The outstanding 2021 Kearney Catholic Offense
A LITTLE WEST OF HASTINGS, NE.
Kearney Catholic bounced back with a vengeance from a tough 9-6 win at Broken Bow last Thursday, to soundly defeat 6th rated Adams Central, 41-12. The Class C-1 second rated and undefeated Stars scored on their first two possessions of the game, then added another before the opening quarter ended to build a 21-0 lead over Adams Central.
Senior running back Riley Grieser, a solid as a rock, 6-2, 190 pound bruiser with speed, had a banner night, rushing for 194 yards on 19 carries, 139 of those coming in the first half. Grieser set the tone for the night when he following the crisp blocking the Stars outstanding offensive line for gains of 19 and 38 yards on his first two carries of the night.
Meanwhile, the Kearney Catholic “D” kept the Adams Central offense in shock with their smothering, swarming defense that caused a turnover on the Patriots first possession following the Stars opening score.
The home field Patriots had just two plays under their belt, a pair of incomplete passes, when Kearney Catholic’s Carson Murphy stepped in front of Breck Samuelson to pick off a Jacob Eckhardt aerial at the A/C 19.
Four plays later, super senior QB Brett Mahony powered his way into the end zone from four yards out to give the Stars a 14-0 lead with 7:40 still showing on the clock in the 1st quarter.
Adams Central stuck to the passing game on their 2nd possession of the contest after Eckhardt dashed 11 yards for a first down. 3 more pass attempts, 3 more incompletions and a punt from their own 41 set up the Stars at their own 33 for their 3rd possession of the first quarter.
An errant pitch by Brett Mahony thwarted the Stars drive, but after the Kearney Catholic defense once again stopped an Adams Central possession, the visitors were once again in business at their own 45 yard line.
It took just six plays and 2 minutes, 13 seconds for the Stars to drive 55 yards for another score. Quarterback Bret Mahony did a fine job mixing a run/pass game drive which culminated with Riley Greiser’s 2nd touchdown of the opening stanza, a stand up 9 yard beauty through a huge B-gap opening on the right side of that wicked Kearney Catholic offensive line.
Steady place kicker Max McBride booted his 3rd PAT of the opening quarter, and the Stars had a commanding 21-0 lead with :16.9 seconds left in that first stanza.
Surprisingly absent for most of the first quarter were the handoffs to slick Adams Central sophomore running back, Nick Conant. BUT, there was probably a reason.
Conant, who has rich bloodlines, stepped in for an injured Hyatt Collins a week ago and ripped off 203 yards and 4 touchdowns in the Patriots 59-20 pounding of Central City. The week before, again filling in for Collins, the shifty, speed demon bolted for 115 yards and 4 scores in A/C’s 48-0 trouncing of Wood River/Shelton.
Conant did not get his first carry of the game until the 3:33 mark of the opening quarter, but Kearney Catholic kept tight raps on Conant the remainder of the opening half, although the sophomore did gain 41 yards in that first half.
The Stars added a touchdown in the 2nd quarter on Riley Grieser’s third score of the game (3 yard run) and took a 28-0 lead into the halftime break.
The Kearney Catholic defense came out smoking in the 3rd quarter. After Nick Conant gained 4 yards up the middle, Brett Mahony broke through to spill Holden O’Dey for an 8 yard loss back at the 15. Two plays later, Creighton Jacobitz was punting the ball away once again.
It took the Stars just one play to score on the ensuing possession when Mahony found Riley Grieser open down the middle of the field for a sparkling 49 yard touchdown pass. Nick Conant came flying off the edge to block a Max McBride PAT that would have enabled the 35 point running clock.
The 34-0 Kearney Catholic lead must have awakened Adams Central because the Patriots fashioned a patented A/C time consuming 6:40, 12 play drive that ended with Jaxen Gangwish outracing the Stars defense to the right pylon for a 3 yard touchdown scamper.
It took just a minute, 20 seconds for the Stars to answer the Gangwish touchdown. Kearney Catholic covered 65 yards in 7 plays with Brett Mahony finally smashing in from 2 yards out to up the Stars lead to 41-6 and kick in the running clock.
Riley Grieser (who else) had the key run in the drive, a 42 yard run that carried from the Stars 35 to the Patriots 23 yard line.
Nick Conant provided the touchdown saving tackle for Adams Central.
Adams Central added a Nick Conant touchdown in the waning moments of the game, capping off a huge 14 minute span for the sophomore, a span that saw Conant rip off terrific zig-zagging, great vision runs of 50, 12, 29 and 10 yards, the latter being a scoring jaunt.
It was a huge night for Kearney Catholic running back Riley Grieser, who entered the contest with 886 yards rushing. Grieser’s 194 yards rushing against Adams Central unofficially gives the hard-running senior 1,090 yards in 7 games. The Kearney Catholic offensive line was razor sharp and gave me an indication this team can play with anybody in Class C-1.
That, coupled with the defensive performance, give this team yet another shot at making a deep playoff run.
Now, what about this Adams Central team that once again was missing the running of Hyatt Collins and all-around play of Riley Bonifas? This football team probably should, and could have won both the Wahoo and Cozad games, but that’s football. The big thing is the fact that both Collins and Bonifas are slated to return next week in the Patriots huge C-1, District 6 matchup. In fact, it will most likely decide the District 6 championship.
Despite the 41-12 loss by Adams Central on this gorgeous football night, this Patriots football team is FAR from out of it. A win over St. Paul next week, then Fillmore the following week put this tradition-rich program right back on track.
**It is so refreshing to see former Gibbon High and UNK football standout Osmin Rodriguez be a key member of this Kearney Catholic coaching staff. This young man was, and always will be one of my favorite high school football players. Full of talent, knowledge and desire, Ozzy is now passing that same skill set and passion for the game along to these young men who play for this fine Kearney Catholic football squad.
You’re a MAN, Coach Rodriguez and I’m so proud of your work.
……………………………. 1…….. 2……..3……..4……...Final
Kearney Catholic (7-0)...21……..7……….13……...0………….41
Adams Central (4-3)........0……...0……….6……….6………….12
KC-Riley Grieser 2 run………………..PAT-Max McBride kick (9:48) - 7 - 0
KC-Brett Mahony 4 run………….…...PAT-Max McBride kick (7:40) - 14 - 0
KC-Riley Grieser 9 run………………..PAT-Max McBride kick (:16.9) - 21 - 0
KC-Riley Grieser 3 run………………..PAT-Max McBride kick (3:35) - 28 - 0
KC-Grieser 49 pass from Mahony..PAT-kick blocked (10:02) - 34 - 0
AC-Jaxen Gangwish 3 run…………..PAT-run failed (3:22) - 34 - 6
KC-Brett Mahony 2 run……………...PAT-Max McBride kick (2:02) - 41 - 6
AC-Nick Conant 10 run……………...PAT-kick failed (:51.1) - 41-12
Rushing: Kearney Catholic; Riley Grieser 194-19, Brett Mahony 17-11, Tyson Redinger-5-2, Logan Roggasch 3-1, Brant Christner 0-1. Adams Central; Nick Conant-193-26, Jacob Eckhardt-39-9, Sam Dierks-11-1, Elijah Mulligan-4-1, Jaxon Gangwish-3 (TD)-1, Holden O’Dey-(minus) 8-2
Passing: Kearney Catholic; Brett Mahony, 5-6-112-(1 TD/0 INT), Owen Axman, 0-1-0. Adams Central; Jacob Eckhardt, 9-26-98 (2 INTs), Sam Dierks, 1-1-10
Receiving: Kearney Catholic; Riley Grieser 1-49 (TD), Carson Murphy, 1-45, Mason Mandernach, 1-3, Aaron O’Brien, 1-3, Max McBride, 1-(minus) 3. Adams Central; Jayden Teichmeier, 3-51, Elijah Mulligan, 4-45, Richard Waldren, 1-10, Breck Samuelson, 1-3, Nick Conant, 1-(minus) 1.
Tackles: Kearney Catholic; Dylan Merz, 4-2-6 (2 sacks), Garret Schmaderer, 5-1-6 (INT), Tyson Redinger, 3-2-5 (1 TFL), Koren Conrad, 2-4-6, Aaron O’Brien, 2-3-5, Landon Edeal, 2-3-5, Carson Murphy. 1-2-3 (INT). Adams Central; Elijah Mulligan, 3-3-6, Leighton Weber, 1-6-7, Jaxon Gangwish, 3-2-5 (1 TFL), Jack Trausch, 3-1-4, Sam Dierks, 2-2-4.