Second-ranked Kearney Catholic imposed its will on Adams Central Friday night.
The Stars bullied the Patriots up front and senior back Riley Grieser rode the coattails.
Grieser scored four times for the Stars (7-0) in their 41-12 victory at Patriot Field. He ran for three scores and hauled in a 49-yard pass from quarterback Brett Mahony.
The Stars ran for 259 yards — 192 belonging to Grieser and 50 to Mahony.
"That was our game plan, was to come in and run the football," said KC head coach Rashawn Harvey, whose team survived a road upset at Broken Bow a week ago by winning 9-6.
Another goal for the Stars, leave Hastings with a better feeling than their last trip last November when they suffered a loss to the Patriots in the Class C-1 semifinals.
"Everybody, from the staff to the players, wanted to get that taste out of our mouth," Harvey said. "Last time we were here, (Adams Central) had a great game plan and won the game.
"Our guys were focused tonight, laser-focused."
Kearney Catholic's initial score covered 65 yards in only 2 minutes, 15 seconds and featured some hurry-up offense, which kept the Patriots off balance.
Two minutes later, following an interception at the AC 19, Mahony punched across the goal line for a two-score lead not yet five minutes into the game.
The Patriots accrued just 25 yards in the first 12 minutes.
Quarterback Jacob Eckhardt completed only 9-of-26 passing attempts on the night for 98 yards. He threw two picks, but the second came just before the halftime whistle.
Jaxen Gangwish put Adams Central on the board with a four-yard rush to the right pylon in the third quarter and Nick Conant, who tallied 202 yards on the ground, scored from 10 yards out with 51 seconds remaining in the game.
"We got beat in all aspects of the game," said AC head coach Shawn Mulligan. "They outplayed us and they deserved to win the football game. Point blank, they were a better football team than us tonight."
Adams Central (4-3) is expecting running back Hyatt Collins and wide out Drew Bonifas to return for next week's district game at St. Paul. A district title, meaning an automatic playoff berth, is still within grasp for the Patriots, whose two losses prior to Friday were by a combined eight points.
KC (7-0)............21 7 13 0 — 41
AC (4-3)...............0 0 6 6 — 12
KC — Riley Grieser 2 run (Max McBride kick)
KC — Brett Mahony 4 run (McBride kick)
KC — Grieser 9 run (McBride kick)
KC — Grieser 2 run (McBride kick)
KC — Mahony 49 pass Grieser (kick failed)
AC — Jaxen Gangwish 4 run (run failed)
KC — Mahony 2 run (McBride kick)
AC — Nick Conant 10 run (kick fail)