For the second year in a row the game between Kearney and Papillion LaVista was a nail-biter. Last season, the Monarchs beat the Bearcats 26-23 in double-overtime at Foster Field but this year the Bearcats snuck by Papillion in their home stadium. Led by their defense in the second-half, Kearney improves to 6-1 on the season.
On paper it seemed like Kearney should steamroll Papillion with the Monarchs coming in with a record of 1-5 and Kearney being 5-1.
“Papio’s record does not indicate how good of a football team they are,” said Kearney head coach Brandon Cool.
To say the least, the Bearcats started out slow Friday night as they were only able to put three points on the board in the first half.
“We only had six plays in the first quarter so we never got in sync in the first half,” said Cool after the game.
Papillion scored all 14 of their points in the first half; one by a 1-yard rush by Jerome Barnes and one on a 70-yard touchdown reception by KJ Cotton.
However, the Bearcats came firing out in the second half putting together a nine-play, 84-yard drive capped off by a 10-yard touchdown pass from junior Kanon Koster to senior Noah Urbanek.
Then, with 6:15 left in the fourth quarter, Kearney scored on an 8-yard touchdown reception by senior Brock Marlatt to take a 17-14 lead. The Bearcats were able to hold on and secure their sixth victory of the year.
“Coming back on the bus and playing against a good Papillion team, I thought that was going to be a huge transition into our season. So things definitely worked out our way,” Cool said.
The Bearcats finish their Metro road trip as they take on Creighton Prep in Omaha on Friday, Oct. 14. Then Kearney returns home for Senior Night on Oct. 21, to face the Omaha Benson Bunnies.