WINSIDE – A pair of undefeated Class D2 northeast Nebraska football teams took on one another during a Thursday night showdown.
It was Winside’s homecoming game as the Wildcats entertained the Pender Pendragons.
After holding to a one-point halftime lead of 21-20, Pender outscored Winside 19-6 in the final two quarters to improve to 3-0 thanks to a 40-26 road victory. The Wildcats fell to 2-1.
Following a turnover on downs from Winside in Pender territory, senior Tyler Carlson recovered a fumble one play later to get the ball back at the 23-yard line of Pender. Winside’s senior Gabe Escalante then ran the ball in from 12-yards out (2 pt. try failed) to lead 6-0 with 4:24 left in the first quarter.
Pender then used a solid kickoff return from senior Caleb Trimble on the ensuing possession which led to a 13-yard passing touchdown from junior Braxton Volk to senior Chase Hofmeister. After junior Quinton Heineman converted the PAT, Pender led 7-6 with 3:36 left in the opening quarter.
Winside scored on their very next possession, which was kept alive by Gabe Escalante as the punter running for a first, thanks to a passing touchdown of 32 yards when junior Dax Behmer connected junior Dean Kruger. Senior Art Escalante converted the two-point try to lead 14-7 with under 40 seconds left in the first quarter.
After a Pender punt, Trimble recovered a fumble for the Pendragons which sat up a one-yard rushing touchdown from Volk (Heineman PAT good) to knot the game up at 14-14 with 9:24 to play in the half.
Winside used one of their longest drives of the night and drained the clock down to 1:08 when Dax Behmer found Gabe Escalante on a 10-yard shovel pass. The two-point conversion was stopped which favored Winside over Pender, 20-14.
Following a roughing the punter penalty against Winside, Pender set up shop just across midfield for the final score of the half as Volk hooked up with Heineman from 37-yards out. Heineman also made the PAT to give Pender the first half lead of 21-20.
Second half scoring came at a premium, but it was Trimble who was called upon on 17-yard (10:38) and 19-yard (under a minute) scores in the third quarter. Heineman made one PAT, Pender failed one two-point conversion to lead 34-20 entering the fourth.
In the third, Heineman recovered a fumble for Pender but Art Escalante got the ball right back for Winside as Winside had to punt twice and the Pendragons once.
Fourth quarter scoring gave Winside a chance as Gabe Escalante carried the ball in from 19-yards with 9:44 left in the game (2 pt. failed) as Pender led 34-26.
The Pendragons then milked the clock down to under three minutes when sophomore Brody Krusemark scored on a 15-yard touchdown (PAT no good) which stood as the final of 40-26 in favor of Pender.
1st 2nd Half 3rd 4th Final:
7 14 21 13 6 40 – Pender
14 6 20 0 6 26 – Winside
Winside will next visit Osmond on Friday, September 17 while Pender will host Bloomfield also on Friday.
AREA FOOTBALL GAMES:
Thursday area games:
Lutheran High Northeast defeats Guardian Angels Central Catholic, 22-20.
Friday area games:
@ Allen: Bloomfield VS Allen
@ Randolph: Emerson-Hubbard VS Randolph
@ Hartington-Newcastle: West Holt VS Hartington-Newcastle
@ Tekamah-Herman: Hartington Cedar Catholic VS Tekamah-Herman
@ Norfolk: Lincoln East VS Norfolk
@ Ord: Norfolk Catholic VS Ord
@ North Bend Central: Pierce VS North Bend Central
@ West Point-Beemer: Battle Creek VS West Point-Beemer
@ Wisner-Pilger: Elkhorn Valley VS Wisner-Pilger
@ Yutan: Ponca VS Yutan
@ Stanton: Wakefield VS Stanton
@ Columbus Lakeview: Wayne VS Columbus Lakeview – Big Red Country ‘KTCH’ 104.9 and waynedaiynews.com; pregame at 6:40 p.m.