KEARNEY — Turnovers help the cause and the Kearney High football team looks to keep it that way.
As the Bearcats are still in search of their first road win this season, they head back east to face Millard West on Friday.
The defense continues to be the proven commodity for the Bearcats in the last two weeks. Kearney is coming off a dominating victory over North Platte last week. The defense shut down the Bulldogs’ triple-option. For three consecutive weeks the defense has recorded more than one turnover in each game, which set up scoring drives for the offense.
“I think our defensive coaches did a great job in putting kids in the right spot and our kids did a great job performing at a high level,” Bearcat coach Brandon Cool said. “Anytime you have momentum on your side, it usually benefits us big time.”
Millard West is 1-2 after coming off a 46-7 loss to Millard South last Friday. Just like the Bearcats, the Wildcats have been challenged against tough opponents.
On opening night, Millard West fell to Elkhorn South 35-21 but then bounced back with a 56-32 victory over Millard North. According to Cool, playing at Millard’s Buell Field is one of the toughest places to play out there.
“All three Millard teams play there, and if you’re going to win in the regular season and probably somewhere down the line in the playoffs, you got to be able to win in Buell Field,” Cool said. “For us to take our kids down there, and get a little taste of the Millard West team that has had a difficult schedule just like we have, so our three games are pretty comparable to their three games, so both are going to be equally match.
“You have to win the field position and play assignment football because they like to run the veer and their option-play, you have to tackle extremely well and find a way to run the ball offensively. They took a kickoff return to the house last week so special teams are going to be huge, so everything that we’ve seen is going to come into effect against a well-coached Millard West team.”
Millard West is beefy along the line. Notable players on the team include Tony Failla, who is the 6-foot-2, 250-pound end who has been offered by Southeast Missouri. They are also led by a 6-foot-8, 230-pound North Dakota St. commit Trace Thaden at the tight end and defensive end spots.
“They always have some big kids up front that are physical,” Cool said. “Their defensive ends and tight ends are going to be pretty athletic, so it’s pretty comparable to some of the big lines we’ve seen throughout the past.”
With the win, Kearney would go 3-1 for the first time since 2019. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. at Buell Field.
Then the rematch with Bellevue West sits there for next Friday at home after last year’s historic Bearcat playoff win against the Thunderbirds in the playoffs.