights overcame Siegel's memorable moment while dominating Grand Island 35-7. Big plays were the difference in the contest before 2,181 fans at Seacrest Field, as Southeast (5-1) found itself ahead in a hurry.
"They have great athletes and a great team,” said Grand Island receiver Jeff Depue. "They came out early with a lot of intensity. We got in trouble early.”
Backup quarterback Zac Rabe threw two touchdown passes in the first quarter as Southeast bolted out to a 21-0 lead. The Knights increased their advantage to five touchdowns before Siegel scored on an 11-yard run in the fourth quarter.
While finishing with 126 yards on 23 carries, Siegel became the seventh player in school history to surpass the 1,000-yard rushing mark in a season. His accomplishment was overshadowed by an opponent that ended the upset hopes for Grand Island (2-4) in a hurry.
"We were hoping to shorten the game. That's what was taking place — except for the big plays,” said Grand Island coach Mark Fritch. "Next thing you know we're deep in the hole.”
Depue and his teammates knew they were in trouble after seeing Rabe throw touchdown passes of 55 and 52 yards. Southeast running back Bo Ruud also scored on a 1-yard run in the first quarter.
"It's hard to come back down 21-0,” Depue said. "Our game is ball control. It's hard to come back from 21 when you have a ball control offense.”
Southeast coach Chuck Mizerski praised the effort his team turned in on defense.
"Our defense I felt did a great job,” Mizerski said. "They didn't get any long drives going. We got them off the field and got our offense on the field. The more chances you get the more chances obviously you got to score.”
Siegel joined the 1,000-yard club with a four-yard run early in the second quarter. He then kept his streak of 100-yard games intact with a four-yard run that opened the fourth quarter.
"I thought we held him in check real good,” Mizerski said. "I'm really proud of the way the defense played against him. No question he's one of the top running backs in the state.”
Rabe was making his second start for Southeast in place of Nick Bahe, who is out for the year with a shoulder injury. Despite his lack of varsity experience, Rabe performed like a seasoned veteran while firing three touchdown passes.
Two of Rabe's touchdown passes were caught by Andy Birkel, a speedster who like Ruud is a University of Nebraska football recruit. Ruud rushed 17 times for a game-high 131 yards.
"We felt that they weren't going to throw the under routes. They were going to give him a chance to throw the ball deep and let the speed run underneath it,” Fritch said. "That's exactly what they did.
"They got behind us. Big plays happen.”
Grand Island's fortune improved in the second half after Southeast starting using reserve players. Siegel's touchdown run capped off an 81-yard drive that also featured a 39-yard run by the major-college prospect.
"Our team motto is never quit,” Depue said. "That's what we tried to do in the second half — never quit. We wanted to try to make a game of it.”
Fritch said his team "kept fighting” to the end.
"Hopefully we improved as the game went on,” Fritch said. "Hopefully we learned from this and we can come back and play good football the rest of the season.”
Grand Island (2-4) 0 0 0 7—7
Lincoln Southeast (5-1) 20 8 7 0—35
LSE—Andy Sand 55 pass from Zac Rabe (Tony Young kick)
LSE—Bo Ruud 1 run (Young kick)
LSE—Andy Birkel 52 pass from Rabe (kick failed)
LSE—Birkel 70 pass from Rabe (Ruud run)
LSE—Ruud 4 run (Young kick)
GI—Scott Siegel 11 run (Travis Anderson kick)
First Downs 8 14
Rushes-Yards 36-131 48-232
Yards Passing 32 187
Total Offense 163 419
Att.-Comp.-Int. 3-9 4-5
Net Punting 8-22 3-30
Fumbles-Lost 2-1 2-0
Penalties-Yards 1-10 3-25
Rushing—GI: Scott Siegel 23-126, Colby Fox 2-1, Craig Nickerson 4-minus-14, Dayton Sanchez 3-10, Jack Higgins 2-9, Juan Campos 2-minus-1; LSE: Bo Ruud 17-131, Tim Lucks 1-3, Logan Geisler 3-10, Logan Papik 1-2, Bryan Goldsmith 4-19, Tom Gift 5-4, Drew Krutak 1-2, Jim Dawson 3-15, Drew Burson 3-11, Terrell Bell 6-34, Adam Porter 1-2.
Passing—GI: Nickerson 2-8 21, Jordan Brock 1-1 11; LSE: Zac Rabe 4-5 187.
Receiving—Jeff Depue 1-10, Anousone Souvannasoth 1-11, Derrick Joel 1-16; LSE: Andy Birkel 3-132, Andy Sand 1-55.