Bearcats turn in 'awesome' effort in routing Minutemen
     2011-09-15      By Terry Gaston   
Photo by Sheila Weber: Bearcat Luke Worden (#34) intercepts the football as Matt Klein (#9) and Stephen Cordona (#66) look on at Friday's home game against Lexington. 
When Scottsbluff football coach Joe Benson began to address his Bearcats in their postgame huddle Friday night, he began with a single, emphatic “Awesome.”

Benson had just witnessed a dominant performance by Scottsbluff in its 30-6 rout of Lexington at Bearcat Stadium, a game in which the Bearcats controlled every phase of the game on special teams, right from junior Matt Klein’s 45-yard opening kickoff return.

And through three quarters, Benson saw his offense gain 341 yards while the Scottsbluff defense limited the Minutemen to just 110 yards — with a mere 8 yards allowed in the first quarter while the Bearcats rolled up a quick 14-0 lead on 149 offensive yards.

“Lexington is a very talented team, and they had minimal busts and we tackled great,” Benson said.

Senior quarterback Grant Lacey was 6-for-12 for 145 yards and two touchdowns, the first on a 23-yard completion to Klein after the Bearcats had reeled off six straight rushes.

While he collected just 13 rushing yards on three carries, Lacey kept Scottsbluff’s second scoring drive going by eluding two sacks to complete an 8-yard pass gain to senior Seth Rohrer and net a 9-yard rush for himself.

“Grant played a great game,” Benson said. “Those were big plays in the game.”

Junior tailback Luke Worden completed the 10-play, 72-yard drive with a 3-yard rush to put the Bearcats up 13-0 with 1:35 left in the first quarter. Worden led Scottsbluff’s 221-yard rushing attack with 97 yards on 17 carries, while Rohrer churned out 65 yards on 17 carries.

After forcing Lexington into its third three-plays-and-out situation of the quarter, Klein returned a 38-yard punt for 36 yards to the Minutemen 27. Four plays later, on the third play of the second period, Rohrer punched the ball in from 5 yards out to increase the Bearcats’ lead to 20-0.

The Minutemen’s offense began to show life in the second quarter, driving 46 yards before Worden picked off Lexington senior Jeremy Callahan’s pass at the Scottsbluff 12.

On the final two plays of the ensuing eight-play series, Worden rushed for 25 yards after having dropped a pass for at least a 32-yard gain on the previous play.

Lacey then found junior receiver Michael Hadden open at the 20 and Hadden ran into the end zone to complete the 37-yard pass play and give Scottsbluff a commanding 27-0 lead with 3:55 still left in the first half.

(More on how this trio of plays unfolded can be found in “Final Point” below.)

Scottsbluff completed its scoring with 6:47 left in the third quarter on junior Randy Wentz’s 29-yard field goal.

Lexington broke its scoring drought only after Benson had pulled his first-string starters on defense. Junior quarterback Trevor Miller led the Minutemen on an 18-play, 84-yard drive that ended when he hit senior Ryan Reynolds on a 1-yard screen pass with 6:07 remaining.

Miller and Reynolds had connected on a 36-yard completion that put Lexington at the Scottsbluff 8. Miller, who replaced Callahan to start the second half, completed 10 of 21 passes for 75 yards.
Callahan had just 18 passing yards on 4 of 11 completions with an interception and led Lexington’s limited rushing game of 138 yards with 53 yards on 11 carries.

The Minutemen (1-2, with their other loss a 33-20 season-opening setback to Gering on Aug. 26) compiled 136 yards of their 246 total against the Bearcat reserves.

“I’d still like to see us finish better,” Benson said. “We’ve got to keep our practice mentality through the entire game.”

The Bearcats (2-1) leave Scotts Bluff County for the first time this season when they travel to Holdrege for a game that begins at 7 p.m. Mountain Time. The Dusters, 27-6 losers at Gering on Sept. 2, lost at Hastings 27-6 last Friday. Hastings (2-1) visits Scottsbluff next week after it plays at Seward (0-3) on Friday.

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