HASTINGS, NE – The first game of the 2019 Hastings College Broncos football season was no disappointment, as 50 of the 62 total points were scored in the first half. The Broncos were able to get their season to start off with a 40-22 win over Oklahoma Panhandle State.
The Broncos (1-0) won the toss and deferred it to Panhandle State for them to receive. The Aggies started the game with the ball, but the Broncos defense came out hot and quickly forced the Aggies to go 3-and-out and punt to ball. The Broncos took advantage of having the ball by only using 2 minutes of clock before they were able to punch it in with a 9-yard rush by Brett Simonsen (FR/Sutton, NE) for his first collegiate touchdown.
It was the defense that shined again against the Aggies with another 3-and-out to get the offense back on the field. Isaiah Jackson (SR/Compton, CA) and Co. showed their appreciation on their next drive as Jackson started the drive with a handoff to Brenton Bell (SO/San Diego, CA) for a gain of 3-yards before connecting with Keiotey Stenhouse (SR/Pacoima, CA) on a 45-yard touchdown.
The Broncos defense was unable to stop the big plays as Panhandle State was able to finally get on the board with a 47-yard rushing touchdown to make it 14-7. The Broncos both offensively and defensively did their jobs as they quickly jumped out to a 28-7 lead over the Aggies after another passing touchdown from Jackson as he connected with Anthony Martinez (SR/Oceanside, CA) on a 17-yard pass.
The big play came back to bite the Broncos as Panhandle State was able to get a huge momentum swing in the Aggies favor, as they scored back to back touchdowns and a safety to close the gap 28-20 with 1:15 before half.
The Broncos started off the second half with a great opening drive going 80-yards over 10 plays with it ending with Jackson connecting on his third touchdown pass of the evening. The drive started off with the kick off from the Aggies going out of bounds placing the ball on the 35-yard line. After a 3-yard run from Bell, Jackson had two big passing plays with the first being a 14-yard pass to Bell. The second pass going to Riley Ostendorf (SR/Gothenburg, NE) for a 17-yard gain. After four more plays, its 3rd and 7 and the Broncos able to continue the drive after a big pass interference call to make it 1st and goal on the 7-yard line. The Broncos next play is a 5-yard rush by Simonsen just to have a false start call to bring the Broncos back to the 7. After a failed shot to the end zone intended for Martinez, Jackson then connected on a 7-yard pass to Stenhouse again allowing the Broncos to retake control, extending their lead to 35-22.
The defense continued to shine on the field as Abdul Marei (SR/Houston, TX) was able to get back to back tackles forcing a 3rd down just to have Paxton Terry (FR/McCook, NE) come flying in for a big sack to force 4th down. As the Aggies set up to punt, Kaeden Markham (SO/McKinney, TX) came off the edge and was able to block the punt which forced the ball to go into the end zone where the Aggies recovered resulting in a safety.
Both teams go back and forth with the ball unable to get into the end zone, before two big plays for the Broncos as Jesse Ulrich (FR/Ord, NE) broke away for a 21-yard run and immediately followed by a 28-yard pass from Jackson as he connected to Stenhouse. These big plays help set up true freshman Jason Bachle (FR/Grand Island, NE) as he was able to kick a 44-yard field goal after just missing a 34-yarder back in the beginning of the second quarter. These were the final points scored on the night as the Broncos were able to complete the second half shutout against the Aggies.
With a 40-22 lead and the fourth quarter left to play in the game, the Broncos looked to do two things; bleed the clock and pad their lead. During the second half, Hastings did both. The Aggies start the fourth quarter by attempting to force a pass downfield that was eventually intercepted by DaeRon Jones (SO/Kansas City, MO) in the end zone. A six play drive for the Broncos ends up going nowhere as the Broncos are forced to punt with 8:38 left in the fourth. A couple big rushing plays for the Aggies doesn’t end of leading to a score as they turn the ball over on downs after a 4th and 5 pass play was broken up by Jones. Two big first down runs by Simonsen burn just enough time to seal the victory. The Broncos were forced to punt to Panhandle State, which allowed the Broncos to bring the heat on the final drive of the game as they were able to pick up 4 sacks to close out the game. Including the final play of the game being a sack from Hagen Tucker (SR/Longview, TX). The Broncos finish the game with a 40-22 win over Oklahoma Panhandle State.
Hastings as a team, dominated most of the game, and was in command. Hastings had 28 first downs compared to OPSU’s 17. Hastings also outgained OPSU in total yards (421-345), passing yards (250-108), and after giving a couple big rushing play the Aggies were able to outgain the Broncos in rushing yards (171-237).
Jackson, Stenhouse, Simonsen, and Bell all lead the Broncos on offense. Jackson went 19-for-37 on pass attempts, and 250 passing yards. Stenhouse led the team with 9 catches for 129 yards and 2 touchdowns. Simonsen had 74 rushing yards, and a touchdown. Bell had 39 yards rushing and 32 yards receiving. Abdul led the Broncos on the defensive side as he was able to had 7 tackles, 2 of those for a loss, and a sack on the night.
The Broncos will have next weekend to rest before they start conference play here at home, where they take on the Jamestown Jimmies on September 14th. Kickoff is scheduled for 1 p.m. CST.