McCook cautious on Sidney
Sidney just happens to be the team McCook Bison is playing Friday night for the second football game of the season.
The Red Raiders will be in town for a 7:30 p.m. kickoff Friday at Weiland Field.
The Bison team's biggest opponent might be the Bison. More specifically, the opponent is turnovers. The Bison coughed up seven fumbles and lost four, plus threw an interception, in last week's 25-16 win over Gering.
"We've got to focus on ourselves this week," said McCook football coach Jeff Gross. "We have to have that Week 2 improvement. We have to sustain drives. We gave away too many drives. "On defense, we didn't find out too much as a whole because of what they (Gering) presented (the Bulldogs spread the field with four wide receivers)."
While McCook overcame its turnovers and five penalties for 50 yards, Sidney lost a 7-6 decision to Chase County-Imperial. In the past Sidney would have attempted the same philosophy, but the Red Raiders have switched to a power running game with three backs. "Sidney's going to come in here and run the ball," Gross said. "They changed from spreading you out to packing you in. They believe that every time they run the ball they keep the game fairly close.
"That's what they did against Imperial. We just have to focus on playing good solid defense and force them into a throwing game." Gross said special teams could play a factor in the outcome.
"We did some good things in the kicking game (Trent Lyons kicked a 47- yard field goal). We need to improve in the kick return game." Gross attributed some of the miscues to a case of the nerves and inexperience -- even with some of the seniors.
"The fumbled snaps are something we can improve on. Those things are going to get corrected. The interception was my fault -- we tried forcing something in that wasn't there.
"We have to be patient. We struggled offensively. We have to go back to our ground game. We have to be more patient inside the red zone (inside the opponent's 20-yard line)."
The Red Raiders trailed Chase County-Imperial 7-0 late into last week's game. At the 2:17 mark, sophomore quarterback Morgan Smith hooked up with wide receiver Adam Akerson on an 80-yard touchdown pass. Senior tailback Scott Volkmer tried to turn the corner on the two-yard line, but was pulled down from behind and the two-point conversion failed.
Sidney totaled 180 yards on offense -- 94 rushing and 86 passing. The Red Raiders limited Imperial to 184 total yards -- 138 rushing and 46 passing.
McCook piled up 523 yards and 20 first downs against Gering -- 313 rushing and 210 passing. In addition to kicking a 47-yard field goal, Lyons added a 20-yarder, ran for a 6-yard TD and connected with sophomore tailback Brendan Liess for a 37-yard TD pass.
Lyons completed 11-of-14 passes for 210 yards. Tight end Allan Shiers caught four passes for 89 yards. Liess, Kyle Bedore and Brooks Snyder each caught two passes. Matt Beckenhauer made a key 35-yard grab. The Bison featured a pair of 100-yard rushers. Bedore ran 22 times for 168 yards and Liess carried 22 times for 114. Lyons picked up 29 yards rushing.
McCook's defense was riddled for 277 yards passing by Gering's Todd Rubottom last week, but held the Bulldogs to 30 yards rushing. Lyons led the Bison from his free safety spot with 24 defensive points. He made five solo tackles and deflected a pass.
Rico Quezada had 22 points (five solo tackles, two deflections). Jayce Dueland had 15 points (four solo tackles, one assisted tackle). Bedore had 12 points (three solo tackles, two assisted tackles, one forced fumble and one recovered fumble).
Shiers deflected two passes. Gross said there were no injuries for his starting lineup. However, Jeff Klug, who was battling three other sophomores for playing time as the backup quarterback, suffered a broken collarbone in the McCook junior varsity team's win over Holdrege Monday. Klug suffered a season-ending injury in a freshman game against Holdrege last year.
AREA FOOTBALL SCHEDULE FOR WEEKEND FRIDAY, SEPT. 12 Gering @ McCook (KICX) Arapahoe @ Wauneta-Palisade (Coyote Country) Oakley @ Atwood Oberlin @ Quinter Cambridge @ North Platte-St. Patrick's Grant @ Chase County-Imperial Twin Valley @ Culbertson (the Prairie) Dundy County @ Superior Thayer Central @ Southern Valley Medicine Valley @ Eustis-Farnam Republican Valley @ Loomis Lakeside Central @ Hayes Center Elwood @ Maywood Jennings @ Brewster Wallace @ Wheatland Arthur @ Herndon Cheylin @ Triplains SATURDAY, SEPT. 13 South Park, Colo. @ St. Francis