Scottsbluff handles Alliance, 34-0 Bearcats qualify for state playoffs
     2015-10-29      By Roger Holsinger    editor@geringcitizen.com
Two Alliance defenders try to bring down senior Bearcat running back Ben Heggem during last Friday’s contest in Scottsbluff. Heggem ended the night with 92 yards and will be a key player in tomorrow’s state playoff game against Gretna. Photo by Roger Holsinger Photography 
The Scottsbluff High School football team showed its dominance again this past week by easily handling the Bulldogs of Alliance last Friday night, 34-0.

With the win the Bearcats won the Class B District 8 conference title for the second straight year and qualified for the state football playoffs for the sixth year in a row.

Head Coach Joe Benson and his Bearcats (6-3) will now have a week to prepare for postseason action as they will travel to Gretna and face the Dragons (6-3) tomorrow.

While Scottsbluff, ranked number 9 in the state playoffs, is coming off a win, Gretna, ranked number 8, lost to Elkhorn South last Friday night in a heartbreaker, 28-27.

Brad Johnston led the Bearcats in rushing against Alliance as he racked up 203 yards on 16 carries and danced into the end zone three times. Ben Heggem had 92 yards on eight carries and Traceten Halley ended the night with two touchdowns and 72 yards of rushing.

Defensively for the Bearcats, Heggem had seven tackles, six solos, to lead the team and Johnston added another five.

Benson said that during the game against Alliance, he thought they were on track with having the best game of the season, but after watching it and seeing some of the errors, he thought there were a few mistakes that they will need to rectify.

“I thought we played good, but there were some things that we’ll need to work on,” Benson said. “There were some blown assignments and a few other things, so we’ll have a lot of work to do this week.”

One of the keys for a Scottsbluff win tomorrow will be the continued strength of the running backs, Benson said, adding that the defense will also need to make some stops and the success of the special teams will really be needed.

Benson said that Gretna is a traditional power in Class B. “They are a very physical team, they are very well coached and they have some very explosive players.”

He added that once again he will be counting on the play of senior quarterback Traceten Halley, who Benson said is probably the most improved player of the year.

He said Halley also continues to serve as a leader and is a “strong” player that can throw or run the ball when needed.

“I think we’re two pretty evenly matched teams,” Benson said. “We will need to have sustained drives and not only start but finish drives. The defense will be one of those keys,” he said adding that in order to come home with a win, all three – the offense, defense, and special teams – will have to step up.

“I am really excited about the game and this is really an exciting time of the year because right now we are playing the best football of our season.”

Gretna comes in with a strong runner in senior, Emmitt Knight. Knight has racked up over 1,200 yards of rushing this season and has scored 17 rushing touchdowns.

The Dragon attack is orchestrated by senior quarterback Jared Samuelson, who averages 109 yards passing a game and is 75 of 122 in passes and completions. Gretna’s top receiver is 6-2 junior Chase Templeman. He averages 14 yards a reception and has 477 yards so far this season.

Against Alliance, Scottsbluff started out scoring quickly as Johnston scrambled six yards on his first carry, followed by Heggem for 60 yards down to the Alliance 10. Two plays later Johnston was in the end zone and Scottsbluff took the 7-0 lead.
Alliance came back with a couple of strong plays, but then penalties backed up the Bulldogs and they were forced to punt.

Scottsbluff took over at its own 43. Elijah Blanco then broke free, taking it to the Alliance one and then Halley took it in for the score on the next play to give Scottsbluff the 14-0 lead with 3:18 left in the first quarter.

Alliance’s next attempt stalled and Scottsbluff took over after the punt at its own 35. Johnston, Heggem and Halley worked their way down the field and Scottsbluff took a 21-point lead after Halley ran it in from seven yards out.

Following another Alliance punt, Scottsbluff made it 27-0 as Johnston went 48 yards for the score.

The Bearcats set up what appeared to be another scoring drive after Genaro Gurrola recovered an Alliance fumble and ran with it for 15 yards deep into Bulldog territory. But the Bearcat machine stalled this time and a field goal attempt by Scottsbluff was blocked to end the first half.

The Bearcat scoring machine got recharged after halftime as Johnston went 76 yards to score late in the third period to give Scottsbluff the 34-0 advantage. Neither team scored in the fourth period as Scottsbluff went on to take the conference title.

In addition to Scottsbluff, other area teams will be playing, starting today with number three Hemingford (7-1) hosting number 14 South Loup (3-5) at 1 p.m.

Tomorrow, Alliance will be on the road to face the number one seed Aurora and number 14 Sidney (5-4) will travel to face number three Elkhorn South (9-0).

In Class C2, number 13 Bridgeport (6-3) will face number four Gibbon (9-0) on the road Friday.

For more information on the state football playoffs, log on to www.nsaahome.org.

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