’Horns give up three 1st quarter touchdowns
By Russ Pankonin
The Imperial Republican
The Longhorn football team put themselves in a hole they could never dig out of Friday night against Cozad.
The ’Horns gave up two touchdowns in the first four minutes and three in all before the first quarter ended, leading to a 20-32 loss to the Haymakers.
It all started when Cozad speedster Jake Paulsen went untouched as he ran back the opening kickoff 90 yards.
An interception on the Longhorn’s next possession set up Cozad’s next score. Paulsen ripped off another 26 yards for the touchdown with 8:20 left in the first quarter.
The Longhorns put together a five-minute drive that ended with a missed field goal from 39 yards out.
Then, Paulsen struck again on the very next play, blowing by the Longhorn defense for a 79 yard score. That gave Cozad an 18-0 lead with 2:17 left in the first quarter.
Coach Dan Lenners gave Paulsen his due, noting he is a good player.
However, he said his kids should have never gotten themselves into an 18-point hole.
It’s all about tackling, he said. “We just didn’t tackle.”
Tackling, or more specifically the lack of it, has cost the team two games in a row, Lenners noted.
“We can’t win games giving up 27 and 32 points,” he said.
So guess what Lenners planned to foucs on in practice this week—tackling-tackling-tackling.
Despite back-to-back losses to Chadron and Cozad, Lenners has every confidence his team will get it turned back around.
The Longhorns return home for homecoming this week after playing three of its first four games on the road.
The Longhorns will look to their home setting and homecoming hype to hand Mitchell, 1-3, their fourth loss.
Despite Mitchell’s record, Lenners said the Longhorns will still have their hands full.
He said their backs are shifty and run behind a line that’s stacked in foot-to-foot.
They scored 33 in a win against Bridgeport two weeks ago and 24 points Friday in a loss to Kimball so the Longhorns will have to be prepared.
Three stronger quarters
After the Longhorns fell behind 18-0, they forced Cozad to punt away on their next two possessions.
With 6:08 left in the second, the Longhorns mounted a 66-yard drive that brought them their first score with six seconds left in the half.
They converted a pair of third-and-longs to keep the drive alive, mixing the pass and the run.
The Longhorns scored once but a penalty nullified it. Quarterback Kale Gockley came back to hit Jeff Dickey in the end zone for 6 yards to cap off the drive.
David Almanza added the extra point kick to make the score 18-7 at half.
The Longhorns narrowed the margin to just four to open the second half.
On third-and-long, Gockley hit Keving German behind the Haymaker defense for 42 yards.
On the next play, Trey Milner got through the line and cut back across the defense for a 37-yard touchdown run.
An Almanza kick brought the Longhorns within four, 14-18 at the 9:56 mark of the second half.
After trading possessions with the Longhorns, Cozad mounted a 10-play, 64-yard drive. Paulsen capped the drive with an 11-yard score. A two-point conversion reopened a 26-14 lead over the Longhorns.
The Longhorns went three-and-out with Cozad starting on their own 48. They converted a third down to set up their next score, coming on a 38-yard pass to make the score 32-14.
Justin German jumped on a loose ball at the Longhorn 48 to set up their final scoring drive.
The score came on a 21-yard pass from Gockley. The ball was intended for Milner but the ball got batted up in the air. Michael May was in the corner of the end zone too and came down with the ball for the score.
A two-point conversion failed, making the final score 32-20.
For the night, the Longhorns finished with 154 yards on the ground and 92 in the air.
Milner was the leading rusher with 56 yards. German led the receivers with two catches for 48 yards. Gockley threw two touchdowns, going 6-15 for 92 yards.
Friday night’s game here against Mitchell is set for kickoff at 7 p.m. MT.
Stats at a glance
Tackles (solos-assists)—Brian Bell 1-9, Justus Wallin 4-5, Kelton Fisher 3-6, Justin German 0-7, Trey Milner 1-4, Michael May 2-2, Jeff Dickey 1-2, Callin Ledall 1-2, Kale Gockley 0-3, Dan Sullivan 2-0, Isaac Sorensen 1-1, Khris Kuhlmann 0-1, Sam Cahow 0-1, Tyler Oxford 0-1.
Rushing (attempts-yards-TD)—Trey Milner 10-56-1, Justin German 12-41-0, Kale Gockley 8-29-0, Dan Sullivan 11-26-0, Michael May 3-2-0. TEAM: 44-154-1.
Passing (attempts-completions-yards-TD-INT)—Kale Gockley 15-6-92-2-1.
Receiving (completions-yards-TDs)—Kevin German 2-48-0, Michael May 2-36-1, Dan Sullivan 1-13-0, Jeff Dickey 1-6-1.
Cozad: Jake Paulsen 90 yd. kickoff return, extra point failed.
Cozad: 26 yd. TD run by Paulsen, 2 pt. conversion failed.
Cozad: 79 yd. TD run by Paulsen, 2 pt. conversion failed.
CCS: 6 yd. TD pass from Kale Gockley to Jeff Dickey, kick by David Almanza good.
CCS: 37 yd. TD run by Trey Milner, kick by Almanza good.
Cozad: 11 yd. TD run by Paulsen, 2 pt. conversion good.
Cozad: 38 yd. TD pass from Nate Bubak to Ty Werner, 2 pt. conversion failed.
CCS: 21 yd. TD pass from Gockley to Michael May, 2 pt. conversion failed.
CCS 0 7 7 6—20
Cozad 18 0 8 6—32