’Dogs muzzled by Northwest: 54-0 loss to Vikes stretches skid to 17 games
     2015-09-24      By Philip Eckerberg   
Photo by Philip Eckerberg/Special to the Citizen One of Gering’s stars on offense, Brent Barge ran for 50 all-purpose yards against Northwest Friday. 
Gering will have to wait a little longer for its first win of the 2015 season.
The Bulldogs slipped to 0-4 so far this year, after a 54-0 loss to the Grand Island Northwest Vikings on Friday at Gering’s Memorial Stadium.

“It was disappointing,” said Gering Head Coach Todd Ekart about the loss. “We went back to look at some things we wanted to do. Going back, we looked at the Hastings film. We didn’t have people in the right spots, and everyone was running around. As we progress through this season, we’re getting people in the right spots. They are where they need to be. Now it’s just a matter of execution. So, we just have to refine those areas, and get a little bit better each week. It wasn’t as bad as we thought, but there’s a lot of room for improvement.”

Special teams was a bright spot for Gering. Ekart said, “We got a lot of big returns, and we did some really good things and got some good blocks. Grand Island tried different things. They tried an onside kick and we got that. They tried a few short kicks, and we got that. Then they just decided to kick it into the end zone. We need a little bit more out of our players − a little bit more out of offense, and a little bit more out of defense. And, we’ll be fine.”

Deion Contreras led Bulldog rushers with 14 carries for 27 yards, and a team total 60 yards. Receiver Nolan Nelson had one reception for 12 yards.

On the first drive of the game, the Vikings started at their own 39. It took just 13 plays and a little more than two minutes to score their first TD. Northwest failed on a two point conversion, taking the six-point early lead in the first quarter.
The Grand Islanders tried an onside kick, but the Bulldogs maintained control, starting out near midfield. Gering tried using Contreras, Nelson, and Brent Barge for offense, but could only muster eight yards before punting.

In the next series, Northwest fair caught at their own 14-yard line. The Dogs defense held Grand Island to a punt. The Bulldogs started at their own 45, with excellent field position. Gering moved the ball to the Grand Island 38. Then mistakes took hold, as the Bulldogs got backed up by two penalties for holding, and encroachment. On the next play, Northwest recovered a Gering fumble at their own 43-yard line. The Vikings scored a second TD after going six plays, capping the drive with a three-yard QB sneak. The Vike’s PAT was good for a 13-0 lead.

On the return, Barge again put the Bulldogs in good position at midfield. Mired in low gear, Gering took three plays to go seven yards, then turned it over on downs. With Northwest driving to the Gering 44, the Bulldogs caught a break with a Barge interception at the Gering 32-yard line. Unable to take advantage of the break, the Bulldogs short punt left Northwest at the Gering 46.

Northwest struck for their third score, with a 46-yard run after the catch. Tacking on the PAT, the Vikings led 20-0 with nearly 10 minutes in the half.
A stunted kickoff by the Vikings headed toward Sonny Salazar, who signaled for a fair catch, but then earned a penalty while trying to run. During the same play, an injured Dan Marshall was removed by stretcher. Starting at their 19, the Bulldogs punted again after four plays with no gain. Starting from midfield, Northwest scored again after nine plays, capped by a QB keeper from the Gering 25, thus extending the lead, 27-0, with about six minutes to go in the half.
Keeping the ball out of Barge’s hands, the Vikings took no chances in allowing Gering special teams to score, letting the kickoff sail into the end zone for a touchback. Narrowing its scoring chances, Gering fumbled on just the second play of the drive, for another turnover. Northwest took advantage of the late snafu, going 22 yards for its seventh TD, and then converted for two points, and 35-0 advantage.

Next, both teams committed a series of turnovers, including an interception by Gering’s Antonio Murrillo. A brief possession by Gering was followed by a Vikings pick of QB Austin Hoffman on the Bulldogs 20. Another gift wrap score, put Northwest up by six points, 41-0, after a failed two-point conversion.

The Bulldogs’ Dylan Radzymski returned the kickoff to the Gering 35. A bad snap on third down, left Grand Island to recover on Gering’s 12-yard line. Two plays later, the Vikings scored yet again from the 11 with 32 seconds and a 47-0 halftime lead.
Gering took possession to start the second half. Two penalties killed a short drive, and Northwest received a Gering punt at midfield. The Vikings drove deep in Gering territory. The Bulldogs defense held, keeping Northwest off the boards after a failed field goal − Cody Ybarra sacked the Northwest QB giving the Vikings a fourth and long. Gering took over possession, but its offense bowed out again. On the punt, the Bulldogs managed to put the Vikings on their own 31.

During the last scoring drive of the game, the Viking’s took their time banging away at the Gering defense, moving the ball to the Bulldog’s one-yard line. Grand Island struck for the final time with no extra point, making the final score, 54-0.
The Bulldogs losing streak now extends to 17 games. Gering travels to Hastings to face the Adams Central Patriots tomorrow night. Adams Central (0-4) is also looking for its first win.

In preparing for the Pats, Ekart said they have played some really tough teams. “They are going to be really good,” he said. “A lot of their kids playing have started as sophomores and juniors. They have a few really good receivers. And, the quarterback is good. Our defensive backs are our strong point on defense. So, I think we match up with them pretty well.”

















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