Big 4th quarter lifts Minatare to victory: Banner County learns from 6-man opener, romps past Cody-Kilgore
     2013-09-12      By Terry Gaston    sports@geringcitizen.com
Photo by Sheila Weber/for the Citizen Sophomore Bearcat Brad Johnston (No. 22) takes McCook opponent Jesse Dett down in Friday’s home opener at Bearcat Stadium. The Bearcats suffered a 8-13 loss. 
Minatare football coach J.J. Ozuna said the Indians needed to find more intensity following their season-opening loss Aug. 30 to Sioux County.

After playing Wauneta-Palisade even on the scoreboard through three quarters Friday in Wauneta, Minatare erupted for 26 fourth-period points and came away from southwest Nebraska with a 52-34 victory in their Six-Man League contest.

“The guys had the heart and determination to pull this victory out,” Ozuna said. “There were a lot of ups and downs in the first three quarters. They got some stops in the red zone and we got some stops, we had turnovers and they had turnovers. It was just a back-and-forth game.

“For the guys to actually settle down and know that it was now or never, to either win it big or to lose it by a close one.”

Minatare (1-1) amassed 495 total offensive yards, getting 221 rushing yards and five touchdowns from Javier Guerrero. Tyler Koke completed 10 passes for 166 yards and two touchdowns and Guerrero completed a 35-yard pass for another TD.

Tylor Grumbles had two touchdowns receptions for 39 total yards, and Juan Garfio had three catches for 50 yards and one TD.

Garfio had a potent defensive effort, making two interceptions, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery. Josh Cinocco led the Indians in tackles with 11, while Dominic Longoria added nine tackles and Chance McAllister made eight stops.

Also, Yovan Perez had an interception to go with four tackles, and Robert Ellis made a fumble recovery along with three tackles.

“Our DBs were excellent, and on offense we did a better job of sticking with our blocks,” said Ozuna, whose team last year was 1-7.

The Indians were coming off a 58-41 home loss to Sioux County in the teams’ opener, and Ozuna said having early intensity against Wauneta-Palisade was a key factor for Minatare.

“We made it a big point not to come out flat this game,” Ozuna said. “Also, penalties killed us that first game, and we only had a couple last game, so that was a big improvement.

“Also on special teams, we had three turnovers that first game, and this game we actually recovered a couple of our own kickoffs, so what we focused on we ended up correcting pretty well and I think that was the difference in the game.”

Minatare returns to Platte Valley Companies Field on Friday for a 6 p.m. game against Maywood. The Tigers enter the game with a 0-2 record after a 61-39 home loss to Sioux County (2-0).

“We just want to build on the intensity and aggressiveness to go after the ball on defense,” Ozuna said in preparing for Maywood. “Also, we want to preach to them that it’s still a team sport and it takes all six of them out there to accomplish what we get.”


McCook 13, Scottsbluff 8

In a game delayed by lightning by more than two hours, the faithful at Bearcat Stadium who held out for a late Friday night affair almost got treated to Scottsbluff’s 16h straight regular-season victory.

McCook, however, made its longer-than-expected stay in Scottsbluff worth the while when the Bison scored with 49 seconds left in the game to gain the win and spoil the Bearcats’ comeback.

Scottsbluff junior Jackson Hinze had two field goals, the first a 31-yarder late in the first period to give the Bearcats a 3-0 lead.

McCook quarterback Colton Sis linked with Bret Baumbach for a 22-yard completion with 1:24 left in the first half for the Bison’s first score, and their 7-3 lead held up until halftime.

Scottsbluff got two points back in the third quarter when Andrew Aratani and Brad Johnston teamed up to sack Sis for a safety, and then Hinze’s 37-yard field goal with 6:50 remaining in the game put the Bearcats ahead 8-7.

McCook – a 22-7 loser to Aurora in its opener, which was also delayed by severe weather – drove 70 yards and scored on Sis’s 1-yard run with 49 seconds remaining. The Bison missed the two-point conversion but held on to end the long night victoriously.

Ty Benson led the Bearcats’ ground game with 73 yards on 22 carries. Hinze completed four passes for 47 yards, two to Matthew Mickey for 32 yards.

Scottsbluff returns to action Friday with a trip to Holdrege. The Dusters, 21-12 winners at Gering in the teams’ season opener Aug. 30, were dealt a 44-13 setback Friday to Alliance.


Banner County wins

The Banner County Wildcats turned what they learned from their first six-man game, a 52-point loss to Hyannis on Aug. 30, into their first victory Friday at their new level, a 54-12 romp at Cody-Kilgore.

“Our kids did well on Friday,” said Heath Johnson, Banner County’s principal and first-year coach. “They were able to watch film and see where we needed to improve and they worked hard in practice all week long to fix those areas. It was nice to have a game and see where we needed to improve specifically.”

Mike McKown led the Wildcats in rushing with 190 yards and three touchdowns, while Ben Hostetler completed 4 of 5 passes for 67 yards and one TD. Hostetler also led all tacklers with nine solo stops and five assists.

“This is our first year in six man, so the teams we play have a little leg up in the fact that they spent the first few weeks just getting timing down,” Johnson said. “Cody is a classy program with good coaches, and we felt very appreciative to have played them.”

Banner County makes its home debut at the six-man level when the Wildcats (1-1) play host to Sioux County (2-0) on Friday at 7 p.m.

“Our focus this week, as with every week, is to continue to improve,” Johnson said. “Win or lose, we want to get better at all phases of the game. Hopefully, with this being our homecoming, we get a win. But we certainly have a very worthy opponent this week.”


Other action
The only other teams that played Friday was Mitchell, which was manhandled in its season opener at Gothenburg 59-20.

All county-area teams will be in action this week, with Mitchell hosting Cozad in the Tigers’ home opener at 7 p.m.

After having last week off, Bayard (0-1) has its home opener against North Platte-St. Patrick’s at 6:30 p.m., and Morrill (0-1) entertains Crawford at 7 p.m.


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