News: Beef complete a perfect season with Champions Bowl 8 win

News: Beef complete a perfect season with Champions Bowl 8 win

Salina 30 @ Omaha Beef 50

June 17, 2023 – 6:35pm CT

Liberty First Credit Union Arena

June 18, 2023

The Omaha Beef became the first team in CIF history to go undefeated as they claimed their second championship when they beat the Salina Liberty 50-30 at Liberty First Credit Union on Saturday night.  The Beef finished the year with a perfect 12-0 record as beat the Liberty for the second time in three years in Champions Bowl 8.  The third meeting was the first to be held at the Beef’s home field after two years in Salina.

The Beef got off to a quick start as Paul Ortiz scored a rouge when the Liberty’s Tracy Brooks could not get the ball out of the endzone to give Omaha a 1-0 lead.  The Liberty got the ball back, but on the second play of the drive, Ed Crouch was picked off by CIF Interception leader Dreko Statham and the Beef need only one play as Tommy Armstrong rushed six yards for a touchdown and with the extra pick the Beef lead 8-0.  Salina got the ball back again and once again Crouch was picked off by Statham on the second play of the drive.  Armstrong looked like he was going to score again, but fumbled at the one-yard line and was recovered by Salina’s Dontra Matthews in the endzone for a touchback.  That was the break the Liberty needed as they were able to drive the ball down the field but had to settle for a James Kazalski 28-yard field goal.

The second quarter was a back-and-forth battle as the teams settled in.  The Liberty held the Beef and were able to take the lead as Crouch hit Anthony Love with a 32-yard strike as they took a one-point lead at 9-8. Omaha next drive resulted in a ten-yard dash by Armstrong, but an unsportsmanlike conduct call pushed the PAT attempt back and Ortiz missed the try, but the Beef lead 14-9.  Tracy Brook and Crouch got the Liberty offense moving again, but the Beef defense held them, and Salina had to settle for a 23-yard field goal. Omaha got the ball back with 3:12 left in the quarter and drove down to the Liberty’s six-yard line, but with the clock down to four seconds and to try a 21-yard Ortiz field goal which gave the Beef a 17-12 lead at halftime.

Salina kicked off to start the third quarter and saw Beef’s Traveon Samuel return it 50 yards to give Omaha a 24-12 lead.  However, Tracy Brooks broke through the line on the first play of the drive for a 40-yard touchdown and it was down to a six-point lead for the Beef.  It didn’t stay that way for long as Tabyus Taylor used five running plays on the next drive and capped it with a six-yard touchdown run and he added a two-point conversion, and the lead was back up to 14.  Crouch responded with a 37-yard touchdown pass to Ed Smith Jr. as the Beef defensive backfield had a breakdown and left Smith Jr. wide open. Omaha finished the quarter with a 41-yard field goal from Ortiz as they headed to the fourth quarter leading 35-24.

Omaha’s defense came up with another big turnover to start the fourth quarter as Tamar Heart picked off Crouch and returned it 32 yards to set up a Taylor 1 yard touchdown run, and the Beef and their fans could feel the Championship was near.  The Liberty on the next drive responded as Demarius Washington was able to catch the ball off the rebound from Aaron Jackson hands and it ended up as a 15-yard touchdown pass.  The Beef took over at their own eight yardline and on a third and seven Armstrong hit Gourney Sloan on a 42-yard touchdown pass and the Omaha lead was 20.  Salina got the ball back with 3:33 left in the game, but the Omaha defense got a turnover on downs and the Beef ran out the clock to let the celebrations begin.

Tracy Brooks rushed for 62 yards on seven carries and Crouch threw for three touchdowns and 146 yards, but his three interceptions gave the Beef great field position and they capitalized on their scoring chances. Armstrong finished with 36 yards on the ground and two touchdowns while going 7-11 passing for 89 yards and one touchdown pass.  Tabyus Taylor scored twice and finished with 59 rushing yards.  Defensively, the Liberty were led by Donavyn Jackson’s 12 tackles and Antoine Brown’s 10.  Keenan Gibbs was able to sack Armstrong, only the second time he has been sacked in 2023 season. Omaha had a well-balanced defensive effort as Key James Black and JayShawn Washington had five tackles apiece as Aaron Jackson and Cameron Hunt finished with four.  Tamar Heart had three tackles to go along with one interception and two pass breakups.  Dreko Statham finished the season with a new record with his 15th interception and help the Beef tie a CIF record with their 27th pickoff on the season.  The Beef also set a record with a turnover margin of plus 30 to finish the season.

OTHER NOTES: Paul Ortiz became the first player to successfully drop-kick an extra point try and score a rouge in the same game.  Omaha joins Duke City as the only teams to have won two Champions Bowls as the Gladiators won in 2018 and 2019.

2023 Omaha Beef Schedule (12-0)

March 4, 6:30pm CT

Vs Omaha Stockman (EX)

W 71-0



March 10, 7pm CT

Vs Billing Outlaws

W 47-19

First Downs



March 18, 6pm CT

@ Southwest Kansas

W 68-15




April 1, 7pm CT

@ Topeka Tropics

W 60-22




April 8, 6:30pm CT

Vs Gillette Mustangs

W 52-29

Total Offense



April 15, 6:35pm CT

@ Salina Liberty

W 36-31

3rd and 4th Down



April 22,7:30pm CT

@ Billings Outlaws

W 45-12

April 29, 6:30pm CT

Vs Rapid City Marshals

W 62-12

Home Record



May 6, 7pm CT

@ Sioux City Bandits

W 48-45

Road Record



May 13, 6:30pm CT

Vs Topeka Tropics

W 66-13

Stat Highlight

Beef 3 INT – Statham 2 of them

May 27, 6:30pm CT

Vs Sioux City Bandits

W 44-15

June 10, 6:30pm CT

Vs Billings Outlaws

W 42-6

Stat Highlight

Paul Ortiz 1st drop kick PAT & Rouge

June 17, 6:30pm CT

Vs Salina Liberty

W 50-30

Champions Bowl 5 (2019) – Salina @ Duke City – Gladiators 35-29

2020 – no game due to Covid-19

Champions Bowl 6 (2021) – Omaha @ Salina – Omaha 40-39

Champions Bowl 7 (2022) – Omaha @ Salina – Salina 38-34

Champions Bowl 8 (2023) – Salina @ Omaha – Omaha 50-30

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