Gering survives Chadron rally for season’s first win
     2013-09-12      By Philip Eckerberg   
Photo by Ken Kurtz/Spectrum Photo Senior Bulldog Justin Brester (No. 86) deflects a catch by a Holdrege opponent during the Bulldogs’ first home game of the season. The Bulldogs earned their first win last week at Chadron in overtime. 
The Gering Bulldogs Football team notched its first win Friday night beating the Chadron Cardinals 27-26 in an overtime road win with senior quarterback Dillon DeMott, who is still recovering from a knee injury received in the game against Holdrege. Sophomore Austin Hoffman started as Gering’s quarterback.

Gering started the contest by receiving the ball, Chadron kicked the ball out of bounds and Gering started with great field position on its own 35 yard line. Gering failed to take advantage of this and punted it away after three and out.

The Cardinals gave the Bulldogs a great opportunity as they fumbled on their first play and Gering’s Ryan Schwartzkopf recovered at Chadron’s 37 yard line. It took just four plays by Bulldog Gage Smith including one 23-yard run to get into the end zone for the first Gering touchdown. Smith also added the point after for a 7-0 Gering lead with 9:03 left in the first quarter.

The Bulldogs would keep the Cardinals grounded for their next series as Chadron tried to go for it on 4TH down and failed to advance and Gering took over on downs. Gering stalled on this possession and punted to the Cardinals.

The Cardinals could not advance and were forced to punt from inside their end zone. Bulldog’s Schwartzkopf ran the ball to the 30 and Gering took over again in field position. The Bulldogs took advantage of this as Quarterback Austin Hoffman passed to Justin Brester for a touchdown. This was Hoffman’s first completed pass of 16 yards. Gage Smith tacked on the point after for Gering’s lead of 14-0 in the second quarter.

There was no more scoring in the first half. Chadron received the second half kickoff as Bulldog Gage Smith kicked into the end zone and Chadron took over on their own 20 yard line. The first play Chadron fumbled the pitch and it was scooped up by Justin Brester and ran in for a touchdown. Things started to go bad for the Dawgs as a bad snap caused a failure of the point after touchdown. Gering led at this point 20-0. The missed point after would prove to be critical later on.

It looked as though the Bulldogs would have an easy half to close out the game with a comfortable lead. The Cardinals had other plans though deciding to fight back instead of rolling over and playing dead. Chadron began its comeback when quarterback T.D. Stein found Jackson Dickerson in a 69 yard touchdown pass and run. The extra point was good and with 2:49 left in the third quarter score was now 20-7.

The fourth quarter open to another Cardinal touchdown pass as Stein found Lane Jersild for a pass and run and another touchdown. Bulldog fans had to be nervous as the extra point was good and Gering’s once 20 point lead was cut to 6 with the score of 20-14 Gering’s lead.

The game was delayed for about 40 minutes as a thunderstorm moved through Chadron and the lightning was too close to play. The game resumed and with 2:36 left on the clock the Chadron fans went crazy as the Cardinals struck again as Stein ran in from the 3-yard line. Just like Gering’s third touchdown the extra point attempt failed for Chadron and the score was tied at 20.

Regulation time ran out with no further scores and Gering was really longing for their missed point after. Overtime began with Chadron starting first on its 10 yard line and banged the ball into the end zone for a touchdown; however, the point after failed to find the uprights again. Chadron had their first and only lead of the game.

Gering took their turn from the 10 yard line. It took Gage Smith four plays as quarterback to get across the goal line and Gering now had it tied at 26. Smith would finish off the game with an accurate kick for the point after touchdown. Gering won 27-26.

Gage Smith had 35 carries for 170 yards and two touchdowns. Smith said that Gering had a good game plan going into the game and that Chadron took advantage of mistakes Gering made in the second half. He added they are preparing this week for Lexington by watching film and adding some new plays.

Gering 1-1 plays tomorrow at home against Lexington 0-2. Lexington is coming off it second loss of the year having been beaten by Scottsbluff 15-7 two weeks ago and York 29-0 last week.

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