GERING, Neb. -- The McCook Bison got very defensive at Gering Sept. 14.
The Bison held Gering to 136 total yards of offense as McCook handed the Bulldogs their first loss of the season in a 26-7 decision.
Gering's offensive philosophy, according to McCook head coach Jeff Gross, is to run the football. The Bison basically shut down the Bulldogs rushing attack, as Gering managed just 58 yards on the ground.
McCook kept the hosts off the scoreboard until the final seconds of the contest when the Bulldogs drove for a touchdown against the Bison reserves.
"I thought we played great defensively," Coach Gross said. "First off, our kids won the ball game last week Monday through Thursday. We really prepared well. They had a great understanding of what Gering's offense consisted of and what they needed to stop out of everything Gering did, and they went out and executed it.
"We just took some more strides at certain positions. We've got guys obviously that have been playing at a high level all year. But we just keep getting everybody to elevate a little bit more at some of the positions that we've struggled at maybe."
McCook also held Gering to Bison defense season-low 78 passing yards.
"We covered like nobody's business again the other night," Gross said in a phone interview Sunday night. "I thought our secondary had a great night. We covered up the loss of Austin (Cherry) back there. Vince (Lyons) played a great game. I thought both of our corners, Cody (Wudtke) and Zayne (Gillen) had great games. Jacob Riemann came in, we moved him from corner to give us some depth at safety and outside linebacker.
"We were able to mix the pressure in with the coverage. It was just really a stellar defensive effort."
McCOOK PLAYED without starting quarterback and safety Austin Cherry, who is nursing a shoulder injury. Cherry could return to action Friday, Sept. 22, when the Bison host Sidney.
McCook led 17-0 at halftime, thanks to some early fireworks in the passing game.
Lyons, subbing for Cherry at quarterback, connected with Wudtke on a short pass, and the senior wideout turned the reception into a 58-yard touchdown play. Dakota Baumgartner's conversion kick put McCook ahead 7-0.
Kyle Stewart added a 3-yard TD run in the second quarter, followed by Baumgartner's PAT kick.
Baumgartner added a 27-yard field goal before halftime, and he kicked a 39-yarder in the third period to boost the Bison lead to 20-0.
Stewart added a 3-yard TD run in the final period.
Stewart and Jake Schlager were a potent one-two punch in the Bison rushing attack. Schlager had 135 yards on 19 carries, while Stewart added 94 yards on 19 attempts.
Lyons completed 3 of 8 passes for 75 yards, including two catches by Wudtke and another by Stewart.
The Bison improved to 2-2 overall, with 0-4 Sidney coming to Weiland Field Friday, Sept. 22, for a 7 p.m. kickoff.