Bearcats open with shutout of Minutemen
     2012-08-30      By Terry Gaston   
Photo by Sheila Weber/for the Citizen
Bearcat senior Luke Worden (No. 34) takes the ball for yardage while teammate Tim Magdaleno (No. 33) blocks against Lexington defenders at Friday’s season opener at Bearcat Stadium. The Bearcats downed the Minutemen handily, 26-0.
 
SCOTTSBLUFF — Tim Magdaleno sat out his junior year for the Scottsbluff football team last season.

From his performance last Friday in the Bearcats’ 26-0, season-opening victory over Lexington at Bearcat Stadium, Magdaleno proved his value in the lineups right away.

The 5-foot-10, 180-pound Magdaleno proved his mettle as a fullback with his solid blocking in the Bearcats’ 430-yard offensive performance that included 307 rushing yards.

Although he had only 3 yards on three carries, No. 33 made his biggest mark on defense, when the “Mike” linebacker stripped the ball from Lexington receiver Will Longly at the Scottsbluff 15-yard line and ran back the fumble to score the Bearcats’ third touchdown and a 19-0 lead with 6:12 left in the third quarter.
Magdaleno’s play came after Scottsbluff had driven the opening kickoff 65 yards to the Lexington 15 but came away empty when senior
Randy Wentz missed a 32-yard field goal.

That missed opportunity became one of redemption for the Bearcats, however, on the Minutemen’s first play from scrimmage afterward. Senior quarterback Trever Miller flipped a short pass to Longly, who found himself covered well — and in a split second, empty-handed.
“When we went down to the locker room, we were talking about how they’re not holding the ball high and tight, having it a little loose,” Magdaleno said. “I saw it loose, and I went for the ball, stripped it out and ran it back. We got the momentum back, had to get it going.”

While Scottsbluff senior veterans Matt T. Klein, Luke Worden, Eric Moreno and Wentz made their scoring marks as well, no Bearcat score proved as crowd-exciting — and Lexington deflating — as Magdaleno’s take-and-run score.

“His learning curve is huge but he is going to get a lot better,” Scottsbluff head coach Joe Benson said. “We ask our kids to do a lot and we’re really proud of them.”

Magdaleno’s touchdown capped a defensive performance in which the Bearcats allowed Lexington just 165 total yards, 54 of which came in the first quarter with ensuing periods of just 26, 39 and 46 yards.
Still, Benson gave credit to the Minutemen, who kept Scottsbluff’s defense busy but also gave the Bearcats opportunities to shut them down.

“We played really hard but we were really sloppy,” Benson said. “Lexington is a lot better than I thought they were. We shot ourselves in the foot on defense a couple times.”
Scottbluff held the Minutemen to negative yardage on three plays in the game’s opening series and the offense took over at its own 44-yard line following the first of eight Lexington punts.
Klein and Worden combined for all 56 yards on the seven-play drive, with Klein taking the pitch from Moreno and running 20 yards for the Bearcats’ first touchdown of the season. Wentz kicked the extra point, putting Scottsbluff up 7-0 with 7:32 left in the opening period.

After being forced to punt again on its next series, Lexington’s third possession was the Minutemen’s most productive with 47 yards gained to the Scottsbluff 40. But Bearcat senior Jon Maag’s 6-yard sack of Miller ended the drive and forced another punt.
That drive gave Lexington its deepest penetration into Bearcat territory all night and one of just five times the Minutemen cross the big red S at midfield.

Scottsbluff needed just three plays to make its lead 13-0. Worden used his breakaway speed to run 50 yards down the left sideline for the score, just 35 seconds into the second quarter. Wentz missed the extra point kick, however.

Although the Bearcats amassed 173 offensive yards in the second period and 228 for the first half, Scottsbluff was kept off the scoreboard until halftime.

“I feel like the offense was pretty solid, but we always have some things to work on,” said Magdaleno, who is very versatile in the Bearcats’ multiple offensive sets.

“I play behind Luke, and when he’s out I go in, when he goes to wide receiver I go to fullback,” he said. “I’m just kind of the power guy, I’ve got the blocks, I have the tight end side sometimes. Just do what I’ve got to do.“

Moreno, who was 7-for-11 through the air, completed his 133-yard night with a 25-yard strike to a wide open Wentz in the end zone with 7:02 remaining in the game.

Klein ran the ball 20 times for 147 yards, while Worden had 96 yards on nine carries. After Moreno’s touchdown to Wentz, Benson started resting his first-teamers, and nine Bearcats had rushes before night’s end.

Scottsbluff takes to the road this week for its annual meeting against McCook, which lost its season-opener at Aurora. Kickoff for Friday’s game is at 6 p.m. Mountain Time and matches the No. 2 ranked Bearcats against the No. 9 ranked Bison from this week’s Omaha World-Herald Class B rankings. Aurora replaced McCook at No. 4.

Scottsbluff will return home next Friday to play Holdrege, a 40-20 loser at home to Gering in the teams’ season opener.

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