Bearcats finish season 9-0 with romp over Sidney
     2012-10-25      By Terry Gaston   
Photo by Sheila Weber/for the Citizen Scottsbluff sophomore Ty Benson (No. 21) runs the ball for Scottsbluff as Sidney sophomore Brian Rolls (No. 55) plunges in for the tackle at Bearcat Stadium on Friday during the Bearcats’ final regular season game. The Bearcats remain undefeated, earning them the No. 1 seed in the Class B State playoffs. 
Scottsbluff earns No. 1 seed for Class B playoffs, opens against York

SCOTTSBLUFF – Just because a team finishes its regular season undefeated does not mean it still has no areas to improve.
Such is the case with the Scottsbluff Bearcats football team, which gave up 487 total yards to Alliance on Oct. 12.

The Bearcats righted its defensive ship Friday night against Sidney, with junior Andrew Aratani scoring a touchdown on an interception and senior Tim Magdaleno’s pick setting up senior Matt Klein’s second touchdown of the first quarter in fueling Scottsbluff’s 35-6 romp over the Red Raiders.

The win gave Scottsbluff a 9-0 record, the third in school history and the first since the 2001 season. The victory also clinched the Bearcats’ third consecutive district B-8 title and also the No. 1 seed for the Class B playoffs, which Scottsbluff opens Friday at Bearcat Stadium against York (5-4).

“I’m very proud and I’m happy for the kids, I think that’s an outstanding achievement,” Benson said. “If you’re going to be in this game to coach, to win every game, that’s not going to be a very good profession for you. You want the kids to grow and so on, and when you do something like that, that’s special and I told the kids to enjoy it and celebrate it.”

The first quarter was all the Bearcats needed in dominating the Red Raiders (1-8), who rode into the game off a 237-rushing-yard performance by junior Logan Lewis in a 44-24 win over Gering for their first victory of the season.

In the first period against Scottsbluff, Lewis netted 48 rushing yards, but needed 14 carries to do so. Lewis finished with 105 yards on 34 carries, barely 3 yards per attempt.

“If you had told me before that would have gotten just 105 yards, I would have been very pleased,” Benson said. “And we played without three starters.”

Scottsbluff, on the other hand, had 99 rushing yards in the opening quarter on a mere six plays, with Klein scoring on a 59-yard run down the left sideline for the game’s first score just 3:22 into the game. Senior Randy Wentz’s extra-point kick gave the Bearcats the quick 7-0 lead.

On second-and-20 from Sidney’s own 22-yard line, Raider sophomore Lane Harvey’s jump pass was read perfectly by Aratani, who returned the interception 20 yards for the touchdown. Wentz’s extra point gave Scottsbluff a 14-0 advantage with still 6:41 left in the first quarter.

“I just read the quarterback, when he dropped back I knew it was going to be a screen,” the 6-foot-2, 280-pound Aratani said. “I just stood there for three or four seconds like the coaches told me to and it was coming right toward me, so I never had any trouble getting it and then I ran forward.”

Sidney caught a break after having to punt out of its next possession when Bearcat senior Luke Worden misplayed the catch on the attempted return. Red Raider sophomore Chance Anglin recovered the ball at the Scottsbluff 49.

But another holding penalty pushed the Raiders back into their own territory. And on third-and-23, Harvey was rushed to throw the ball and Magdaleno caught the wayward pass at the Sidney 40 and returned his interception 13 yards.

Klein then took the pitch from senior quarterback Eric Moreno and ran left again for a 27-yard TD with 3:23 still remaining in the opening period. Wentz kicked the extra point high and perfect, giving the Bearcats a 21-0 lead.

Sidney followed with its only scoring drive, a methodical 19-play, 80-yard series that bridged the first and second quarters for 7:37. Lewis got the Red Raiders on the board with a 6-yard carry with 7:45 left before halftime, but Harvey’s 2-point pass attempt missed.

Two series later, Scottsbluff churned out a six-play drive that included 23 yards by Klein on one carry to the Sidney 25 and 11 yards by Worden on three carries.

Magdaleno had two rushes, the first on a 17-yard gain to the Sidney 8 and he finished the series on a 1-yard rush with 3:04 remaining before intermission. Wentz’s extra-point kick gave the Bearcats a 28-6 lead that stood through the halftime break.

Senior Taylor Winkler made Scottsbluff’s third interception of Harvey on Sidney’s second down of the third quarter. The Bearcats’ were unable to score on the ensuing series, but they did on their next possession which started at their own 32-yard line.

While running primarily out of the Wildcat formation, Klein had two rushes and two passes to Winkler. The first completion went for 30 yards to the Sidney 30, and the second came on a left screen that Winkler ended 33 yards later for the Bearcats’ fifth TD with 5:13 left in the third period. Wentz’s fifth successful extra point ended the scoring at 35-6.

Klein finished the night with 140 rushing yards on 10 carries with his two first-quarter touchdowns and was 2-for-3 for 63 passing yards and his TD connection with Winkler. Moreno had one completion for 10 yards on four attempts.

As a team, Scottsbluff ran for 211 yards and passed for 73 for 288 yards on 40 plays. Sidney needed 73 plays to amass 203 yards, with 112 yards coming on the ground and Harvey completing 8 of 17 passes for 101 yards with the three interceptions.

“They still made some plays, but we played a lot better on defense,” Benson said. “I’m really pleased with the progress we made, but we still have a long ways to go.”

Perhaps four games to go – and a spot in the Class B state championship game on Nov. 20 at the University of Nebraska Lincoln’s Memorial Stadium.

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