By Pastor Vince Carrig
BENKELMAN—Nick Turner and Michael York sprinted into open field for long touchdown runs and Erik Hagan caught two touchdown passes to push the Plainsmen past the Dundy County-Stratton Tigers 49-6 Friday night in Benkelman.
Running back Turner shifted into overdrive in the first quarter for a 42-yard score, then set up his own short-yardage touchdown with a 55-yard jaunt.
“I had great blocking up front; that’s what it takes,” Turner said of his ability to amass 151 yards in just one half of play.
The Tigers definitely wanted to “get a leg up” on Perkins County, and after stopping the visitors’ first two drives, felt they had. They took advantage of a center snap gone awry and tackled punter Quinton Hite in the shadow of his own goal line. Dundy quarterback Kendal Glidden then hammered home a three-yard run and put the home team ahead 6-0 with 5:34 left in the first quarter.
Just one point separated the teams after the first quarter gunshot, but a 29-0 onslaught of second quarter points nearly put the game in “running clock” mode for half of the game.
“When they looked up and saw it was 7-6, it was like a switch flipped and they went to a whole other level of physical play,” Plainsmen Head Coach Chip Kay said of his team after the game.
Turner shrugged off a hard hit to score that second touchdown with 10:40 left in the second quarter. Defensive lineman Derek Brueggeman’s sack of Glidden and Plainsmen wideout Kyle Schulze’s 22-yard reverse run set up York’s first touchdown pass.
“I was actually trying to throw [the ball] out of the back of the end zone,” York said of his 10-yard scoring strike to senior receiver Erik Hagan.
York used his legs to roll out right and escape pressure, and his arm to lead Hagan with a perfect pass. Hagan saw his quarterback in trouble and alertly cut back to the middle of the end zone after running a route to its corner.
The Plainsmen continued to make their own breaks, with linebacker Erik Hagan pouncing on a fumble 18 yards into the Tigers’ backfield. York handed to Turner twice then finished traversing the short field himself to put Perkins County ahead 28-6 with 2:06 left in the first half.
Plainsmen defensive lineman Tyler Brott got in Dundy’s backfield and blew up a sweep to runner Paul Downey, setting up Perkins County’s fifth score.
“Our ability to close holes, play well off blocks and tackle contributed to their struggles on offense,” Coach Kay said. His defense allowed just 104 yards on the ground and 175 overall.
With less than a half-minute remaining in the half, Plainsmen Coach Kay rolled every defender toward the line of scrimmage in an attempt to block Aaron Baney’s punt. Senior defender Kye Kurkowski fulfilled the Plainsmen mission, not only by blocking the punt but also recovering the loose ball in the end zone for a touchdown. Special teams success gave the Plainsmen a 30-point halftime lead.
The Plainsmen defense squashed two strong Tigers’ scoring attempts in the second half. After Dundy County penetrated within 13 yards of success, Perkins County cornerback Taylor Boldt snagged a Glidden pass in the end zone.
Two plays later, the Plainsmen stuck the football in the end zone for a sixth time.
After quarterback York barely missed connecting with Eric Hagan on a deep route immediately after Boldt’s touchback, freshman quarterback Quinton Hite nailed Hagan on the same exact pass route.
“It felt really good,” Hite said of throwing a touchdown pass on the first pass of his varsity career.
“The play before I saw the end come up, and I was worried that he was going to come get me,” Hite said of the coverage he saw forming before taking his first snap.
The Tigers looked surprised that the Plainsmen ran the same big play after it barely failed the first time; “I think they would have expected it, but it still worked,” Hite said.
With the clock running continuously because of Perkins County’s lead of more than 35 points, York finished the scoring.
With 3:06 left in the third quarter, York took the snap from center himself, slid by one tackler and spun through the arms of another and ran 63 yards for a touchdown.
“It felt pretty good [to break free]. I was just hoping nobody caught me,” York said of the long sprint to paydirt.
Coach Kay summarized the team’s effort by saying, “We really, truly epitomized the team concept [tonight]. We have guys who can come in (like Brueggeman and lineman Ethan Behrends) and do an unbelievable job. Our team chemistry doesn’t change with who’s on the field, and that’s pretty special.”
He also noted that the Plainsmen won the “must downs” (third down and fourth down) by a count of 9-1. Perkins County forced the Tigers to give the ball over after four downs two times Friday night.
The Plainsmen pack their victory and pads and head west to Holyoke for a game on Friday at 7:00 p.m.
The Dragons suffered a 35-22 defeat at the hands of the Chase County Longhorns in Imperial Friday night.
Perkins County returns to Grant to oppose North Platte-St. Pat’s on Friday, September 18. The Irish went to Sutherland and took away a 14-7 win Friday.
Perkins Co. 49, Dundy Co. 6
Plainsmen 7 29 13 0—49
Tigers 6 0 0 0—6
DC 1 5:34 Glidden 3 run (kick blocked)
PC 1 4:07 Turner 42 run (Hagan, J. kick)
PC 2 10:40 Turner 3 run (Hagan, J. kick)
PC 2 5:23 York 10 pass to Hagan, E. (Hagan, J. kick)
PC 2 2:23 York 1 run (Hagan, J. kick)
PC 2 0:18 Kurkowski punt block recovery (York run)
PC 3 6:58 Hite 80 pass to Hagan, E. (Hagan, J. kick)
PC 3 3:25 York 63 run (kick failed)
Turner 11/151; York 11/89; Schulze 1/22; Hagan, E. 3/21; Carlson 2/17; Prante, B. 3/15; Johnston 4/10
York 1-6-10-1-0; Hite 1-1-80-1-0; Glidden (Dundy) 5-11-71-0-1
Defense (tackles + assists)
Turner 15+10; Jones 12+8; Boldt 9+8; York 8+8; Hagan, E. 6+4; Brott 6+8