Special teams decide Kimball’s win over Mitchell: Area football roundup
     2012-10-01      By Terry Gaston   
Photo by Sheila Weber/for the Citizen Mitchell’s Brendan Swanson (No. 8) looks for an open player while teammate Brayden Wiedman (No. 24) blocks a Kimball challenger during Friday’s home game against Kimball. The Tigers were defeated by the Longhorns, 33-24. 
MITCHELL — When two football teams combine for 677 offensive yards, more than likely the scoring will be high as well. But it also indicates that some likely twist in the action would be the deciding factor in the outcome.

In a battle of teams that had just one win apiece against five combined defeats, Kimball overcame a 71-yard deficit in total offense by turning the scoreboard and momentum away from Mitchell with a pair of long kickoff returns by sophomore Jonathan Withrow for touchdowns to take a 33-24 victory.

In a game that featured five lead changes, the visiting Longhorns used a 90-yard kickoff from Withrow in the second quarter return to answer the Tigers’ game-tying touchdown — a 15-yard run by junior Adam Schlotthauer.

Kimball missed the extra point, however, and thus gave Mitchell the opportunity to take a 14-13 lead into halftime when freshman Jorge Arellano scored from 6 yards out with 3:02 left before intermission. Junior Bo McVay’s second extra-point kick gave the Tigers the one-point halftime edge.

Mitchell’s second-quarter outburst gave the Tigers a 191-159 advantage in total yardage.

McVay, who returned the second-half kickoff 33 yards to the Mitchell 42, increased the Tigers’ lead to 17-13 with a 32-yard field goal that ended the ensuing 11-play drive.

Kimball used three double-digit passing plays to fuel the Longhorns’ following series, with senior Austin Pile completing a 13-yard pass to senior tight end Caleb Reuter to put the Longhorns ahead 20-17 with 1:57 left in the third quarter.

Pile completed all three of his passes on the drive for 42 yards, and he was 7-for-12 on the night for 92 yards.

Mitchell followed with a 65-yard series that bridged the third and fourth quarters, ending with Schlotthauer‘s 1-yard run and McVay’s extra point 39 seconds into the final period for a 24-20 Tiger lead. Senior quarterback Randy Swanson connected with McVay for 36 yards to the Kimball 9 four plays earlier.

But after the Tigers retook a four-point lead, Withrow emerged from a scrum following the ensuing kickoff and ran 79 yards for the Longhorns’ final lead change with 11:01 remaining in the game.

After holding Mitchell to three plays and forcing a punt, Kimball drove 13 plays over 69 yards and 6:33 to seal the victory on Pile’s 2-yard plunge with 2:37 left on the clock.

Besides the obvious breakdowns on kickoff return coverage that allowed Withrow’s two game-decisive touchdowns, Mitchell coach Chris Bailey was left perplexed at his team’s special team’s performance.
In the first quarter, a high punt snap sailed over McVay’s head. McVay still salvaged a 9-yard net on his rugby-style boot from about 20 yards back of his placement, but the mishap set up Kimball’s first touchdown drive at the Longhorns‘ 46.

Kimball needed 11 plays and 6:57 to cover the remaining 54 yards, which ended on Pile’s 15-yard completion to Reuter 1:30 into the second quarter.

The Longhorns’ game-opening series included a fake punt, on which senior up-man Bernie Bridge took the direct snap and hauled 35 yards 35 yards to the Mitchell 24.

But the Tigers ended the drive when a fumble forced by Pile ended up in Mitchell senior Austyn Wright’s arms. Still, Mitchell was held to a net of 22 yards that ended in McVay’s short punt.

“The fake punt, the two kick returns back, you can’t have that,” said Bailey, the Tigers’ second-year coach. “Up to this point, we’ve had pretty good special teams. You have to play every snap every down, and we’ve been practicing it and just need to keep at it.”
In leading Mitchell offensively, Schlotthauer gained 158 yards on 21 carries with his two TDs. Arellano had 61 yards and his TD on 10 carries.

Swanson was 10-for-20 for 124 passing yards with one interception, and he carried the ball seven times for 28 yards. McVay pulled in six of Swanson’s passes for 92 yards.

On defense, Schlotthauer and Swanson had a dozen tackles apiece for the Tigers.

“I think offensively we were rolling,” Bailey said. “Defensively at times we would play really well and times we were lax. We have to play with serious heart, and it just comes down to consistency. We have said to our kids again and again and again that we have to be more consistent. The great teams do that.”

Mitchell (1-3) next travels to Imperial to take on Chase County. The Longhorns are 2-2, coming off consecutive losses to Chadron (27-20) and Cozad (32-20). Mitchell was a 77-26 loser at Cozad (now 3-1) on Sept. 7.

Kimball (2-3) faces a long trek of its own, to Grant on Friday to face Perkins County (4-0).

“We’ve got four games left, the season isn’t over and we’ve got to keep playing,” said Bailey, whose team begins District C1-10 action next Friday at home against Ogallala.

“I know our kids well. I’m proud of how hard they worked at the end and we’re getting better every time, but we have to start doing the things it takes to win.“

Bayard 47, Dundy Co.-Stratton 0

In Benkelman, hard work against tough early-season opposition paid off for Bayard in a battle of Tigers who were each looking for victory No. 1.

The visiting Tigers (1-3) rolled up 480 total offensive yards, held DC-Stratton (0-5) to 51 yards, all by passing, and scored what seventh-year coach Philep Willey believes is his first winning shutout.

“The best part is we were a little more disciplined, and that includes having heart,” Willey said. “We were solid against the other teams but we weren’t able to finish.”

Bayard junior Zac Rice threw for 289 yards and six touchdowns on 24 of 37 completions and also ran for 73 yards.

Senior Brayden Parriott had seven receptions for 108 yards and two touchdowns, while senior Allen Denton split out of the backfield to catch six Rice passes for 79 yards and two TDs. Denton also gained 93 of the Tigers’ 191 rushing yards and had another TD on the run.
Other playmakers for Bayard included junior David Schuler with six catches for 72 yards and one TD, and senior Tyson Schmunk with two catches for 13 yards and a TD plus a 2-point conversion.

“Zac and the running backs had a big night,” said Willey, who also collectively praised both the offensive and defensive lines. “The O-line played to their potential and played great in protecting Zac, and they were running blitzes. The defense also had a phenomenal game.”

Bayard will welcome Hershey for Friday’s action. Hershey (2-2) defeated Bridgeport 12-0 on Friday.

“Hershey is pretty talented, so we will see if we got any better,” Willey said.

Hyannis 58, Minatare 54

The home-standing Minatare Indians were unable to make 54 points enough for victory as Hyannis scored its first win of the season.
Minatare quarterback Tyler Koke had 249 passing yards on 12 of 23 completions with four touchdowns. Javier Guerrero caught five of Koke’s passes for 154 yards and three TD, while Chance McAllister made three receptions for 57 yards and one TD. Steven Juarez had four receptions for 38 yards.

Guerrero led the Indians in rushing with 17 carries for 128 yards and three TDs.

Defensively, Marc Cinocco recovered a Hyannis fumble and scored on his 76-yard return.

Minatare will travel to Arthur County on Friday.

SMC 59, Morrill 18

After opening its first eight-man season with two victories, Morrill slipped to 2-2 after committing six turnovers against Stapleton-McPherson County in the teams’ District D1-10 opener at Stapleton.
Lions quarterback Taylor Lackey ran for a 63-yard touchdown and completed two TD passes to Sheldon Le, the first for 13 yards and the second for 30. SMC (4-0) led 23-12 after the first quarter and 49-18 at halftime.

Morrill has 4-0 Paxton at home on Friday. Paxton downed Maxwell 54-18 in its closest game thus far.

Potter-Dix 65, Banner Co. 24

At Harrisburg, the Banner County Wildcats ran into an aerial assault by Potter-Dix quarterback Luke Johnson, who threw for 312 yards and six touchdowns by halftime in the District D2-10 opener for both teams.

Johnson, who led the visiting Coyotes (3-1) to a 53-0 halftime lead, rested during the second half. The Wildcats (0-4) were able to scratch three second-half touchdowns, beginning with Ben Hostetler’s 45-yard scoring run and ensuing 2-point rush.

After Potter-Dix completed its scoring in the third, Banner County scored twice in the fourth quarter on Tyson Dahlgrin’s 10-yard rush and 2-point run, and Kaden Huber’s 35-yard interception return followed by another 2-point run by Dahlgren.

The Wildcats rushed for 285 yards, led by Michael McKown with 16 carries for 107 yards and Hostetler with 15 rushes for 103 yards.
Banner County continues district play Friday in Dalton against Leyton (3-2), which won its district opener 48-18 over Hay Springs.

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