|November 13, 2014 Jerry Purvis|
Photos by Kay Grote/Gering Citizen - Senior runningback Javier Guerrero (No. 27) strides to catch the pass while Shamrock defenders target the play during Minatare’s semi-final playoff game against the number one ranked, undefeated Spaulding Academy Shamrocks on Friday, Nov. 7 at home. The Indians were defeated 56-18.
Minatare knew it faced a challenge last Friday – the Spaulding Academy Shamrocks, ranked No. 1 all season, were in town for the 6-man state semifinal football game. The Shamrocks made good on that rating as they ran past Minatare by a 56-18 score.
Minatare’s opening drive took them almost all the way down the field before the Shamrocks halted them just short of the red zone.
The Shamrocks got rolling early with a 59-yard touchdown run from Joe Glaser just a couple of plays into their first possession. A few minutes later, quarterback Brandon Stevens pitched a 39-yarder to Glaser for his second touchdown. Brock Leslie added third score on a 1-yard run, putting Spaulding Academy up 22-0 after just 10 minutes.
“Spaulding came strong and we couldn’t get anything going early on,” said Minatare head coach JJ Ozuna. “We were dazed and confused before we could get any kind of momentum going after that opening drive.”
The Indians got on the scoreboard early in the second quarter when quarterback Yovan Perez threw a 72-yard touchdown pass to Tyler Koke, bringing the score to 22-6.
It didn’t take long for the Shamrocks to stop the momentum. Glaser ran for a 35-yard touchdown. Quarterback Stevens then hooked up with Bronc McKay for two touchdown passes, from 29 and 9 yards. At halftime, the Shamrocks were up 42-6.
Because Spaulding Academy was above the 35-point-mark for the second half, the remainder of the game was played under a running clock.
Neither team was able to score in the third quarter, but Minatare did get some more points on the board in the fourth as Perez ran in from the 5 and Juan Garfio from the 10.
The Shamrocks also added two scores in the final quarter. Stevens connected with John Bernt for a 9-yard touchdown pass and Jacob Bauer ran in another 40-yarder.
“We gave them a tough game, but Spaulding Academy was the better team that day,” Ozuna said.
Looking over the 6-4 season, Ozuna said the team has gone through a lot of ups and downs as they lost some games they should have won. “Overall, there were times when we bent but didn’t break,” he said. “Getting this far into the playoffs is nothing to be embarrassed about. We’ve come a long way and now the younger players know what to expect.”
Ozuna said Minatare gets hit hard with graduation next spring, so he’s looking for the younger players to step up, especially in the weight room, so they don’t waste any time in building the program further.
“Between our returning players and younger guys, we should make another good run next year,” he said.
With the win, Spaulding Academy improves to 10-0 and will face Riverside in the championship game in Kearney this Friday. Riverside won its semifinal game against Sioux County, a double overtime affair that ended 76-74.
Cheerleaders Briana Regester, Maddie Ross and Frankie Doty keep the crowd energized during the final game of the season, the semi-final playouff held at home last Friday.