Haymakers Challenge Kearney Catholic In Turf Action
Stepping up to the challenge were the Haymakers as they went toe-to-toe with the host Kearney Catholic Stars in a gridiron showdown played at Miles Field in Kearney. The Stars were able to take advantage of their opportunities to score a 41-6 victory over Cozad on Friday evening.
In the early going, the Kearney Catholic passing offense was able to prosper when Bryce James caught a Matt Masker pass and then raced into the endzone for a 40-yard touchdown to give the Green and Gold a 6-0 lead with 10:18 to play in the first quarter.
Throughout much of the remaining time of the first quarter, the Cozad offense was able to work a good balance of passing and running, only to see their drives stalled without scoring. The Haymaker defense was able to settle down and entrench themselves on the turf to keep the Stars potent offense from scoring to keep the score at 6-0 at the end of the first quarter.
The score remained 6-0 until the Stars quarterback Matt Masker was able to connect with John Husmann on a 22-yard scoring play through the air to give Kearney Catholic a 14-0 lead with 5:58 left in the second period. Masker completed the two-point conversion to John Baack in the process. For the remainder of the first half of play, defense ruled supreme for both Cozad and Kearney Catholic which resulted in the score remaining at 14-0 heading into the halftime break.
Making adjustments and fine tuning their game plan during the halftime break were both the Haymakers and Stars. The Kearney Catholic Stars offense was able to flex their muscle on the opening play of the second half when Bryce James took the handoff and squeezed through the middle of the Cozad defense to dart into the endzone on a 61-yard run to make the score 21-0 with 8:55 left in the third quarter.
The Cozad offense responded by putting together a sustained drive down the field that was halted when Kearney Catholic’s Brady Holtmeier made a great catch on an interception, as he nearly returned it for a ‘pick six’, only to be knocked out of bounds on the five yard line. On the ensuing play, Holtmeier scored on a five-yard run that pushed the Stars lead to 28-0 with 7:23 left in the third period.
Soon thereafter, Cozad took to the turf in hopes of denting the deficit on the scoreboard. The Haymakers were able to string together a couple first downs, but it was the Kearney Catholic defense that cashed in, by forcing a punt.
On the ensuing possession, the Stars offense went back to the aerial attack, after seeing their running game limited with the great defense being played by the Haymakers. The Kearney Catholic gridders increased their lead to the tune of 35-0 when Brady Holtmeier snared a 30-yard pass from Matt Masker to bring the Stars faithful to their feet with 11:55 left in the final quarter of regulation.
During the next possession, the Cozad offense was able to get on track in a big way, when Andrew Sayer caught a short pass from Sam Cole and then made a couple tacklers miss, to then win the sprint race into the endzone to make the score 35-6 on a 60-yard scoring connection between Sayer and Cole with 10:48 left in the fourth quarter.
Much of the remaining time of the fourth quarter, Cozad and Kearney Catholic struggled to sustain drives against stifling defensive efforts. As time was dwindling down, the Kearney Catholic offense was able to cap off the scoring in the contest when Marcus Benesch lofted a 13-yard scoring pass to Noah Tillman with 1:36 left to play in regulation and clinch the 41-6 win for Kearney Catholic over Cozad.
“The boys will continue to work hard and get better each week,” expressed Cozad Head Coach Brian Cargill. “We will focus on being assignment sound in all aspects of the game.”
The Haymakers rushed for 107 yards in the contest. Leading the way on the ground for the Red and Black was Matt Menagh with 46 yards gained.
Haymaker Sam Cole rushed for 29 yards and also completed four passes for 85-yards and a touchdown.
Andrew Sayer had a notable game with three receptions for 77 yards and a score.
Ben Wetovick and Jordan Henry led the Haymaker defense with six tackles apiece. Jordan Henry also did an outstanding job of keeping the Haymakers defense in an advantageous field position with his punting. Henry launched six kicks for a 37.8 yard average.
Swedes Edged By Ogallala in SWC Football Action
Neither the Ogallala or host Gothenburg offenses were able to reach the endzone during the first half of play with the score remaining 0-0 at the halftime break.
During their first possession of the second half, the Tribe’s offense was able to break the ice on the scoreboard. Ogallala’s Brandon Raffaeli was on the receiving end of a six-yard pass from Brittan Hoppens that made the score 7-0 after Raffaeli booted the extra point at the 9:10 mark of the third quarter of play.
Soon thereafter, the Gothenburg offense started churning up yards with gumption. The Swedes efforts paid off when the home fans ignited to a deafening roar as a result of Patrick Messersmith lofting a throwback pass to Dawson Graham on a 25-yard scoring play that knotted the score at 7-7 with 5:59 to play in the third quarter of play.
With the minutes dwindling down in the stanza, the Ogallala offense continued to push forward against the stiff Swede defense. The Indians were able to finally break through for a rushing touchdown when Brittan Hoppens called his own number on a quarterback keeper that spanned a 16-yard run to paydirt. The Ogallala scoring effort made the score 14-7 after Cobe Hinton split the uprights on the extra point at the 2:40 mark of the third quarter of play.
Despite their continued effort to mix in the run with the passing attack, the Gothenburg offense wasn’t able to cut into the deficit during the remaining time in the third quarter and the early minutes of the fourth quarter of play.
It was during the waning minutes of the contest, that Ogallala was able to score an insurance touchdown with 2:52 to play in regulation when Jake Estrada rumbled 23-yards into the endzone to cap off the scoring at 22-7 in favor of Ogallala earning the win over Gothenburg.
The Swedes combined for 208 total yards with 122-yards coming through the aerial attack.
Patrick Messersmith was the leading ground gainer for Gothenburg with 42 yards gained.
Dawson Graham passed for 97-yards for the Swedes potent passing attack.
Defensivley, Ethan Bihlmaier racked up a team-leading 11 tackles, four unassisted for the Swedes.
Patrick Messersmith and Patrick Peterson chipped in with eight takedowns apiece for Gothenburg
SPORTS REWIND: A look back at 30-years from the TRIBUNE files
Football Fever Contest In Full Swing
The 49th Annual TRIBUNE Sports Prediction contest, which is sponsored by area businesses and professional firms, is in full swing. Pick up a print edition of the TRIBUNE for your entry.
The winner will be awarded $25. In the event of a tie, the contestants will be separated via the point division of the contest and/or the prediction of most points scored by one of the listed teams.
At the end of the prediction season, all of the weekly winners will be entered into a drawing for $100 to be given to the name drawn.
Games are featured in each advertisement on the contest pages. Entrants must record their expert guess behind the sponsor's name on the official entry blank.
Winners will be announced weekly.
Lexington YMCA Hires Gruntorad As New Manager
The YMCA of the Prairie has announced the hiring of a new manager at its Lexington location.
Lexington native and former Lexington school employee Riley Gruntorad will lead branch operations at the Orthman Community YMCA.
Gruntorad, a 2004 Lexington High School graduate, began work August 3rd as the branch executive director.
Gruntorad has a bachelor’s degree in health and physical education from the University of Nebraska at Kearney and graduated with a master’s degree in educational administration from Chadron State College in May. He also served in the Army National Guard for six years.
He has been involved in the Y since it opened in Lexington in 2010 as a member and boot camp instructor.
When he’s not working, Gruntorad enjoys sports, being outside and spending time with his family, which includes 7-month-old twins, Baylor and Carter.
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Dawson County Golf Championships As Good As Advertised