Bayard rallies to down Mitchell in Tiger Bowl
     2014-09-04      By Terry Gaston    sports@geringcitizen.com
Photo by Sheila Weber/for the Citizen - Bayard quarterback Jacob Hoff (No. 8) gives the handoff to Lucas Jones (No. 3) early in the Tigers’ game at Mitchell in the first Tiger Bowl between the schools since 2007. Moving in defensively for Mitchell is Justin Senkel (No. 56). Bayard rallied from an 11-point halftime deficit to score a 38-19 win over Mitchell. 
MITCHELL – Bayard and Mitchell had not met for a varsity football game since 2007 until Friday night, and the Tiger Bowl will be on the schedule again next year as well.

The host Tigers, who were winless in 2013, gave their faithful plenty to cheer about early in outscoring Bayard 19-8 in the first half of the teams’ season opener.

But Bayard dug in on its opening drive of the third quarter to score after nine plays and also held Mitchell to just 1 yard from scrimmage in the period.

And the visiting Tigers began a fourth-quarter rout with an interception that set up Bayard’s go-ahead score, and the visitors locked up the 38-19 win with two more scores in the final five minutes.

Both Bayard coach Randy McKibbin and Mitchell mentor Chris Bailey pointed to the need for their respective teams to give a full 48-minute effort in order to achieve success as the season continues.
“Every game we have on our schedule is against a state qualifier from a year ago. It doesn’t get any easier,” said McKibbin, whose team plays host to Gibbon – a 31-6 home victor Friday over St. Paul.
Bayard dropped Mitchell for negative yards 12 times, including four quarterback sacks – three by 6-foot-5, 235-pound junior end Ethan Marker – while junior linebacker Conrad Kildow had three of Bayard’s eight tackles for lost yardage.

“I just think we were more consistent in the second half,” McKibbin said. “It’s not that we played bad in the first half; they had some big plays that kept things going for them and they were believing a lot in the first half. I just think in the second half, we settled down and we did what we do, and we were more consistent at it.”

Other than Mitchell and its 11-point halftime lead, Bayard had two obstacles to overcome in the first half. First, junior quarterback Jacob Hoff was making his first start after waiting his turn behind two-year starter Zac Rice and overcoming a broken hand that forced a shift in position.

“The first play from scrimmage a year ago, Jake breaks his hand and can’t carry the ball,” McKibbin said of Hoff, who completed 11 of 19 passes for 119 yards and one touchdown.
“He was a lineman all last year, so he has come a long ways and done exactly what we’ve asked him to do, and the whole team has. So we’re just tickled to death.”

Bayard also had five first-half penalties for 29 yards – not an unfamiliar occurrence in a team’s first game but nevertheless free yardage for Mitchell, which had 165 offensive yards in the first half to Bayard’s 106.

“The more you let it get into your head, the more it affects you, and I thought we did a better job in the second half of keeping our composure about that,” said McKibbin, whose team had 49 total penalty yards.

The second-half yardage totals were 221 for Bayard and just 42 for Mitchell. After halftime, Bayard limited Mitchell junior quarterback Drew Gilliland to just 16 passing yards (98 in the first half) and 34 rushing yards (54 total).

“Plain and simple, the second half was won at the line of scrimmage,” McKibbin said. “Gilliland had no time to do anything unless they rolled him out. When he tucked the ball and ran, he got good positive yards.

“That whole crew that played on the line of scrimmage played an awful lot a year ago, so we have some good experience there.”
Bailey credited Bayard for its energy when the visitors turned in a nine-play, 57-yard drive capped by Kildow’s 1-yard rush followed by senior Tristan Hunter’s leap over the line for the 2-point conversion. That score drew Bayard to within three at 19-16.

“I think we got the wind kind of taken out of our sails when they came out fast in the second half,” Bailey said. “We just have to develop consistency and play hard.”
If Bailey said he was pleased with one factor following the game it was that his players were upset with not maintaining their first-half success.

“We didn’t finish. We won the first half and didn’t finish the second half. A lot of it was that the kids got tired, and you have to develop consistency with our effort, execution, everything. Those are things we’re going to have to fix,” he said.

“We have to get better and we have to become consistent. I think we can play with anybody if we do that, and the boys have to understand that. I think they do, and they were pretty upset and rightfully so. They know they let it slip through their fingers.

“Our boys aren’t used to being in the lead. It’s been two years since we’ve been in a lead (in Mitchell’s 2012 season finale, a 35-28 win over Gordon-Rushville). It’s a learning experience but we have to get better.”
Bayard opened its fourth-quarter route with an interception by Phillip Schuller, who returned the pick of Gilliland 13 yards to the Mitchell 47-ayrd line.

Hoff had a 21-yard pass completion to senior Bryce Hargens that put Bayard at the 14, and three plays later Hoff rushed in from 9 yards out, giving Bayard a 22-19 lead with 9:42 remaining.
Bayard stopped Mitchell on three plays afterward and overcame two false-start penalties to score on a 10-play, 58-yard series. Hoff scored with 4:57 left from 3 yards out, one play after he hooked up with Hunter for a 14-yard completion.

The visiting Tigers topped Mitchell near midfield after 10 plays that included six plays for no or lost yardage. After Hunter ran 14 yards to the Mitchell 25, Hoff connected again with Hargens for a TD play with 1:22 remaining. Hunter’s ensuring PAT run capped the scoring.

Hunter led Bayard in rushing with 82 yards on 13 carries, while Schuller had 47 yards on five rushes. Hargens made four catches for 57 yards.

Defensively for Bayard, Marker had eight total tackles, as did Hargens, while Alex Wamboldt made seven stops with two for lost yardage.
Mtchell’s next action is Friday with a trip to Gothenburg. The Swedes lost 13-10 at home to Holdrege in their opener.

“I think our boys need to get in better shape,” Bailey said.
What does McKibbin think Bayard needs to improve on heading into Friday’s home opener?

“Everything,” he said. “We can tear that film left and right. We’re going to come back and be ready to work.”

Hay Springs 40, Morrill 32

The Morrill Lions had a 12-point halftime lead Friday at Hay Springs, but the host Hawks outscored the Lions 26-6 in the third quarter and held on for the comeback victory.
Elvariste Gomez was a big scorer for Morrill, scoring on a 48-yard touchdown run, a 79-yard kickoff return and a fumble recovery for another TD. Lorge Lara caught a 12-yard TD pass from Garrett Zwiebel, and Matt Hessler recovered a fumble for a score.
Defensively, Hessler had two fumble recoveries and 16 tackles for the Lions. Lara made 13 tackles with his scoring fumble recovery and an interception, while Zwiebel made 10 tackles and Ryan McMackin made five tackles with one interception.
Morrill will play host to Potter-Dix on Friday in the Lions’ home opener, beginning at 7 p.m.

Banner County Wildcats, Minatare Indians open seasons Friday

Banner County will open its first official six-man season Friday with a 6 p.m. date against Maywood at Harrisburg.
Minatare also opens at home Friday, with a 2 p.m. game against Riverside – a new consolidated school between Spalding and Cedar Rapids.

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