CENTRAL CITY — Kearney Catholic’s four takeaways highlighted a dominant defensive performance as the Stars posted a 48-0 road victory over Central City Friday night.
Class C-1 No. 7-rated (Omaha World-Herald) Kearney Catholic recovered three Bison fumbles in the first quarter alone, leading to 10 points. Central City’s offense never seemed to recover, finishing with three first downs and 74 yards of total offense, while running just six offensive plays in the Stars’ territory.
“Getting those three early fumbles was huge,” Kearney Catholic coach Dave Colling said. “Central City is a good football team, which you could tell by some of those goal-line stands they had, but the three turnovers were big for us.
“I didn’t feel like we came out of the gate ready to play football, but that helped us a ton.”
Kearney Catholic (4-0) converted the first Central City turnover into a 25-yard field goal by Chase Murphy to lead 3-0 with 1:58 left in the first quarter. Just 48 seconds later, the Stars turned another Bison fumble into a touchdown as quarterback Abe Clinch connected with Brian Husmann on a 29-yard scoring pass.
Central City lost yet another fumble on its next possession, but managed to stop the Stars on a fourth-down pass incompletion at the Bison 4-yard line. However, Kearney Catholic parlayed good field position into a 2-yard TD run by Thomas Connely and added Murphy’s 37-yard field goal as time expired in the first half to lead 20-0 at the intermission.
“I don’t care who you’re playing, if you play like that you’re going to have the result we had tonight,” Central City coach Darin Garfield said. “On top of that, you do it against a very good football team like Kearney Catholic and you’re not going to have a shot.
“Going into the game, we knew the things we could not do and that was we couldn’t fumble the ball, we couldn’t throw interceptions and we couldn’t have penalties and we did about all of them. It’s a recipe for a 48-0 defeat.”
After a sluggish start, Kearney Catholic got its offense rolling. Clinch was 16-of-24 passing for 220 yards and two TDs and also rushed for 53 yards on eight carries as the Stars finished with 416 yards of total offense and 20 first downs.
“The passing game helped us get things going,” Colling said. “I felt they were giving us the pass and we ironed some things out at halftime.”
Husmann had four receptions for 100 yards and two TDs for the Stars. Teammate Brett James added four catches for 44 yards and had a 47-yard punt return, setting up Alex Lowe’s 30-yard TD run to make it 41-0 with 8:52 to play.
Kearney Catholic limited Central City running back Jake Anderson to 29 yards rushing on 11 attempts. Quarterback Jake Brown was also kept under wraps, rushing 12 times for 28 yards and finishing 2-of-8 passing for 15 yards for the Bison (1-3).
“Defensively, we did a pretty good job tonight of being in the right position, but we didn’t always make the tackle once we were there,” said Colling, whose Stars have outscored opponents a combined 167-23 this season. “We’ll need to go back to the practice field, work on that and come ready to make the plays better next time.”
Central City’s deepest penetration into Kearney Catholic territory came with 2:08 left in the first half when a 20-yard punt gave the Bison possession at the Stars’ 28. However, Central City lost 8 yards on the possession and turned the ball over on downs.
“I think our guys played hard throughout the first half,” Garfield said. “I credit our defense because we constantly put them in horrible situations — time after time after time. The thing I’m most disappointed in was our second half. It just felt like we let down when things started getting bad and that’s something I won’t tolerate.
“We’ve got a lot of things to clean up and we’re going to figure out how to do that.”
Kearney Catholic 48, Central City 0
Kearney Catholic (4-0).......................10 10 14 14—48
Central City (1-3).........................0 0 0 0— 0
KC—Chase Murphy 25 field goal, 1:58.
KC—Brian Husmann 29 pass from Abe Clinch (Murphy kick), 1:04.
KC—Thomas Connely 2 run (Murphy kick), 4:46.
KC—Murphy 37 field goal, :00.
KC—Husmann 22 pass from Clinch (Murphy kick), 9:16.
KC—Connely 5 run (Murphy kick), :04.
KC—Alex Lowe 30 run (Murphy kick), 8:52.
KC—Zach Schmidt 3 run (Grant Buschkoetter kick), :52.
First downs 20 3
Rushes-yds. 35-196 33-59
Att.-Comp.-Int. 16-24-0 2-8-0
Passing yds. 220 15
Return yds. 51 0
Punts-avg. 4-26.0 7-35.3
Fumbles-lost 2-0 4-4
Penalties-yds. 3-15 4-29
Rushing—Kearney Catholic, Clinch 8-53, A.Lowe 4-52, Connely 11-45, Streit 2-6, Owen 1-9, Murphy 1-4, Schmidt 1-3, Liess 2-6, G.Lowe 3-22. Central City, Anderson 12-29, Brown 13-28, Lindburg 2-3, Geiger 4-minus 5, Peterson 2-4.
Passing— Kearney Catholic, Clinch 16-24-0 220. Central City, Brown 2-8-0 15.
Receiving— Kearney Catholic, Husmann 4-100, Bre.James 4-44, Liess 3-36, Graham 2-16, Holtmeier 1-20, Streit 1-5, Owen 1-minus 1. Central City, Wagner 1-10, Lindburg 1-5.