Bearcats earn high seed for playoffs
     2016-10-30      By Bonnie Fox    editor@geringcitizen.com
Photo by Bonnie Fox/for the Citizen Scottsbluff junior QB Noah Bruner (7) tries to cut past senior cornerback Brody Brennan (15) in a 20-14 victory at Bearcat Stadium last Friday night. The Bearcats host the Blair Bears at 7 p.m. tonight in the first round of the Nebraska School Activities Association State Football Championships - Class B. 
Home team Scottsbluff clinched a 20-14 OT victory over the Alliance Bulldogs last Friday night, October 21, to claim the B-8 District title for the third year in a row.

“We are all pumped up, who can’t be excited about this win?” said Scottsbluff junior QB Noah Bruner. Scottsbluff’s offense was held in check by the Alliance Bulldogs defense down the stretch.

“They fought really hard and caught us all by surprise,” Bruner said.
In an intense first quarter, the Bulldogs shut down Mason’s explosive drives early. On every carry, the workman like Mason was met with a dog pounding.

During the second quarter, the Bearcats offense fought back, with a single successful drive. Mason scored the Bearcats first TD, and played under his average of nearly 180 yards a game, gaining only 127 yards rushing against Alliance.

In turn, Scottsbluff’s defense kept the Bulldogs from scoring in the entire first half. Senior Isaac DeLos Santos consistently stepped up to make crucial stops. He had 22 tackles, half of them on his own. He also notched three tackles for loss.

“Our team executed well, against a good Alliance ball team,” DeLos Santos said.

After the half, Scottsbluff opted for an aerial strike. Bruner tossed a 62-yard TD pass to sophomore Keegan Reifschneider to go up 14-0.

Alliance’s offense answered with a score of its own, courtesy senior fullback Jack Matulka, who has been averaging 80 yards a game. But Scottsbluff sophomore Garrett Nelson blocked the extra point, and at the end of the third quarter, Scottsbluff held a narrow 14-6 lead.
A back-and-forth defensive stalemate ensued in the fourth quarter. With Scottsbluff sputtering on offense, Alliance saw its chance and knotted the game with a touchdown by senior Tyler Trout. The Bulldogs’ pass from tandem junior QB Owen Shelmadine to Matulka added the two-point conversation they needed to send this one into extra time.

In OT, Alliance took the ball first. The Bearcats held. The Bulldogs’ end zone pass failed, and the Cats took over on downs. On the next play, Max Mason powered up the middle, but his efforts were thwarted by a procedure penalty. Scottsbluff called Mason’s number again, getting the ball to the four-yard line. Mason, with the carry again, finally pounded it into the end zone to the home crowd’s delight.

“They are fighters,” Bruner said about the Alliance comeback. “We have so many weapons and it worked for us tonight. We have to get ready for next week, practice hard and execute.” Scottsbluff ends the regular season at 8-1; the Bearcats only blemish came against McCook two weeks ago. They have home field advantage tonight at 7 p.m. against wild card qualifiers, the Blair Bears, who enter the contest with a 5-4 record. No. 5 Seed Scottsbluff is expected to handle the No. 12 Seed Blair the first round of Class B State playoffs.

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