Fritz, O-line run over Holdrege
McCook Bison to host
Gering in Class B
playoff game Wednesday
For one half Thursday at Weiland Field, the McCook Bison offense struggled against a Holdrege defense that was using five-man and six-man fronts to stop the run.
Holdrege led 7-3 at intermission and would have led 14-3 if a sure touchdown pass had not slipped off the fingers of wide receiver Nathan Smith.
But the Bison coaching staff, led by head coach Jeff Gross, performed some locker room magic and the Bison pounded the Dusters with a lethal dose of junior Craig Fritz running behind a determined offensive line.
Fritz churned out 192 yards on 31 carries and scored two second-half touchdowns (10-yard run, 1-yard run) and the Bison defeated Holdrege 17-7 in the Nebraska Class B-5 district championship.
"The offensive line was just absolutely phenomenal and Fritzie got it done," Gross said. We felt all week we had to win the line of scrimmage."
The Bison, winners of 47 of their last 48 games, finished the regular season 9-0 for the fourth straight year (43 consecutive regular-season wins) and will host Gering in a first-round playoff game Wednesday.
Game time Wednesday will be determined.
McCook defeated Gering 20-15 in Week 4.
McCook is the likely No. 1 seed in the West bracket and Gering is No. 8. The Bison lead the West bracket point standings with 400 points, followed by Beatrice with 398.
McCook took a 3-0 lead in the first quarter on a 27-yard field goal by Josh Cherry.
Holdrege scored on a 26-yard TD run by quarterback John Goodwin in the second quarter. Chad Bailey kicked the extra point.
The Bison defense clamped down on the Holdrege offense in the second half, forcing three three-and-outs.
The Bison also pulled a trick play out of the bag in the third quarter to ignite the offense. On a reverse pass play, Cherry hit a wide open Joel Arterburn for a 45-yard gain to the Holdrege 22. Two plays later, Fritz scored from 10 yards out and Cherry kicked the extra point.
The Bison capped a long scoring drive in the fourth quarter with Fritz' 1-yard TD run and another Cherry PAT.
Cherry picked off his state-leading fifth interception to seal the win for the Bison. He missed a 26-yard field goal.
The Bison limited the Dusters to 46 yards passing and 15 rushing in the second half (137 rushing and 45 passing for the game) despite the presence of 1,200-yard rusher Pat Ackerman, who finished with 60 yards.
Offensively, McCook rolled up 298 yards rushing -- 186 in the second half.
"We made some great adjustments at halftime," Gross said. "We told the kids to stay on their blocks. Our offensive performance kept Holdrege's offense off the field."
* The game was halted with 2:19 left when Holdrege's Brett Peterson was injured.
He was taken off the field by ambulance.
No information on Peterson's injury was available at press time.
* For the fourth straight season, McCook has two 1,000-yard rushers as both Fritz and Purvis passed the milestone against Holdrege.
Fritz now has 1,040 yards. Purvis, who rushed for 75 yards on 16 carries against Holdrege, now has 1,001.
* Nebraska Class B west bracket playoff point standings:
McCook 400, Beatrice 398, Aurora 388, Holdrege 371, Scottsbluff 369, Seward 366, Crete 362, Gering 359.
* Nebraska Class B east playoff point standings:
Omaha Skutt 410, Ralston 377, Lincoln Pius X 376, Waverly 374, Elkhorn 371, Plattsmouth 369, Gretna 364, Blair 335.
M -- Josh Cherry 27 FG
H -- John Goodwin 26 run (Chad Bailey kick)
M -- Craig Fritz 10 run (Cherry kick)
M -- Fritz 1 run (Cherry kick)
McCook: Fritz 31-192, Purvis 16-75, Bedore 9-26, Frazier 2-8, Pohl 1-1.
Holdrege: Goodwin 12-76, Ackerman 16-60, Vonasek 2-8, Kyle Bell 1 (-8).
McCook: Cherry 1-1-0-45, Purvis 0-1-0-0.
Holdrege: Goodwin 5-10-1-45.
McCook: Arterburn 1-45.
Holdrege: B.Smith 3-40, Bell 1-9, SDchroder 1 (-4).
McCook: Cherry interception.
Holdrege: Nelson fumble recovery.