Nixa makes statement heading into postseason

Nixa makes statement heading into postseason

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Nixa makes statement heading into postseason

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Branson's visit to Nixa on October 23, 2015.

Branson’s visit to Nixa on October 23, 2015.

Branson's Zack Funderburk is chased down by Nixa's Jonathan Ghering on at Nixa on October 23, 2015.

Branson’s Zack Funderburk is chased down by Nixa’s Jonathan Ghering on at Nixa on October 23, 2015.

Nixa's Chase Allen makes a catch for a first down against Kyle Hunn (34) and Nathan Piche (98) of visiting Branson on October 23, 2015.

Nixa’s Chase Allen makes a catch for a first down against Kyle Hunn (34) and Nathan Piche (98) of visiting Branson on October 23, 2015.

Branson's visit to Nixa on October 23, 2015.

Branson’s visit to Nixa on October 23, 2015.

Branson's visit to Nixa on October 23, 2015.

Branson’s visit to Nixa on October 23, 2015.

Nixa's Nicos Oropeza gains another first down against visiting Branson on October 23, 2015.

Nixa’s Nicos Oropeza gains another first down against visiting Branson on October 23, 2015.

Branson's visit to Nixa on October 23, 2015.

Branson’s visit to Nixa on October 23, 2015.

Branson's visit to Nixa on October 23, 2015.

Branson’s visit to Nixa on October 23, 2015.

Branson's visit to Nixa on October 23, 2015.

Branson’s visit to Nixa on October 23, 2015.

Nixa's Logan Tyler makes a throw down field against visiting Branson on October 23, 2015.

Nixa’s Logan Tyler makes a throw down field against visiting Branson on October 23, 2015.

Branson's visit to Nixa on October 23, 2015.

Branson’s visit to Nixa on October 23, 2015.

Branson's visit to Nixa on October 23, 2015.

Branson’s visit to Nixa on October 23, 2015.

Branson's visit to Nixa on October 23, 2015.

Branson’s visit to Nixa on October 23, 2015.

Branson's visit to Nixa on October 23, 2015.

Branson’s visit to Nixa on October 23, 2015.

NIXA – After limping through the second half of the regular season losing four of their last five games, the Nixa Eagles needed to make a statement heading into postseason play.

It took the Eagles less than four minutes to make that statement Friday night in a 49-12 victory over Branson in the first round of the Class 5 District 5 tournament.

Nixa (6-4) took the opening kickoff and marched 70 yards for a quick touchdown as Andrew Rivera hit a wide open Hayden Crabtree for a 32-yard touchdown. After a Branson (1-9) fumble, the Eagles needed just three plays to put another touchdown on the board. Logan Tyler stretched the ball across the goal line to give Nixa a 14-0 lead just 3 minutes and 45 seconds into the game.

“That got us the momentum right off of the bat,” Nixa coach Rich Rehagen said. “That was something that we wanted to do in getting off to a good start. The kids really responded.”

Nixa’s first-half onslaught continued as the Eagles racked up 331 yards of offense in the first half in building a 42-0 halftime lead. Junior running back Nicos Oropeza found the end zone four times and ran for 91 yards all in the first half.

“(The offensive line) did a phenomenal job,” Oropeza said. “I am blessed to run behind them. They made it easy for all of us to run behind.”

While Nixa’s offense was putting points on the board, the defense was smothering Branson’s offense. The Pirates had 39 yards in the first half. Branson quarterback Zac Funderburk finished with 150 yards passing and two touchdowns, but was sacked five times and was routinely flushed out of the pocket.

“I thought that our pressure was good tonight,” Rehagen said. “I thought we covered pretty well too, and they go hand in hand.”

Nixa advances to the district semifinals to play Parkview (a 46-18 winner over Ozark) at JFK Stadium on Oct. 30.

“This is a really important win,” Oropeza said. “It gets us ready to make a run. We needed it.”

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Nixa makes statement heading into postseason

“We needed it,” running back Nicos Oropeza says

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