AURORA, Neb. — A happy homecoming for Aurora seemed doubtful Friday night when Sidney took a 12-0 lead late in the first half on the Huskies' fourth turnover.
Class B's No. 2 team got it turned around, tying the game by halftime and exploding for four touchdowns in 7 ½ minutes in the second half for a 39-12 victory in the matchup of undefeated squads.
The Huskies (4-0) held Sidney's no-huddle, wing-T offense to one first down and 50 yards in the second half.
“I thought our defense played really well all night,'' Aurora coach Randy Huebert said. “We were putting them in bad situations a lot in the first half.”
Eli Bricker scored four touchdowns for Aurora, three on short runs and one on a 28-yard pass play from Luke Standage.
Brock Reichardt led the Huskies with 120 yards rushing and caught the go-ahead touchdown pass, a 30-yarder from Standage midway through the third quarter.
Standage, who lost two fumbles and threw two interceptions in the game's first 20 minutes, scored Aurora's first touchdown on a 17-yard run and was 7 of 14 for 160 yards passing.
“We just didn't play fast,” Sidney coach Todd Ekart said. “We got slower and slower and slower and started hanging our heads.”
His Raiders (3-1) had won their first three games, a first for the school since 1994.
They took a 6-0 lead on their second possession of the game. Chance Anglin went around left end for a 25-yard touchdown to end a 41-yard drive after Jake Heeren recovered Standage's first fumble.
Midway through the second quarter, after a drive ended on downs at the Aurora 7, Logan Lewis intercepted Standage at the 8 and returned it for a touchdown and a 12-0 lead.
Aurora then went 80 yards in six plays, aided early in the drive by a personal foul on the Raiders, to make it 12-6 on Standage's 17-yard run with 2:14 left in the half.
Micah Pohlmann got the ball back with 1:10 left on an interception and runback to the Aurora 46. Standage found Tobey Huebert open for a 33-yard gain, Reichardt rumbled 21 yards to the 1 and Bricker scored on the next play for a 12-12 tie with 41.9 seconds left in the half.
Coach Huebert said the Pohlmann interception was the game-changer.
“Four turnovers. That was just ugly football,'' he said. “To get it tied up was big.
“We made some adjustments defensively second half and started making some plays. That's a good team we played.”
After Reichardt's touchdown, Sidney lost fumbles on its next two possessions to set up Aurora for short-field scores.
Bricker's touchdown reception from Standage, who was crowned homecoming king at halftime, made it 25-12 with 3:51 left in the quarter. Bricker then covered the 35 yards following a fumble recovery by Jory Burson with runs of 27 and 8 yards, boosting the Huskies' lead to 20.
He ended the scoring with 10:43 left in the game by completing a 32-yard drive after a shanked punt.
Ekart said Sidney, which plays McCook next week, must learn from the loss.
“It's about preparation and I guess I didn't prepare them well enough,'' he said. “At halftime we said, 'Hey, it's a tie game and all we have to do is win this half.'
“But (Aurora's) adjustments worked and ours didn't.”
Sidney (3-1) ................................. 6 6 0 0—12
At Aurora (4-0) ............................ 0 12 20 7—39
S: Chance Anglin 25 run (run failed)
S: Logan Lewis 8 interception return (pass failed)
A: Luke Standage 17 run (run failed)
A: Eli Bricker 1 run (PAT failed)
A: Brock Reichardt 30 pass from Luke Standage (pass failed)
A: Bricker 28 pass from Standage (Reichardt kick)
A: Bricker 8 run (Reichardt kick)
A: Bricker 2 run (Reichardt kick)
Att.: 1,500 (est.)
RUSHING: S, Lewis 27-117, Anglin 14-74, Lane Harvey 5-19, Michael Deaver 5-43, Peyton Hill 1-1. A, Reichardt 18-120, Bricker 12-66, Standage 12-34, Jared Sullivan 4-16, Micah Pohlmann 2-1, Jake Kittle 4-33.
PASSING: S, Harvey 2-7-2 21. A, Standage 7-14-2 160
RECEIVING: S, Anglin 1-5, Lucas Rosenbaum 1-16. A, Bricker 3-49, Reichardt 1-30, Tobey Huebert 2-65.