Balanced Bulldogs attack cleans up Dusters, 40-20 Gering scores Rhodes’ second straight, season-opening road victory
     2012-08-30      By Terry Gaston   
Photo by Sheila Weber/for the Citizen Gold team member Jake Rexus (No. 2) goes down with plenty of effort from the Blue team’s Austin Ferguson (No. 36) and an unidentifiable player during the annual Blue and Gold game at Memorial Stadium. The Bulldogs enjoyed a victory in Friday’s season opening against Holdrege 40 to 20. 
HOLDREGE — Not that the Gering football team was necessarily one-dimensional in its run toward making the Class B state playoff last season, just that second-year Bulldogs coach Jimmie Rhodes saw a more balanced attack in their season opener last Friday.
Gering scored touchdowns on rushes, passes, and fumble recoveries and set up another TD on a deep punt return.

And the Bulldog defense forced seven Holdrege turnovers in scoring a 40-20 victory over the host Dusters.

“We’re excited that we have found that we are more of a team, rather than the two or three guys we featured last year,” said Rhodes, who opened the season with a road victory similar to last year’s 33-20 win at Lexington.

“We’re going to be better at catching the football and running better routes, although we stuck with our game plan of running the football.”

Senior running back James Guzman led the Bulldogs’ running attack with 135 yards on 14 carries and two touchdowns, while junior Gage Smith had nine carries for 62 yards and Gering’s first TD of the season on a fumble recovery in the end zone to tie the score at 7-all.

Smith then gave the Bulldogs the lead on a 9-yard rush in the second quarter, and Guzman scored the first of his two TDs, which helped Gering take a 20-14 halftime lead. Holdrege scored on a fumble recovery of its own as the half ended.
Junior quarterback Dillon DeMott was just 5 of 12 for 45 passing yards, including a toss to senior Austin Ferguson to start a 20-point scoring barrage in the third quarter that sealed the Bulldogs’ victory. Rhodes said several dropped passes kept DeMott’s numbers down.

Guzman then had a punt return of 53 yard to the Holdrege 5, from where he scored his second touchdown.

“It was a perfect return,” Rhodes said. “We set up the wall and had the lead blocker in front, just perfect.”

Ferguson added a 39-yard fumble return to complete Gering’s scoring.
The Bulldogs amassed 261 rushing yards and 306 total offensive yards for the game. Smith followed Guzman’s triple-digit rushing performance with 62 yards and one TD on nine carries, while DeMott ran six times for 41 yards.

Holdrege was even on rushing and passing yards with 173 each way, but 97 of the Dusters’ rushing yards came on the game’s final play.
“You take away the 97 yards and the fumble recovery they got at the end of the half and we have even a bigger win,” Rhodes said. “Our defense played pretty well.”

Smith had four solo tackles and six assists and his fumble recovery for touchdown, while senior Nick Chitwood had five solo and four assisted tackles, and Ferguson had two solo stops, six assists and two fumble recoveries, including the second one for TD.

The Bulldogs had interceptions by three varsity newcomers: Jeremy Eskam, Elijah Timblin and Brandon Breaster. Eskam also had a fumble recovery to go with Ferguson’s pair and one by Gage Winkler.

Gering will open the home portion of its schedule Friday night at 7 against Chadron. The Cardinals lost their opener Friday to Alliance but were tied with three minutes remaining before the Bulldogs emerged with a 27-20 victory.

“They were in a huge test with Alliance, with the score 20-20 with three minutes to go,” Rhodes said of the Cardinals, who Gering Edged last year in Chadron, 14-13. “Obviously they are pretty good.”

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