Things didn’t go exactly go as planned Friday night as the Bearcats struggled early against the 1-7 Omaha Benson Bunnies. The Bunnies struck first hitting a 24-yard field goal after a Kearney muffed punt. The next drive, Kearney would lose only their third fumble on the year on their third play from scrimmage.
“We had a few misfortunes happen to us in the first half,” said Kearney head coach Brandon Cool after the game.
Then, on the next two drives, junior quarterback Kanon Koster hit seniors Brant Barth and Brock Marlatt to take a 14-3 lead. However, Benson answered back with Javone Malone scoring on a 50-yard touchdown reception.
That’s when everything started to click for the Bearcats as senior Noah Urbanek returned the ensuing kickoff 81 yards for a touchdown to start a rally of 38 unanswered points to end the game. Koster would hit Marlatt again for 14 yards and senior kicker Leo Palomo would hit a 23-yard field goal right before halftime to go up 31-10 into the intermission.
Kearney’s defense would pitch a second-half shutout as the Bearcats got contributions from senior Tanner Ellingson and junior Will Jorgensen both scoring to seal a 52-10 win.
Leading the way for the Bearcats was Koster who went 10-for-14 for 184 yards and 3 touchdown passes. Marlatt caught two passes for 42 yards and two touchdowns while senior Nate Berg led the rushing department as he rushed for 58 yards on seven carries.
With the win, the Bearcats move to 7-2 and have clinched the number eight seed in the NSAA Class A State Playoffs. Kearney’s first round opponent is rival Grand Island who the Bearcats beat in their season opener 26-14. The game will be at Ron and Carol Cope Stadium on Fri., Oct. 28, with kickoff set for 7 p.m.