LAWTON - Sophomore running back Zach Nieman rushed for 233 yards on 33 carries and scored two of his three touchdowns in the fourth quarter to rally his South O'Brien team past a previously undefeated and fifth-ranked Lawton-Bronson team, 28-14, in an Opening Round Class 1A playoff game here on Wednesday night.
The Wolverines came back from a 7-point deficit to score three touchdowns in the final 5:05 and hand the Eagles (9-1) their first - and only - loss of the season.
This was the first-ever playoff win for South O'Brien, which hadn't made the playoffs since 1992. Wednesday's win means they will face fellow District 2 foe West Lyon on Monday at Inwood. The Wolverines (6-5) suffered a tough 21-20 loss at the hands of the Wildcats (9-2) in their previous meeting this season on September 16 in Paullina.
The 5-9, 160 lb. Nieman scored the go-ahead touchdown on a 66-yard sweep, and his 20-yard score put the game out of reach. Nieman now has 1,676 yards rushing on 277 attempts this season - an average of 6.0 yards per carry - and he has scored 17 touchdowns.
"I think we wore them down," said a delighted Wolverines' head coach Mark Fuhrman. "I'm biased, because I think our district is tougher than everybody's, but I could see early on they hadn't been hit like that."
District 2 also features No. 2 Emmetsburg and No. 9 West Lyon, which is the defending State Champion.
South O'Brien's defense had three interceptions in the final period - two by junior Sam Weber and one by senior Tanner Mathews - to help spark the Wolverines' 4th quarter rally.
"We talked all year about doing things we've never done before at South O'Brien," said Fuhrman. "Obviously, this is one of those things. First of all to get here, and then to accomplish this. It's somethin'."