BROKEN BOW — Broken Bow could put together a list of big plays, on offense and defense, that decided Thursday night’s Class C-1 playoff game with Gibbon.
The Buffs could not.
A goal-line stand and two big-play touchdown passes gave the Indians a 14-10 victory at Mark Russell Field in Broken Bow.
“We just didn’t make the plays when we needed to,” Gibbon coach Mark McLaughlin said. “We had a pick-six we dropped. … We didn’t score on first-and-goal from the 2. We gave up a couple big pass plays, had a couple times where we didn’t stop them on fourth down and they got a first down to keep the drive moving.
“You add all those things up …and the bottom line is we had chances to win the game and we didn’t.”
Gibbon’s game started with a swift march down the field, then a stalled engine as Broken Bow’s defense dug in for a goal-line stand.
“That’s huge … for both teams, really,” Broken Bow coach Mike Garner said. “For us, because they were getting gobs of yards on each play, that was huge for us.
“And it’s huge for them getting stopped. You think, ‘Gosh, we marched all the way down there, then what changed?” You kind of maybe get a little question in your mind.”
Broken Bow didn’t move the ball and was forced to punt, giving the Buffs a short field that they turned into a 30-yard field goal by Hector Reyes.
But it wasn’t the touchdown that reflected the way Gibbon dominated the first quarter.
Gibbon tailback Eli Van Matre was well on his way to a 100-yard game while Broken Bow had trouble getting positive yards.
The Indians’ only offensive contribution in the first half came on a 31-yard touchdown pass from Marcus Miller to Hunter Campbell.
“We were playing man-to-man defense and committing guys to stopping the run and that’s the risk you take,” McLaughlin said. “What do you want to give up, the pass or the run? Broken Bow runs, so we made them beat us with something else.”
Broken Bow got a little bit of a spark after halftime with some option plays that opened holes for Miller, running backs Zac Jones Grayson Minnick and Jeremy Christner, who replaced the injured Nate Evans in the second quarter. They combined for approximately 150 yards in the second half.
“We started running a lot more out of the wishbone and went a lot more to our power stuff,” Garner said.
And a tweak in the blocking up front “widening out the hole and gave us a place to run.”
With five minutes left in the game, the Indians trailed Gibbon 10-7, but put together a march down the field that the Buffaloes rose to stop with their own goal-line stand.
But that’s where Gibbon’s highlight film ended.
A bobbled snap resulted in a safety and, after the free kick, Miller found Campbell for another touchdown pass of 45 yards.
Gibbon fumbled the ball on its next two plays from scrimmage, and even though the Buffaloes recovered, their drive quickly stalled.
It wasn’t until Broken Bow missed a field goal attempt with 41 seconds left that Gibbon came back to life, taking the ball from its own 20 to the Broken Bow 15 before the game ended with an incomplete pass near the end zone.
“We were better than them and I don’t mean to disrespect them. The better team doesn’t always win,” McLaughlin said.
GIBBON ............ 3 0 7 0—10
BROKEN BOW .............. 0 6 0 8—14
GIBBON — Hector Reyes 30 FG
BROKEN BOW — Hunter Campbell 31 pass from Marcus Miller (kick failed)
GIBBON — Garreth Stroh 3 run (Reyes kick)
BROKEN BOW — Team safety
BROKEN BOW — Campbell 45 pass from Miller (kick failed)
RUSHING — GHS: Eli Van Matre 25-114, Garreth Stroh 16-33, Luke Schuster 3-10. BBHS: Zac Jones 13-45, Jeremy Christner 7-40, Marcus Miller 9-35, Grayson Minnick 10-33, Nate Evans 5-10, Hunter Campbell 1-10.
PASSING — GHS: Garreth stroh 6-11-2, 66 yds. Team 0-1-0, 0 yds. BBHS: Marcus Miller 5-12-0, 93 yds.
RECEIVING — GHS: Eli Van Matre 2-24, Nicolas Follmer 2-22, Luke Schuster 2-20. BBHS: Hunter Campbell 3-85, Grayson Minnick 1-4, Jordan Lembrugh 1-4.