NORTH PLATTE — In a renewal of a matchup that was last played in 2003, the Scottsbluff football team went on the road and recorded an impressive 41-20 win over Class A North Platte on Friday night in both schools’ season opener.
The victory was the seventh straight to start a season by the Bearcats, who are ranked No. 4 in Class B by the Omaha World-Herald.
“The guys came out and played hard and played well,” Scottsbluff head coach Joe Benson said. “That was the best opening game I can remember. It’s been a long time since we’ve played like that the first game. Coach [Jud] Hall and Coach [Jake] McLain both had good plans and the kids followed through with them.”
Scottsbluff set the tone right away. After forcing North Platte into a three-and-out, the explosive Bearcat offense needed just one play to get on the scoreboard for the first time. Quarterback Sabastian Harsh hooked up with Keegan Reifschneider with a 60-yard touchdown pass. Caleb Walker’s point-after kick gave the Bearcats a quick 7-0 lead.
“That was huge,” Benson said of the fast start. “It set the tone for the rest of the game. Our kids were ready to go.”
North Platte had a quick answer to even things up at 7-7 to end the opening quarter. The Bulldogs managed to surprise the Bearcats with a couple of long-yardage plays on the scoring drive.
Scottsbluff then turned to its patented ground game to grab back control of things. Chris Busby capped a lengthy drive with a 3-yard touchdown run to put the Bearcats back in front for good.
Busby followed that up with a 48-yard scramper to paydirt on Scottsbluff’s next offensive possession. Walker’s kick extended the lead to 21-7.
The Bearcats tacked on their third touchdown of the second quarter when Jacob Krul busted loose from 11-yards out to give Scottsbluff a comfortable halftime lead of 28-7.
Following a scoreless third quarter, Scottsbluff added two more scores early in the fourth. Harsh rushed in from 9-yards out on a keeper and then Jasiya DeOllos powered his way across the goal line from 8-yards out to give Scottsbluff a 41-7 lead with just under 11 minutes to play.
“It was very impressive,” Benson said of the Bearcats’ performance. “I really didn’t think our kids were going to play that well, so we accomplished probably more than I thought.”
Scottsbluff racked up 435 yards of total offense in the game, including 285 on the ground. Busby led the way with 145 yards on 15 carries. Harsh added 34 yards on eight carries and Krul had five carries for 35 yards.
Harsh completed four of his eight passes for 145 yards. Three of those went to Reifschneider, who led the Bearcats with 130 receiving yards. Harsh and Reifschneider also combined for a 61-yard completion.
Scottsbluff will be in action at Bearcat Stadium for the first time this season next week when Hastings comes to town. Hastings dropped a 41-0 setback to McCook on Friday.
Scottsbluff (1-0) 7 21 0 13 — 41
North Platte (0-1) 7 0 0 13 — 20
S — Keegan Reifschneider 60 pass from Sabastian Harsh (Caleb Walker kick)
NP — Nick Bocott 3 run (Nick Borges kick)
S — Chris Busby 3 run (Walker kick)
S — Busby 48 run (Walker kick)
S — Jacob Krul 11 run (Walker kick)
S — Harsh 9 run (Kick failed)
S — Jasiya DeOllos 8 run (Jakob Huck kick)
NP — Cody Wright 19 run
NP — North Platte 4 run