The Northwest Vikings played toe to toe with Scottsbluff for most of the game Friday night, but the speed of Mike Klein and Luke Worden,
particularly Worden finally took its toll. After the Vikings Kyle Bachmann smashed in for touchdown from 2 yards out with 2:13 remaining in the 3rd quarter, Northwest regained the lead 13-12. But on the ensuing kick-off, the blazing Worden fielded the high, booming kick at the Bearcat 11 in full stride and zipped 89 yards for the go ahead score that stood up until the finalgun sounded at Viking Field in Grand Island. Kick-offs and penalty's proved very costly for the Vikings, who actually out yarded Scottsbluff 300-189 for the evening, but it's the numbers under the Home/Visitor sign on the scoreboard that tell the story when all is said and done and it read Scottsbluff 20-13 Grand Island Northwest.
On a picture perfect night for football, the Northwest football team was eager to atone for a dismal showing a week before in a 49-26 blowout loss to McCook. The Scottsbluff team looked a little bit "slow footed" as head coach Joe Benson put it, to start the game. The 'Cats have looked razor sharp at times this season and conversely have had games like the 16-13 loss to Holdrege that left the Bearcat coaching staff scratching their heads. A week ago though, the Bearcats turned the twin speed burners loose in a 49-14 blasting of Hastings and Northwest head coach Kevin Stein knew his forces had to put the stops on Matt Klein and Luke Worden on this night at Viking Field.
Scottsbluff struck first after rugged lineman Colby Aulick broke through and deflected a Viking punt on the GINW 23. The 'Cats took over on the Northwest 30 yard line and it took only 2 plays for the rapid Matt Klein to scoot 17 yards for the score....Scottsbluff led 6-0 after one quarter. Defense took over in the second stanza, but a flurry with less than a minute left in the half left some heads reeling. Following a missed field goal
by Scottsbluff with 1:38 remaining in the 2nd, Northwest took over and executed a quick hitting drive before the half... Northwest quarterback Dylan Krosschell had the key run in the drive weaving in and out of traffic, following his blockers on a 72 jaunt that ended up on the Bearcat 9. Kyle Bachmann then crashed in from the 2 yard line a couple of plays later for the score. Zach Rouzee drilled the point after and Northwest had the 7-6 lead with only 9.9 seconds left in the half. For some reason, Northwest decided to try an onside kick instead of squibbing it and the ball failed to travel 10 yards giving Scottsbluff one more shot near mid field. Of course 'Cats quarterback Grant Lacey lofted a long 50 yard toss to Luke Worden, who caught it in stride, but tackled at the Viking 2 yard line. Time appeared to have run out, but Scottsbluff had apparently called a time out with 1 TENTH of a second remaining, giving them an additional shot the end zone. Worden appeared to have scored on the following play, but after a lengthy discussion, the officials ruled the Vikings had held.
Scottsbluff took the 2nd half kick-off and calmly pieced together a 9 play, 5:09 drive that ended with Matt Klein scoring on a second 17 yard sweep. The 'Cats led 12-7 after the run for the extra point failed. Northwest returned the favor with a slick 12 play, 4:21 drive that saw Kyle Bachman add his 2ndtouchdown of the night from 2 yards out. The point after pass failed and the Vikings had the 13-12 lead with 2:13 left in the 3rd. The lead would be short lived, however when Luke Worden flashed his sprinter speed, returning the ensuing kick 89 yards for the go ahead score.
The teams played evenly the rest of the way, but an exciting final drive by Northwest that started on their own 10 with 1:46 left kept the crowd on its feet. Northwest appeared to be on its way to tying the game when Krosschell hit the swift Alec Waters on a short pass. Waters hauled it in at the Scottsbluff 41 and took it all the way to the Bearcat 9, but a block in the back call at the 38 nullified the nice completion and the Vikings simply ran out of time as Grant Lacey slapped away the final pass attempt.
Scottsbluff's Matt Klein was the workhorse out of the 'Cat backfield, often times taking a direct snap out of the Wildcat formation. Klein carried 25 times for 154 yards. No other back for Scottsbluff had over 18 yards. The Bearcat air attack was efficient with Grant Lacey hitting 4 of 8 for 110 yards. The Vikings ran out of the 'Gun all night but shot themselves in the foot with an amazing 9 false start penalties, 7 of which came on first down. Quarterback Dylan Krosschell led the Vikings with 155 rushing yards on 16 carries, 72 coming on the jaunt before halftime. Kroesschell also completed 13 of 26 throws, but went for only 82 yards. The speed of Scottsbluff was probably the single factor that spelled doom for Northwest, but the Vikings did some nice things at times, but the mental errors on penalties set them back.
Both teams start their "second season" next week entering district play. GI Northwest who falls to 2-4, travels to Aurora next Friday and Scottsbluff (4-2) returns home to take on old rival Gering, who lost a 35-34 heartbreaker to Aurora on Friday. I was impressed with the discipline that Scottsbluff coach Joe Benson and his staff has instilled in this Bearcat football team. This team, if playing up to their capabilities, will be a tough match for anybody the rest of the way.
*The Northwest Viking band staged a fine halftime field performance which looked like a sure fire Superior rating for the Harvest of
Harmony on Saturday...stay tuned for that result.
*One of Scottsbluff's assistant coaches, Jim Holscher, was a member of my 1000 Yard Club in 1981-1982. Holscher was arguably one of the best runners I saw in '82, when he set a Cook Nemaha Valley single season rushing record of 1,433 yards. Nobody can ever break that one since Nemaha Valley has since merged with Johnson County Central in Tecumseh. Holscher later played 3 seasons with Nebraska.
*Luke Worden's parents were pretty salty athletes back in their day. His father, Jamie, was an outstanding football and track star for Scottsbluff, winning the 1984 Gold Medal in the 100 Meters and later was a 2 year letterman for Nebraska in football. He is now a Scotts Bluff county judge. His mother, the former Joni Schaub, was one of the final female sprinters in western Nebraska history, losing only to the legendary Mallory Ivy of Omaha Central in the 100 and 200 in her career. Both still own the sprint records at Scottsbluff to this day.