ALLIANCE – The Alliance football team scored 28 unanswered points for their third victory of the season with a 34-21 win over Gering Friday night in Alliance’s homecoming game.
Alliance’s Keegan Grant scored twice in the 28 straight points to lead the Bulldogs to 3-4 on the season while Gering drops to 1-7.
Gering started the game strong with two touchdowns in the first quarter for a 15-7 Gering lead.
Gering coach Josh Hiatt said his team played strong in the first quarter and then struggled in the middle quarters.
“We started off really well and couldn’t finish really well,” Hiatt said. “The second quarter blew us up. We had scored a touchdown and somehow the refs decided it was a fumble instead of a touchdown.”
It took Gering less than two minutes to score the opening touchdown. After a Riley Schanaman run, Brady Radzymski went over from five yards out. After a 2-point conversion, Gering was up 8-0.
Alliance came back and scored on their first possession as Wade Sanders ran it in from five yards out with four minutes to play to trail 8-7.
Gering wasted little time in scoring again, scoring in less than minute as Anthony Walker hit Kolton Ebbers with an 81-yard pass play that went the distance that put Gering up 15-7.
After that, Alliance went on a 28-0 run over the second, third, and much of the fourth to put the game out of reach.
“It wasn’t a good middle session,” Hiatt said. “Once we calmed down and played well towards the end of the game we did a lot better. We were able to accomplish some things on offense and string some things together. We just have to do a better job through the whole game.”
Alliance took the lead with 3:55 to play in the second quarter as Grant rambled in from four yards out with 3:55 to play in the half. Alliance scored with just 23 seconds left to go up 21-14 at halftime on a Trevor Dubray to Chase King pass play.
The second half was a battle. Alliance scored the only points in the third quarter when Grant scored his second touchdown on a 9-yard run to put the Bulldogs up 28-15 with just over four minutes to play.
The final 15 minutes of the game saw Gering mount a comeback. The Bulldogs were driving and seemed to have a touchdown, but a crucial interception at the 9-yard line turned the ball over. Alliance moved the ball down the field and Mario Garza saved Alliance when he recovered a fumble in the endzone for the score and a 34-15 lead with 4:13 to play.
Hiatt said that interception was a turning point in the game.
“That was a turning point,” he said. “That was a point where that if we could have scored and make sure that we were coming back and finishing the game. They ended up scoring on that drive and put it out of reach for us.”
After Alliance’s score, Gering came right back to make it closer, answering Alliance score with a score of their own just a minute later. Walker and Ebbers connected for their second score of the night. This time, the pass completion would go for 58 yards. Gering trailed 34-21.
Alliance would then run out the clock for the win.
Ebbers had a lot of success in the game for the Bulldogs with over 150 receiving yards. Hiatt said those two long pass plays worked.
“Kolton was able to get loose and we had a good match-up with him at a place he could win a one-on-one battle and he did just that,” he said. “Anthony hit him with a good ball and when you can get Kolton in open spaces, good things happen.”
Gering, 1-6, will look to rebound against McCook at home next Friday, while Alliance travels to Scottsbluff. Hiatt said it will be tough next week but his squad just needs to play four quarters.
“We have to come back with McCook next week who seemed to struggle tonight,” he said. “They got a victory, but they struggled more than we thought they would have. They are going to be a good disciplined squad. They are a team that doesn’t hurt themselves, so we have to find a way not to hurt ourselves as well.
Gering 15 0 0 6 – 21
Alliance 7 24 7 6 – 34
G – Brady Radzymski 5-yard run (2-point good).
A – Wade Sanders (Crayten Cyza kick).
G – Anthony Walker 81-yard pass to Kolton Ebbers (Kaleb Gonzales kick).
A – Keegan Grant 5-yard run (Crayten Cyza kick).
A – Trevor Dubray pass to Chase King (Crayten Cyza kick).
A – Keegan Grant 9-yard run (Crayten Cyza kick).
A – Mario Garza fumble recovery in endzone (kick failed).
G – Anthony Walker 58-yard pass to Kolton Ebbers (2-pt failed).