LEXINGTON — A number of different names might make up this year’s Scottsbluff football team, but the end result remained the same as the Bearcats opened their season with a 15-7 victory on Friday night in Lexington.
It marked Scottsbluff’s 15th straight regular-season win dating back to 2011.
“To go on the road and get a win with a younger team that doesn’t have a lot of varsity starts, it was a good way to start the season for our program,” Scottsbluff assistant coach Judd Hall said. “We continued to get better throughout the game.”
With the temperature in the mid 90s at kickoff, the Bearcats managed to handle the elements much better than the Minutemen and it paid off down the stretch.
“Our ability as a team to start 21 different guys really was a benefit for us tonight,” Hall said. “We didn’t have any kids cramp up and we were a lot fresher than Lexington was in the fourth quarter.”
Scottsbluff lit the scoreboard first midway through the first quarter when Traceten Halley pounced on a fumble in the end zone. Jackson Hinze’s point-after kick gave the Bearcats a 7-0 lead.
The Bearcats’ advantage grew to 9-0 in the second quarter when Scottsbluff forced the Lexington punter to down the ball in the end zone.
Lexington scored its only points later in the frame to pull within 9-7 at halftime.
Scottsbluff held firm control of the contest in the second half. After a scoreless third quarter, Ty Benson scored on a 3-yard run to push the Bearcats’ lead to 15-7.
The play of the Bearcat defense in the second half proved key as the Minutemen struggled to maintain any sort of offensive drive.
“Our kids really responded at halftime to a few adjustments that we made,” Hall said. “They really came out in the second half and played with a higher level of intensity. That really showed in the second half for us.”
Offensively, a brand-new Bearcat backfield accounted for 283 rushing yards on 51 carries. Benson led the way with 170 yards on 26 carries. Halley added 71 yards on 12 carries.
“We were able to get the ball to different kids in different situations, and didn’t have to relay on one kid or one position to get us our yards,” Hall said. “We were able to spread the ball around and get kids some different touches.”
Scottsbluff (1-0) will host McCook in its home opener on Friday at Bearcat Stadium.
Scottsbluff (1-0) ...................... 7 2 0 6 — 15
Lexington (0-1) ........................ 0 7 0 0 — 7
S — Traceten Halley recovered fumble in end zone (Jackson Hinze kick)
S — Lexington punter downed ball in end zone.
S — Ty Benson 3 run (Kick failed)