Bulldogs shut out Red Raiders, playoff bound
     2011-10-27      By Terry Gaston   
Photo by Spectrum Photo: Gering sophomore quarterback Dillon DeMott (No. 11) rolls out looking for a receiver while getting pass protection from Bulldog seniors Kyle Peters (No. 50) and seniors Tom Jacobs (78) and Mark Pieper 
A season loaded with change for the Gering football team, including in the coaching leadership and in moving seniors into new positions, has paid off in the biggest goal for any team: the postseason.

The Bulldogs, after playing one of the most brutal schedules in Class B, finished the regular season Friday night with a 21-0 victory over Sidney, with the Gering defense completing the year by allowing just one touchdown in its final two games.

Gering's reward for overcoming its tough schedule and four straight midseason losses is a trip into the Class B playoffs as the No. 9 seed and a trip to Hastings for a second chance to play Adams Central. The Patriots held off a late rally in Gering on Sept. 23 to defeat the Bulldogs 23-20.

Friday's rematch will be at 6 p.m. Mountain Time at Hastings College.
"We had an above .500 season (5-4 overall, 2-1 in District B-8) and we have a chance to go to the playoffs," Gering coach Jimmie Rhodes said. "I had some goals I had written down at the beginning of the season and those were two of them."

What else is on that list, Coach?

"We have playoff wins that have yet to be checked off. they are goals we can hand and are realistic and are ones in which we can stay within our parameters of what the guys are capable of doing. It has been a learning process and it has been a fun one," Rhodes added.
Senior tailback Mark Pieper, a receiver last season, capped off his season out of the backfield with a 231-yard performance on 21 carries that included back-to-back touchdown runs of 40 and 45 yards in the second quarter. Pieper enters the playoffs with 1,008 rushing yards following his big performance Friday.

In between Pieper's touchdowns, Sidney put together a successful drive but was thwarted when Bulldog senior Zach Smith made an interception at the Gering 20 and returned the ball to the Raiders' 45.

"Mark had runs of 25, 15, 40, 30, 18 and 45 yards on that same play," Rhodes said. "We found some things in there that I liked."
Rhodes also liked the fact that his defense finally earned the zero on the opponent's side of the scoreboard that eluded them late in their 17-7 win over Alliance the week before.

"All the things we did are really positive for us to be successful, and it was fun," Rhodes said. "The Red Raiders came out fired up and ready to play. they did some nice things to keep the ball away from us. Our guys were prepared, we had played some good teams and we kept them out of the end zone."

Defensively, the Bulldogs had three players with double digits in total tackles. Senior Dillon Wademan led the way with seven solo and eight assisted tackles, while senior Avery petit made six solo and seven assisted tackles.

Senior Danny O'Boyle made six solo and two assisted tackles. Senior Nick Chitwood had four solo and seven assisted tackles. Smith had one interception for 35 yards.

O'Boyle, who returned to receiver this season after playing at quarterback as a junior, took a swing pass from sophomore Dillon DeMott 35 yards for the Bulldogs' final score in the fourth quarter. Sophomore Gage Smith converted on all three of his extra-point kicks.
Pieper missed the first Adams Central game with a knee injury but had James Guzman step in and maintain Gering's running attack with 128 yards. DeMott threw for 162 yards with two touchdown passes to Wademan.

"We were doing some things well in that game, but we just didn't know how to finish," Rhodes said. "We started playing better when we played McCook, Adams Central and then Aurora (a 36-35 loss on a missed 2-point conversion) and Scottsbluff.

"For our guys to be where they are, it's been a pretty fun season. This is all new territory for a lot of them. We're just excited about playing in the postseason."

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