The first weekend in November has arrived and along with it comes another big Class B football game at Bearcat Stadium in Scottsbluff.
Tonight in the state quarterfinals it’s 2nd seeded Scottsbluff (10-0) hosting 6th seeded Omaha Roncalli (8-2) with kickoff set for 6 p.m.
Both teams come in off blowout wins in their playoff openers last week. Scottsbluff scored 62 first half points in their 69-21 rout of Ralston while the Crimson Pride won at home over Mount Michael Benedictine 44-8.
Aside from sweet uniforms, what else will Roncalli bring west with them? Well, it all starts with Alex Rodgers, who’s got over 1,000 yards rushing and just under 700 yards receiving.
Scottsbluff Head Coach, Joe Benson, calls Rodgers a, “swiss army knife type.”
The guy who knows Rodgers best is Roncalli Head Coach, Tom Kassing, “I think he is the most dynamic player in Class B. With regards to what he does on defense he’s one of the top tacklers in the state. He’s definitely a dual threat with regards to running and receiving. He can throw the ball too. He can literally do it all.”
But Roncalli is more than just Rodgers. Junior quarterback Jack Dotzler has over 2,300 yards passing with 25 touchdowns and 8 interceptions.
On the year Roncalli averages right around 260 yards passing per game and 180 yards per game rushing.
Let’s flip to the Roncalli defense. What can they do that could possibly slow up the Scottsbluff offense just a bit?
The Pride will be tasked with taming a Bearcats ground attack that’s now averaging over 300 yards per game rushing (it would be way over the 300 yard mark if they didn’t blow so many teams out during the regular season) and can make explosive plays in the passing game.
Here’s the thing when you’re trying to put a game plan together to beat Scottsbluff; you somehow have to, at the same time, slow down one of the most explosive offenses in the state while also trying to find a way to move the ball and score enough points to overcome what you give up.
That is a tough combination and Coach Kassing knows it.
The backfield trio of Chris Busby, Sabastian Harsh, and Jacob Krul has combined for 46 rushing touchdowns this season for Scottsbluff. Busby has 20 of them and he’s now at 1,268 yards rushing for the season. Harsh is up to 711 yards with 16 touchdowns and Krul is averaging 10.6 yards per carry.
Offensive line play has been a big boon for Scottsbluff of late. The coaches said they played their best game of the season two weeks ago against McCook and that carried over to last week when they helped pave the way for 62 first half points with eight of the ten touchdowns coming on the ground.
Keegan Reifschneider had the other two scores; one on a interception return and the other a touchdown catch.
How bout some keys to a win according to Coach Benson.
In the other quarterfinal games you’ve got top seed Skutt hosting Blair, McCook gets a home game against Waverly, and then it’s the defending state champion York Dukes at home against Seward.
A Scottsbluff win coupled with a York win would mean a home in the semifinals against the Dukes next week for Scottsbluff. If the Bearcats win and Seward wins then it’ll be a road game to play the Blue Jays.
Coverage for tonight will start at 5:30 on KNEB.tv, ALLO channel 15, Mobius channel 1500, 101.7 The Trail, and kneb.com. Hear from both head coaches ahead of kickoff at 6 p.m.
Hyannis at Minatare…coverage on KNEB AM 960, 100.3 FM, and kneb.com with Jeff Kelley starts this afternoon at 1:15 with kickoff at 1:30.
The winner of that game would play either top seed Hay Springs or Spalding Academy next week in the six-man semifinals.
Hyannis and Minatare have a combined two losses on the season; both against Hay Springs. Minatare fell to Hay Springs 39-0 while the Longhorns lost 43-32.
Minatare coming off a 81-20 win over Walthill last week.