YORK, Neb. — For a team that was without its senior running back and outside linebacker, as well as its starting quarterback, York was able to hang with Class B No. 4 Grand Island Northwest for three quarters Friday night.
But the Vikings’ talented skill players were ultimately too much to hold down for four quarters as senior quarterback Rans Sanders threw three touchdowns and rushed for another to lead Northwest (6-1) to a 28-7 win.
Things couldn’t have started better for the Dukes (2-5). Junior Wyatt Collingham returned the opening kickoff 92 yards for a touchdown. Collingham has been a spark for York this season, scoring touchdowns on offense, defense and special teams.
Though York’s special teams produced, its offense continued to struggle, especially without starting quarterback Ty Bartholomew, who was injured in last week’s loss in Hastings.
The York offense never found the end zone and unofficially gained 140 yards, rushing for 96.
The Dukes gave the Northwest defense a steady dose of run plays and snapped the ball late in the play clock to keep Sanders and the Vikings off the field as much as possible.
“We tried to slow things down. Our offense is as basic as it’s ever been in a long time,” York coach Glen Snodgrass said. “We hoped we could move the ball on the ground, which we could, but it kind of stalled out at the end in the fourth quarter.”
Northwest’s offense, however, scored one touchdown in every quarter. The Vikings unofficially gained 363 total yards, including 197 on the ground.
Sanders managed coach Kevin Stein’s spread offense well, throwing a 15-yard touchdown to Sean Juengst with two minutes left in the first quarter. Sanders then found Tyler Hageman on a short throw that morphed into a 14-yard score that put the Vikings on top 14-7 just before halftime.
In the third quarter, Sanders, set in the shotgun, took a quarterback dive for a 17-yard rushing touchdown, dodging Dukes along the way. Seconds into in the fourth, Sanders tossed a 15-yard score to Riley Anderson in the back of the end zone that put the game out of reach.
“We fought really hard. We played smarter — we still had some penalties that ended some drives — but overall we definitely played smarter and I feel a lot better this week than I did a week ago,” Snodgrass said. “That’s the No. 4 team in the state, and they pushed Scottsbluff right to the brink. That’s a good team in Grand Island Northwest.”
GI Northwest (6-1)....7 7 7 7—28
At York (2-5).............7 0 0 0— 7
Y: Wyatt Collingham 92 kickoff return (Thomas Ivey kick)
N: Sean Juengst 15 pass from Rans Sanders (Parker Janky kick)
N: Tyler Hageman 14 pass from Sanders (Janky kick)
N: Sanders 17 run (Janky kick)
N: Riley Anderson 15 pass from Sanders (Janky kick)