Unbeaten Bearcats make complete-game statement: Scottsbluff wins 32-8 at Aurora in battle of 4-0 teams
     2012-10-01      By Terry Gaston   
Photo by Sheila Weber/for the Citizen
Senior Bearcat Luke Worden (No. 34) faces a challenge against a Lexington challenger, while teammate senior Tim Magdaleno (No. 33) thwarts an attack from the left during an Aug. 24 home game against the Minutemen. The Bearcats are having an outstanding season, yet undefeated after last week’s win against the fourth ranked Aurora, 32-8.
 
Although the Scottsbluff Bearcats had begun the football season with four victories, in which they had outscored their first quartet of victims 115-20, Scottsbluff coach Joe Benson said he had not yet seen a complete-game effort from the Bearcats.

In a game that had much of the state’s football faithful turning its eyes toward Aurora on Friday night, Scottsbluff not only turned in that elusive complete-game performance sought by Benson and staff, but the Class B, No. 2 rated Bearcats dominated the No. 4 ranked Huskies on their home field in the process, 32-8.

As has been their custom this season, the Bearcats struck early and often to put their opponents on their heels.

With the game drawing such broad attention since the teams were in the Omaha World-Herald’s top four of Class B rankings, Benson said the Bearcats reached into their state experience in other sports to find that extra dose of fortitude that being in a spotlight situation often requires.

“It is different when have kids who have been in those situations through basketball, track and wrestling,” Benson said, in particular the Class B state championship basketball and track teams from last March and May.

“It is easier when you have those kids who have been in those situations and they kind of embrace it.”

Indeed, the Bearcats embraced the chance to show how strong that decisive average of winning by nearly 24 points per game was through their first four contests — even when they have only scored 14 after halftime and none in two games after intermission.

Scottsbluff senior Matt T. Klein led the Scottsbluff ground game with 124 yards on 25 carries, and he scored the game’s first points — and the first of his three touchdowns — on a 2-yard rush to end the game’s opening possession. Senior Randy Wentz nailed the extra-point kick for a 7-0 Bearcat lead.

But Klein and Company weren’t done, even in the first quarter. Aurora (4-1) tried a fake pass play out of punt formation from its own 21 on fourth-and-9.

Senior quarterback Eric Moreno then hit senior Taylor Winkler on a 26-yard scoring pass, and Wentz’s ensuing kick gave the Bearcats a quick, 14-0 lead.

The Huskies cut into Scottsbluff’s lead with a second-quarter touchdown and 2-point run conversion.

But that was as close as Aurora got to the well-focused Bearcats. In starting the second half by stopping the Huskies on three plays, Scottsbluff scored after going 56 yards on six plays.

Klein ran 31 yards on third-and-1 to the Husky 16, then senior Tim Magdaleno drove 14 yards to the Aurora 2. Klein scored from a yard out two plays later, and his PAT run after he took a direct snap out of the kick formation gave the Bearcats a 22-8 advantage.

In the fourth quarter, Scottsbluff posted 10 more unanswered points when Wentz cleared a 27-yard field goal to start the period. Then after Magdaleno returned a fumble deep in Bearcat territory 37 yards to the 43, Scottsbluff was in business again.

Moreno, who was 7-for-12 for 98 yards on the night, connected with Winkler on a 37-yard pass play. Klein finished the scoring drive on another 1-yard rush and Wentz added the extra-point kick.

“We played four quarters like we’ve been playing two or three quarters,” Benson said. “I am just pleased at how well we have played and how well everything came together.”

With Klein leading the way, the Bearcats finished with 154 rushing yards and 252 overall from scrimmage. Aurora had 296 total yards, 187 passing and 109 rushing — but just eight points.

“I think our bend-don’t-break philosophy worked well,” Benson said. “We had the field-position advantage on them and gave them a lot of tries, but they just couldn’t finish their drives.”

The Bearcats will have their staunch defense tested when Grand Island Northwest visits for Scottsbluff’s homecoming game Friday at Bearcat Stadium. Kickoff is set for 6 p.m.

Northwest is coming off a 40-23 home victory over Gering, in which Vikings quarterback Zach Rouzee threw for a Class B record 421 yards with five touchdowns.

The Vikings’ only loss was at McCook, 26-13 in the third game of the season. Scottsbluff won at McCook the previous week, 17-7.

“Northwest is obviously a big challenge,” Benson said. “I have watched them play all four games they won (on video) and they can score on anybody and at anytime. So we will have our hands full.”

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