Bearcats drive 55 in shutting out Bulldogs: Scottsbluff in position to win fourth district title in five years; Gering plays host to Sidney
     2014-10-23      By Terry Gaston    sports@geringcitizen.com
Photo by Sheila Weber/for the Citizen - Gering junior Brent Barge (No. 5) launches a tackle of Bearcat runningback, senior Ty Benson (No. 21) during Friday’s annual rivalry game in Scottsbluff. The number 16 ranked Bearcats defeated the Bulldog guests 55-0. The Bearcats will face the Alliance Bulldogs on the road this week, while the Gering Bulldogs will host the Sidney Red Raiders. 
SCOTTSBLUFF — Three days after watching his Scottsbluff football team dominate Gering in a 55-0 win Friday night at Bearcat Stadium, Scottsbluff coach Joe Benson said Monday morning that the Bearcats turned in “our most complete football game of the year.”
Wait, wasn’t that what Benson said last week after he and the other Scottsbluff coaches reviewed their 37-28, District B-8 opening victory at Sidney?

“I think that’s improvement on defense the last four games,” said Benson, whose team (7-1 overall, 2-0 district) held Gering to just 122 total offensive yards and forced eight Bulldog punts while the Bearcats amassed 493 yards and led 35-0 at halftime.

“We continue to make improvements,” Benson said. “We’re really happy with our kids. They stayed focused and we jot the job done.”
It was just a hard-luck night for Gering (0-8, 0-2 district). The Bulldogs started all their first-half series within their own 25-yard line and had just one completion in eight pass attempts in the first two quarters.

“I don’t know if the ball was slick or what,” Gering coach Jimmie Rhodes said of some of the missed catches. “We had poor field position to start with all night and we were playing behind the clock.”

The Scottsbluff defense did its best in making things miserable for the Bulldogs as well.

“They pull on probably 75 percent of their running plays. We worked hard and spent every day working on stopping that,” Benson said. “Our kids did a good job of taking on the pulls and back blocks, and that was a big key in getting it done.”

The Scottsbluff offense needed just five plays on its first, 63-yard scoring drive to hit the end zone. Senior Jackson Hinze ran the ball in from 13 yards out and kicked through the extra point with just 2:46 elapsed in the game.

Senior Tristan Donelson polished off a four-play, 51-yard drive with a 23-yard counter run for the Bearcats’ second touchdown. Hinze’s extra-point kick gave Scottsbluff a 14-0 lead with 4:19 left in the first period.

The third Gering punt of the quarter set up the Bearcats at their own 36 late in the first quarter. Six plays later, and two into the second period, senior Ty Benson ran for a 40-yard TD. Hinze tacked on the extra point for a 21-0 Scottsbluff advantage.

The Bulldogs were buried deep in their own territory and Bearcat junior Traceten Halley’s 14-yard punt return gave Scottsbluff possession at the Gering 18. Benson ran for 17 yards on first down, and senior Stetson Anderson took the direct snap from center and ran the final yard for the TD that gave the Bearcats a 28-0 lead.

To Gering’s credit, the Bulldogs forced Scottsbluff into two penalties and into their only punt of the night.
But Gering was forced to punt for a seventh time in the first half, and the Bearcats scored two plays later on Donelson’s 34-yard TD run with 30 seconds remaining in the half. Hinze’s fifth extra-point kick gave Scottsbluff a 35-0 lead.

The margin implemented the running-clock rule for the entire second half while the Bearcats kept the Bulldogs off the scoreboard.
The margin also gave both teams the chance to use many reserves, and the Scottsbluff second-teamers kept the offensive pace going in the second half.

Halley, in at quarterback for Hinze since late in the second quarter, completed a 29-yard TD pass to senior Rob Cantril with 8:00 left in the third period. Hinze kicked through the extra point for a 42-0 Bearcat advantage.

After Gering was forced to punt again, putting Scottsbluff at midfield, a 28-yard run by sophomore Braden Lofink and a 13-yard gain by sophomore Max Mason set up Mason’s 8-yard TD run. Sophomore Isaac DeLosSantos stepped in for the extra-point duties and kicked the Bearcats to a 49-0 lead with 2:52 left in the third.

The Bulldogs then made their deepest penetration into Scottsbluff territory, driving to the 16 before a sack dropped Gering to the 20, and an incomplete pass ended what was likely the Bulldogs’ best scoring hope of the night with 6:40 remaining.

On the fifth play of the Bearcats’ ensuring 80-yard drive, Mason took off for the game’s final score on a 55-yard run. Sophomore Jacob Morphew tried the extra-point kick but fell short, and Scottsbluff proved it could drive 55 – on Mason’s run and on the scoreboard.

“Sometimes it’s easy to lose focus, but we got enough kids in there, some kids who hadn’t got to play, and they were hungry,” Coach Benson said of the Bearcats’ continuing success on offense in the second half. “I think that was important in establishing the ground game late in the game.”

Benson led the Bearcats’ 417-yard ground attack with 127 yards on 15 carries and one TD, while Mason followed with his five runs and two scores for 90 yards. Donelson added 84 yards and one TD on five carries.

Gering junior Deion Contreras ran for 69 yards on 21 carries and junior quarterback Austin Hoffman completed seven passes for 58 yards. Senior Quentin Timblin had three catches for 25 yards.
Fifteen Bearcats were given credit for tackles, led by and junior Brad Johnston led the way with five solo stops. All 39 Scottsbluff players who suited up got into the game.

Scottsbluff will visit Alliance and Gering will entertain Sidney in the teams’ District B-8 finales Friday, with both games starting at 7 p.m. Sidney (6-2, 1-1 district) scored a 58-36 victory Friday at Alliance (2-6, 1-1) after the teams were tied at 14 apiece at halftime.

“We’ll get ready for Sidney and give them all we can,” Rhodes said. “We’ll put 11 guys out there.”
A Scottsbluff victory would give the Bearcats their fourth district title in five years. A loss, however, could forge a three-way tie for the district title if Sidney wins at Gering. The Bearcats and Sidney, regardless, are both likely bound for the Class B playoffs.
“They’re really good on offense,” Coach Benson said of Alliance, which defeated Gering 39-21 in the teams’ district opener. “They’re extremely hard to prepare for. They’re all over the place: no backs, one back, two backs, three backs. They shift, they motion, it’s pretty insane.

“We go up there and just kind of run a vanilla defense and try to run to the ball and tackle, and that will be our philosophy this week.”

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