By Pastor Vince Carrig
Sailors quarterback Alex Sandberg’s three long touchdown passes in less than six minutes of playing time sent the Plainsmen to their second-consecutive double-digit loss, 40-15, Friday night in Sutherland.
The teams had played the first quarter to a 0-0 draw and Plainsmen kicker Jeremy Hagan’s field goal made it look as if his team would start the second half trailing by just 10 points at 13-3.
Then the touchdown storm started.
Sandberg floated a ball out of a collapsing pocket to speedy back Randon McKain, who ran under the 30-yard throw and continued over the other 30 for a 60-yard scoring play with just 13.4 seconds left in the half. After the break, Sandberg found receiver Jake Fleecs wide open in the right corner of the end zone, and mailed him a 24-yard toss. On Sutherland’s next drive, Sandberg sent a ball into a seam in defensive coverage and Garret Blomstedt strode through it for a 36-yard hookup.
With 5:31 left in the third quarter, Sutherland led 33-3.
Sandberg threw accurately and confidently, collecting 240 yards through the air by completing 11 of 17 attempts. He set up four touchdowns and did not throw an interception.
Randon McKain starred for the Sailors by stretching the defensive backfield with the touchdown catch, rushing for 142 yards, and escaping a “stick” and a tackle to score a touchdown from five yards out.
“Our biggest problem right now is eliminating mental mistakes and playing disciplined–which means doing things the correct way every time, not doing what is easiest. We have to translate what goes on in practice to the field on Friday,” Plainsmen Head Coach Chip Kay said after the game.
The Plainsmen undoubtedly kept an eye on McKain and stopped him more often than not, but the senior’s speed stressed Perkins County when he turned the corner of his offensive line.
McKain’s rushing touchdown started the running clock with 17:45 left in the game and Sutherland ahead 40-3.
Freshman Plainsmen running back Alex Johnston ran wild in the fourth quarter, setting up a Quentin Hite quarterback keeper for a TD and crossing the field for a 63-yard touchdown run of his own.
Hite relieved Michael York at quarterback for the Plainsmen after York suffered an impact injury in the third quarter that did not allow him to return.
The Plainsmen offense punted on five of their first six drives, with only Jeremy Hagan’s field goal to show for their first-half effort. Two Perkins County fumbles in the third quarter set Sutherland up to score 21 points.
Nick Turner rushed for 81 yards on 21 carries for the Plainsmen. Turner saw holes in the defensive line through which to run, but Sutherland made sure he never got out of the reach of their defensive secondary.
Sutherland’s ability to stifle the Plainsmen on offense gave the Sailors good field position all evening; they started all but one drive in front of their own 30-yard line and began three drives less than 40 yards away from the goal.
The 2-2 Plainsmen will try to recover their playoff chances when the 1-3 Bayard Tigers visit Grant on Friday night. Bayard notched its first win last Friday night against 0-4 Bridgeport, but suffered convincing defeats at the hands of Gordon-Rushville and North Platte–St. Pat’s before losing by just a touchdown to Kimball.
“The next three games are crucial for our goal of making the playoffs; we will continue to prepare and work hard, making the necessary changes to give the players and our team a chance to be successful,” Coach Kay said.
Score by Quarter
Sailors 0 19 21 0 —40
Plainsmen 0 3 0 12 —15
Sutherland, 2, 8:06, Fleecs 4 run (Jenner kick)
Sutherland, 2, 4:39, Sandberg 6 pass to Blomstedt (kick failed)
Perkins, 2, 0:51, Hagan, J. 29 FG
Sutherland, 2, 0:13, Sandberg 60 pass to McKain, R. (conversion failed)
Sutherland, 3, 10:17, Sandberg 24 pass to Fleecs
Sutherland, 3, 6:31, Sandberg 36 pass to Blomstedt (Jenner kick)
Sutherland, 3, 5:45, McKain, R. 5 run (Jenner kick)
Perkins, 4, 5:19, Hite 1 run (kick failed)
Perkins, 4, 1:45, Johnston 63 run (conversion failed)