KEARNEY — Whether it was by way of offense, defense or special teams, Class C1 No. 7 Kearney Catholic found the end zone early and often in a 50-9 victory over Ogallala at Miles Field Friday night.
The Stars (3-0) took a 42-0 lead into halftime, thanks to a 35-point outburst in the second quarter.
Thomas Connely provided the game’s first highlight, reversing field for a 61-yard scamper down the sideline, later capping off the drive with a seven-yard score to give the Stars a 7-0 first-quarter lead.
After a mishap on a field-goal attempt that turned the ball over to the Indians early in the second quarter, Kearney Catholic’s Conner Streit picked off Ogal-lala quarterback Dylan Folchert on the 20-yard line and took it to the house.
A short time later KCHS quarterback Abe Clinch hit Connely on a swing pass for a 26-yard score. Alex Liess then forced a fumble on the ensuing kickoff that was recovered by Blake Holtmeier, and Clinch found Bryce James on a 24-yard passing score on the very next play.
After another Ogallala three-and-out, Brett James returned the punt 55 yards for a touchdown to give the Stars a 35-0 lead in the blink of an eye.
“We asked the guys this week to raise the bar up, and they did that tonight,” KCHS coach Dave Colling said. “All in all, a pretty dang good job.”
The Kearney Catholic defense didn’t allow a single first down in the first half, holding Ogallala to 22 yards of total offense through two quarters.
“Defensively we changed some things around, and the boys bought into what we were trying to do by getting some heat on their quarterback,” Colling said. “We did a lot better job of covering the flats and fixed a few other things. De-fensively this was our best game so far.”
For Ogallala, it’s a 0-4 start after an undefeated regular season a year ago.
“We played a really good team and we knew our backs were up against the wall with a young team,” Ogallala coach Jeff McBride said. “I’ve got to hand it to Kearney Catholic, they’re big up front with a lot of skilled kids. Our group responded well after halftime, though.”
Wes Orr got the Indians on the board with a 36-yard touchdown run in the third quarter. A botched punting attempt by Kearney Catholic caused a safety a short time later.
Because of the 35-point rule, the entire second half was under the running clock rules.
Connely finished with 136 yards rushing — 96 of those yards coming in the first quarter. Clinch completed 6 of 7 passes for 150 yards and two scores, also rushing for Kearney Catholic’s only touchdown in the second half.
Plenty of KCHS reserves saw action in the victory as well, getting the ap-proval of Colling with a defensive stand in the fourth quarter.
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Kearney Catholic 50, Ogallala 9
Score by Quarters
OGALLALA (0-4).....................0 0 9 0 — 9
KCHS (3-0).....................7 35 8 0 — 50
KCHS — Thomas Connely 7 run (Grant Buschkoetter kick)
KCHS — Conner Streit 20 interception return (Buschkoetter kick)
KCHS — Connely 26 pass from Abe Clinch (Buschkoetter kick)
KCHS — Bryce James 24 pass from Clinch (Buschkoetter kick)
KCHS — Brett James 55 punt return (Buschkoetter kick)
KCHS — Alex Lowe 3 run (Buschkoetter kick)
KCHS — Clinch 4 run (Streit pass from John Masker)
OGALLALA — Wes Orr 36 run (Jose Garcia kick)
OGALLALA — Team safety
First Downs 15 5
Rushes-Yards 36-209 27-88
Passes Comp.-Att.-Int. 6-8-0 3-10-1
Passing Yards 150 14
Total Yards 359 102
RUSHING — KC: Thomas Connely 10-136, Alex Lowe 8-43, Garrison Lowe 5-11, Abe Clinch 5-10, Bryce James 3-30, Nathan Howe 2-15, Derek Jackson 2-2, Harrison Pearse 1-2. OG: Wes Orr 9-52, Dylan Folchert 7-13, Brody Cleveland 5-16, Jon Hood 3-4, Brittan Hoppens 2-(minus 1), Elkanah Riley 1-4.
PASSING — KC: Abe Clinch 6-7-0. OG: Dylan Folchert 2-8-1, Brittan Hoppens 1-2-0.
RECEVING — KC: Bryce James 2-40, Conner Streit 1-41, Thomas Connely 1-26, Brian Husmann 1-23, Jack Graham 1-20. OG: Will Parker 1-9, Dalton Jarosz 1-3, Wes Orr 1-2.