With Nickerson enjoying a remarkable turnaround this year, what looked like an easy path as the second-place team from District 13 at the beginning of the year turned into a high-pressure, hard-nosed game between Nickerson and Pratt, with a winner-take-all result.


Nickerson, which was 1-8 last season, put together a 6-1 record going into Friday night’s game. With a win over Haven under their belt, all they needed to do to qualify for the postseason was beat the Greenbacks, who had struggled in back-to-back weeks against tough competition.


Fortunately for Greenback fans, that didn’t happen.


With Nickerson enjoying a remarkable turnaround this year, what looked like an easy path as the second-place team from District 13 at the beginning of the year turned into a high-pressure, hard-nosed game between Nickerson and Pratt, with a winner-take-all result.

Nickerson, which was 1-8 last season, put together a 6-1 record going into Friday night’s game. With a win over Haven under their belt, all they needed to do to qualify for the postseason was beat the Greenbacks, who had struggled in back-to-back weeks against tough competition.

Fortunately for Greenback fans, that didn’t happen.

Instead, Pratt led the entire game, building its 7-6 halftime lead into a 28-6 lead, with Nickerson scoring a late touchdown that wouldn’t be enough. The win all-but seals Pratt’s spot in the postseason, as it would take a Pratt loss to Haven (1-7) paired with a Nickerson upset of undefeated Buhler next week to send the Panthers instead of the Greenbacks to the playoffs.

“Our kids are being coachable, they’re trying to do what we ask and they’re hanging in and hanging in, and they hung in tonight,” said coach Jeff Fuss.

The Greenbacks got a big night from Jake Siroky, who rushed for three touchdowns and 156 yards to lead the offense. Quarterback BJ Dean also played well, completing 10 of 16 passes for 160 yards.

Defensively, the Greenbacks played extremely well against the bigger Panthers. Outsized across the line of scrimmage, Pratt didn’t let that slow them down. Instead, they played to the whistle, something Fuss has asked them to do for several weeks now, and outhustled the Panthers in what was the biggest game of the season for both teams.

“That’s how we play ball,” Fuss said. “You have to play that way, otherwise you’re going to get blown out. If you look at it, we were probably down 100 pounds a man across the line. We have to be tenacious or otherwise, we don’t stand a chance.”

With this game in the books, Pratt can hopefully rest bodies and allow injuries to heal in the next two weeks as they prepare for a likely playoff run. Should they beat Haven and advance, they would be paired with their old Mid-States rival, Ulysses in the first playoff game.