GRAND ISLAND, Neb. — If, as the saying goes, defense wins championships, then Class B third-ranked McCook might be on to something.
The Bison (2-0) have not allowed a point in two games and on Friday at Viking Field, they allowed Grand Island Northwest to cross midfield just three times in a 45-0 win. And they did it without standout quarterback-linebacker Colton Sis.
“We’ve got a good group on defense,” McCook coach Jeff Gross said. “They know if the other team doesn’t score that we can’t lose. They are to the point now where they hate giving up yards. We have played two very different teams in Alliance running power and Northwest running spread.
“I thought we handled both of them pretty well.”
McCook punted on its first possession, but after that controlled the contest against the Vikings, who last week beat Adams Central 34-7.
Trevor Matson scored on an 11-yard run to open the scoring with 2:44 left in the first quarter, and just more than a minute later he added a 77-yard scamper for a 14-0 lead. Matson had 111 of his 147 yards in the first quarter and played little after halftime after getting a cleat to his nose in the third quarter.
“We think Trevor is one of the top backs in Class B, and I think he showed it again tonight,” Gross said. “That long run wasn’t blocked very well, and he just made something out of it.”
After a second consecutive three-and-out by Northwest, McCook used the pass for another quick score and a 21-0, first-quarter lead. Junior Caleb Sheets connected with Kasey Taylor for a 39-yard score just before the end of the quarter.
Viking coach Kevin Stein knew it would take a great effort from his team and just didn’t get it.
“They are really good, so we knew we’d have to play well,” Stein said. “We knew we couldn’t give up the big play to them, and we did early and could just never recover. Their defense just does a great job and we couldn’t get anything going.
“But I was disappointed in our effort and execution early. We didn’t play with any passion in the first half.”
The Bison defense even got in on the scoring act as Bret Baumbach recovered a fumble and returned it 56 yards for a score early in the third quarter for a 31-0 McCook lead. The Vikings could muster just 160 yards on 62 plays from scrimmage, while McCook gained 367 yards. Sheets was 8-for-13 passing for 107 yards and two scores.
Ty Johnson rushed for 47 yards on 19 carries for Northwest.