Wildcats finally taste victory with shutout win
     2011-10-27      By Terry Gaston   
Photo by Sheila Weber Banner County’s Ben Hostetler moves the ball against Hay Springs Oct. 7. 
No one would have blamed the Banner County football team had the Wildcats gone crazy following their 46-0 triumph Friday night over Creek Valley at Chappell.

After all, the Banner County seniors had not tasted victory since they were freshmen, and then 20 losses followed until the Wildcats finally got that elusive win.

However, Banner County knew all too well how its counterparts felt. Both teams entered the District D2-10 game with 0-7 overall records and 0-4 in district play.

The Wildcats felt the Storm's pain -- literally. And Banner County coaches and players walked to the Creek Valley sidelines to shake an injured player's hand after the game. The player had suffered a sprained ankle after the Storm had lost its top player, senior quarterback and linebacker, Jacob Savely, to a season-ending injury three weeks earlier.

"It was kind of weird, more like a burden had been lifted off our shoulders," said second-year Wildcats coach Kenny Stauffer, who got his first win after 15 losses at Banner County.

"I think we were more relieved as excited, where they had finally accomplished something. And it was more humbling to them because Creek Valley was going through the very same thing.

"There's more to football than just winning. You try to make sure there's more with respect and all of life's lessons that we try to preach."

Activities Director Kari Gifford expressed her pride in her Wildcat student-athletes as well.

"Our students have always demonstrated good sportsmanship and I am very proud of how they have handled themselves," Gifford said. "It was nice to finally get a win. Our seniors were freshmen when we had our last win, so it's been awhile."

So the Banner County seniors made their gridiron finale worth the while, outgaining the Storm 264 yards to 90 and Jordan Knaub making two interceptions while scoring three touchdowns.

Knaub connected with sophomore Ben Hostetler for 52 yards on the Wildcats' first of three first-quarter touchdowns, with senior Brady Lind scoring on a 14-yard run and Hostetler following with an 11-yard TD rush.

Hostetler then threw an 18-yard TD pass to Knaub, junior Collin Havengar blocked a punt for a safety and Knaub scored on an 18-yard dive play to give Banner County a 38-0 halftime lead.

Hostetler found Knaub for a 32-yard touchdown pass play to end the scoring in the fourth quarter. Hostetler finished with 88 passing yards and Knaub had 52 passing yards, 52 receiving yards and 46 rushing yards. Lind also had 46 yards on the ground.

"The boys never quit and fought until the end," Stauffer said. "While the team was playing for the same purpose and same reason, it finally got us over the bump. We're hoping it carries over now."

Gordon-Rushville 42, Mitchell 15

After starting the season 2-1, the Mitchell Tigers found life in District C1-10 tough to handle, and their playoff hopes were dashed Friday night with a 42-15 road loss to Gordon-Rushville.

“We came out flat the first half and it was probably the worst half of football we’ve played in a month,” said Mitchell coach Chris Bailey, whose team (3-5 overall, 0-4 district) fell behind 29-0 at halftime against the Mustangs.

“We played better in the second half, took the returning kick off back and outscored G-R 15-13 in the second half. I was proud of how we battled back in the second half and didn’t quit.”

Gordon-Rushville (4-4 overall, 2-2 district) outgained Mitchell 495 yards to 157 on the night, with Tiger senior Alberto Alvizar gaining 129 of his team’s yards on 18 carries with one touchdown. Junior Brendan Swanson connected with sophomore Adam Schlotthauer on a 14-yard pass for Mitchell’s other score.

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