The Scottsbluff Bearcats lost their first game of the season on Friday night, falling to McCook on the road by the final of 17-15.
Even though it was chalked up in the loss column, the Bearcats became a better football team which could benefit them down the road.
It was a classic hard hitting affair between two of the elite programs in Class B.
It wasn’t until the 9:31 mark of the second quarter that point were put on the board as Cade Cappell for the Bison scored a four yard touchdown run that was set up by a fake punt that kept the drive alive for McCook.
After McCook got the ball back it was the Scottsbluff defense that stepped up and made a huge play. Sophomore defensive back Keegan Reifschneider picked up a fumble and darted 18 yards for a scoop and score touchdown. Scottsbluff converted a two point conversion when kicker Josh Moore took a direct snap from Kobe Paez and ran around the left end and hopped inside the pylon to cross the goal line.
The play of the night for McCook came late in the first half after Scottsbluff’s Noah Bruner tossed an interception. On a 3rd down and 20 the Bison stayed on the ground and Cappell, the fullback, rambled 63 yards down inside the Scottsbluff five yard line. Sophomore defensive back Chris Busby showed great hustle and made a touchdown saving tackle. Touchdown saving as the defense held the Bison to a field goal.
McCook took a 10-8 lead to halftime.
The Bison defense held Scottsbluff running back Max Mason to 30 yards on five carries through the first two quarters.
The rest of the scoring all happened in the third quarter.
With 4:03 to play in the third Cappell scored on a short one yard touchdown run and after the PAT it was 17-8 McCook.
Mason, behind a good push from the offensive line, started to make some noise in the second half as he ran one in from 17 yards out with :1.5 left in the quarter.
After just those five carries in the first half, Mason finished the night with 25 rushes for 124 yards against one of, if not, the best defenses in all of Class B. Coming into the game McCook had allowed a TOTAL of just 170 yards a game to opponents.
Scottsbluff wound up with the football with one last gasp late in the four quarter and a final play hail mary down the right sideline fell incomplete just shy of the goal line.
After the game Scottsbluff Head Coach Joe Benson raved about the effort from both teams, saying for his team it was a step up in competition and physicality and that they answered the bell all night long.
A true classic Friday night in McCook.
The Bearcats are now 5-1, they host Gering next Friday night.
Other scores from the region from Friday night:
Lexington 44, Gering 20…The Bulldogs dropped to 0-5 as Lexington got their first win of the season. Sophomore running back Garrett Conn rushed for 100 yards in the loss. Senior linebacker Dylan Radzymski had a big first half interception.
Hastings 42, Alliance 0…a shocking score as the Bulldogs go on the road and get shut out by a much improved Hastings team.
York 42, Sidney 7…Sidney falls to 2-4 with the loss to the Dukes, one week after York beat McCook.
Kearney Catholic 49, Mitchell 14
Chase County 14, Gordon-Rushville 0
Ogallala 45, Chadron 14
Bridgeport 45, Kimball 20
St. Pat’s 43, Bayard 16
Valentine 10, Hershey 7
Hemingford 44, Sutherland 6
Perkins County 66, Dundy County Stratton 26
Paxton 56, Leyton 14
Garden County 76, Creek Valley 8
Mullen 61, Crawford 22
Cody-Kilgore 56, Sioux County 26
Hay Springs 46, Minatare 26
Arthur County 73, Hyannis 14