The Kearney Bearcats scored on three of their first six plays from scrimmage and recovered a fumble in the endzone for a 28-0 lead over North Platte just 6 minutes into the game Friday.
The Bearcats (8-1 on the season) would score 29 more points in a 57-0 route of the Bulldogs (2-7) at Bauer Field, ending the Bulldog’s 2012 season.
“We had a couple of big plays right away in the first quarter that we were able to score touchdowns on,” Kearney coach Brandon Cool said. “Then, North Platte had [five] turnovers that we were able to capitalize on.”
On the first play from scrimmage, Hunter King took an end around 66 yards for a touchdown to start the scoring for the Bearcats. After a North Platte three-and-out, Caleb Lundgren took a handoff up the middle for 72 yards on a zone-read on just their third offensive play.
“We got some good perimeter blocking and then our guys were able to get out into the open field and we were able to break some tackles on those long runs in order to get to the endzone,” Cool said.
Lundgren would finish the game with seven runs for 127 yards and the touchdown, to lead all rushers.
The North Platte offense managed just two first downs in the first half, and those did not come until halfway through the second quarter.
“The worst part is that we were three and out and that’s why they were scoring so fast,” North Platte coach Bernie Madison said. “We needed to sustain drives and move the chains and we didn’t get it done.”
The Bearcats third score of the night came on a 24-yard-touchdown pass from Luke McNitt to Ryan Cervantes on a three-play drive. McNitt played just over a quarter before Cool pulled him, but finished the game six of eight for 97 yards and three touchdowns. The second touchdown pass was King’s second score of the night, a 21-yard lob down the left sideline.
The third score, a 25-yard touchdown pass to Isaac Brown, was McNitt’s final play in the game, and gave the Bearcats a 41-0 lead with 11:05 remaining in the second quarter.
Quincy Bennett tacked on a 37-yard field goal in the second quarter, to give the Bearcats a 44-0 lead. Jacob White scored on a 16-yard touchdown run in the third quarter, and backup quarterback Peyton Pocock threw an 85-yard swing pass to Matt Koester to finish the scoring for the Bearcats.
Dylan Mlady struggled passing the ball for the Bulldogs, completing six of his 15 passes for 34 yards. He also ran the ball seven times for 33 yards.
The game was the final one in a Bulldog uniform for 23 seniors.
“We love those seniors,” Madison said. “They are great kids; great leaders. They worked hard. We’re going to miss them a ton.”