GRAND ISLAND, Neb. — Omaha Westside unleashed a brutally efficient running game Friday night against Grand Island as the Warriors rolled to a 42-7 victory.
Junior running back Lane Yates rolled up 249 yards, including 215 before halftime.
Defensively, the Warriors (2-1) surrendered one touchdown after a fumble gave Grand Island the ball at the Westside 14 midway through the first quarter. After that, the Islanders managed only 105 yards of offense and four first downs for the game.
“We got dominated,” Grand Island coach Jeff Tomlin said. “I give Westside all the credit in the world. They really executed well on both sides of the ball. I’m very disappointed with how we played tonight. I must not have had the kids prepared very well. We really didn’t weather the storm in the second quarter.”
Westside’s offensive line took over in the second quarter, helping the Warriors put together three scoring drives while averaging more than 11 yards per play.
Westside coach Brett Froendt credited his team for executing the game plan.
“Our line was dominant all night, but especially in the second period,” he said. “We really had all the parts come together. Lane Yates runs hard and has great vision, but the difference this year is that he’s developed a great work ethic. We tried to keep Grand Island’s defense off balance, and we found success.”
Tomlin pointed out the importance of Westside’s first scoring play, which came on Grand Island’s opening possession. Westside broke through to block a punt — its third in three games — and Luke Biggs scooped up the ball at the Islander 8, taking it in for the score.
“That was a huge factor,” Tomlin said. “Statistics show that you’re going to lose 90 percent of the games when you have a blocked punt. That ended up being a field position killer. We had a chance to flip the field, and instead they score and we’re starting deep all through the half.”
Grand Island (1-2) tied the score after Evan Schutte recovered a fumble at the Warrior 14. Three plays later, quarterback Steven Cahoy found Jacob Cornelius on a slant pattern for 10 yards to tie the game.
The celebration proved to be short-lived, though, as Yates answered with an 80-yard touchdown run for Westside.
Drew Fitzmorris finished the next Westside possession with a rushing touchdown from 15 yards out.
Yates benefited from the Warriors’ line play as he repeatedly raced through the center of the Grand Island defense before finishing with an 11-yard run to push the lead to 28-7, and quarterback Jacob Koester found Jamaal Conway-Smith for a 15-yard score on Westside’s following drive to give the Warriors a 35-7 halftime lead.
Omaha Westside (2-1)........................14 21 0 7 -- 42
Grand Island (1-2).......................7 0 0 0 -- 7
OW -- Biggs 8 return of blocked punt (Hagan PAT kick), 6:50.
GI -- Cornelius 10 pass from Cahoy (Wentling PAT kick), 3:49
OW -- Yates 80 run (Hagan PAT kick), 3:31.
OW -- Fitzmorris 15 run (Hagan PAT kick), 10:22
OW -- Yates 11 run (Hagan PAT kick), 7:29.
OW -- Conway-Smith 15 pass from Koester (Hagan PAT kick), 2:31.
OW -- Yates 1 run (Hagan PAT kick), 8:26.
First Downs 24 4
Yards Rushing 320 46
Yards Passing 125 59
Comp-Att-Int 10-16-0 9-19-0
Fumbles-Lost 1-1 1-0
Punts-Avg 2-35.5 8-30.7
Penalties 3-20 2-10
Rushing -- OW, Yates 31-249, Fitzmorris 8-44, Jaeger 5-14, Hagan 1-11, Scott 3-7, Schenkelberg 2-6, Jordan 1-4, Koester 2-(-15). GI, Rojas 13-18, Cahoy 9-15, Aken 4-11, Schutte 1-2.
Passing -- OW, Koester 10-16-0-125. GI, Cahoy 9-18-0-59, Rojas 0-1-0-0.
Receiving -- OW, Conway-Smith 4-40, Sladek 2-38, Fitzmorris 1-20, Coyle 1-12, Yates 1-11, Ohm 1-4. GI, Cornelius 5-47, Rojas 2-5, Roberg 1-4, Aken 1-3.