Bayard falls short of playoff with loss to Kimball
     2012-10-25      By Terry Gaston   
Photo by Sheila Weber/for the Citizen Bayard sophomore Phillip Schuller (No. 4) strives toward the endzone with two Kimball Longhorns in hot pursuit. The Tigers were just shy of the energy needed to make the Class C-2 playoffs this year, ending their season (3-5). 
BAYARD – The chances of the Bayard Tigers advancing to the Class C2 state playoffs for a third straight year looked hopeful for the first two quarters Thursday night against the Kimball Longhorns in a District C2-10 game that essentially decided which of the 3-4 teams would advance to the postseason.

After senior Allen Denton scored off the opening kickoff and junior quarterback Zac Rice scored early in the second quarter, the Tigers led by eight. But Denton was lost for the second quarter to a knee injury and for the game after a short comeback attempt in the third period.

Meanwhile, Kimball controlled the ball for more than six minutes in the second quarter, scored the game-tying touchdown with nine seconds left before halftime, turned up its defensive pressure on Rice and the Tigers, scored two more unanswered touchdowns and left Bayard with a 27-21 victory.

The Longhorns (4-4) thus earned one of the final C2 playoff berths and will be the No. 13 seed in the west bracket and play No. 4 seed Blue Hill (7-1) in first-round play Thursday.

“We lose like men and we will win like men,” Bayard coach Philep Willey told his players, who rallied into playoff contention after losing their first three games. “I feel like we could have beaten those guys on another night, I felt we could have beaten them tonight, but that’s life, that’s one of the hard lessons of football.”

Bayard seemed ready to go, riding Denton’s 30-yard opening kickoff return to the Tigers’ 42-yard line. Eleven plays later, Denton scored on a 5-yard run and senior Dustin Daniel kicked the extra point for a 7-0 Bayard lead just 3:18 into the game.

Kimball began its first scoring drive with a 22-yard run by sophomore Colton Stull to the Bayard 39. The six-play drive culminated on senior Austin Pile’s 27-yard touchdown pass to sophomore Jonathan Withrow with 1:46 left in the first period. The extra-point attempt never got off when the snap was fumbled.

Bayard took advantage of another Longhorn miscue on special teams, a high punt snap that put the Tigers at the Kimball 11-yard line. Rice ran on two plays, the last a 5-yarder, and Daniel’s kick had Bayard ahead 14-6 with 9:01 left in the half.

The teams traded three-and-out possessions before Kimball found its offensive niche with an 18-play, 74-yard series on which Pile completed 5 of 6 passes – the lone incompletion was a spike to stop the clock with 14 seconds left at the Bayard 4-yard line. He connected with senior Caleb Reuter for the TD on the next play, and Stull’s 2-point run tied the score going into halftime.

After the teams traded turnovers in the third quarter, Kimball got a short field from the Bayard 29 and Withrow scored three plays later on a 7-yard run. The extra-point attempt was blocked by Bayard junior Richard Kadayso, but the Longhorns had the lead.

Kimball tackle Jake Reader then gave the Bayard offense fits, proving to be a key factor in stopping the Tigers’ offensive threat.
“We couldn’t account for Jake Reader,” 6-foot-3, 210-pound junior, who had four quarterback sacks, three solo tackles, six assists and two other tackles for lost yardage. “We tried a lot of different things, we tried cutting him, we tried double-teaming him, but he did a great job.”

Kimball extended its lead to 28-14 with 4:49 remaining on Withrow’s 84-yard TD run, which followed Pile’s interception of Rice that was tipped by Stull. The play could have taken the wind out of the Tigers’ sails.

Instead, Bayard scored on the ensuing, 66-yard drive on a 13-yard pass from Rice to senior Tyson Schmunk with 2:25 remaining. Daniel made the extra point, and the Tigers tried an onside kick that didn’t work.

After a Kimball punt, Bayard got one last chance from its own 29. However, Reader sacked Rice once and teamed with another Longhorn to end Bayard’s hopes on four straight plays with lost yards.

Denton hobbled his way to 56 yards on 16 carries, while Rice netted 53 yards on 20 rushes – he had 77 yards before Kimball’s final defensive assault on the Tigers’ final series.

Rice completed 10 of 27 passes for 100 yards with one interception. Senior Braydon Parriott had three catches for 43 yards and Schmunk pulled in four passes for 30 yards.

Defensively, junior Tanner Willey had six solo tackles and four assists with two tackles for losses and two quarterback sacks. Parriott had six solo stops with seven assists and one fumble recovery, while senior Austin Willey had two solo tackles, seven assists and one fumble recovery. Junior Chris Wurm had five solo tops and seven assists.

For Kimball, Withrow had 117 yards on nine rushes and Stull gained 79 yards on 16 carries. Pile completed 8 of 11 passes for 88 yards, with Reuter catching four passes for 39 yards and Withrow making two receptions for 36 yards.

“I’m proud of the kids,” Willey said. “They haven’t given up all year and they didn’t start tonight.

“This will be a tough group of seniors to replace. I won’t forget this season for a long time. There wasn’t very high expectations going in, and I think they proved a lot of people wrong.”

While Bayard (3-5) saw its hopes of extending its season ended, four other area teams played in season finales Friday night. Two of those, Mitchell and Morrill, ended their seasons on explosively high notes to break respective five-game losing streaks.

Morrill 88, Sutherland 40

The Lions had their Thursday trip to Sutherland and the teams’ District D1-10 finale postponed by torrid cross winds that closed Interstate 80 for much of Thursday.

The delay to Friday only added fire to Morrill’s offense, which outscored winless Sutherland 56-6 in the second and third quarters after the Lions trailed the Sailors 20-16 after the first period.
Taylor Lackey rushed for 184 yards and three touchdowns and threw for 266 yards and two more TDs in giving Morrill (3-5) its first win since Sept. 7. Alex Gonzales ran for three touchdowns and caught another from Lackey, while Sheldon Le had 91 rushing yards and one touchdown and had 95 receiving yards.

On defense, Matt Hessler led Morrill with eight tackles and four quarterback sacks. Gonzales had 12 total tackles and one interception. Lackey, Le and Colten Miller made 10 tackles apiece, and Noonie Gomez had two sacks.

Mitchell 35, Gordon-Rushville 28

At Mitchell, the Tigers got 227 yards and four touchdowns on 32 carries by junior Adam Schlotthauer in snapping their own five-game slide with the win in District C1-10 action.

Mitchell (2-6) recorded more than 500 yards of offense against the Mustangs (3-5). Senior quarterback Brendan Swanson completed 7 of 12 passes for 168 yards and ran for a first-quarter TD. Junior Bo McVay caught five passes for 156 yards.

Crawford 48, Banner County 30

At Harrisburg, the Wildcats’ hopes of ending the season with a win were dashed by the visiting Rams, who finished 2-6 on the year after the teams’ D2-10 district finale.

Banner County finished with its third 0-8 season in four years after the Wildcats were 1-7 last season.
Elba/NL-Scotia 58, Minatare 18

The host Indians (1-6) saw their season ended Friday afternoon with a 40-point loss to Elba/North Loup-Scotia (4-4) in the six-man ranks.

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