YODER – Southeast was unable to stop Pine Bluffs offense in Friday’s loss 52-19.
Before the game, a moment of silence was held for Crockett Herring who was a former assistant coach for the Southeast football team and senior Cord Herring’s uncle.
The Cyclones shutdown Pine Bluffs first drive of the game at their own 46-yard line, but quickly went three and out.
By their second drive the Hornets showed why they are one of the top offensive teams in the state with a 72-yard drive down the field led by junior quarterback Stuart Lerwick. The march to the end zone ended with an 11-yard run by junior running back Dalton Schaefer.
Pine Bluffs dominated on both sides of the field just as they had done in their first three games of the season. Southeast’s running game was stifled for the second drive in a row leading to a punt from their own nine. Schaefer returned it 30 yards to set up a touchdown run from Lerwick and extend the lead to 14-0.
Cyclones head coach Mark Bullington said they knew Pine Bluffs would be tough on both sides of the ball.
“We had [Pine Bluffs] picked as the number one team months ago,” Bullington said. “They can hurt you all over the place.”
Southeast closed out the quarter by finding some success on the ground to pick up a couple first downs. Senior quarterback Grant Logsdon started the second quarter with an 8-yard run and then pushed into enemy territory with a short pass to junior Austin Short. Logsdon found fellow senior Jakob Kramer for 32 yards to get the Cyclones in the redzone. The pass accounted for more than half of Logsdon’s passing yards at 63 as he completed six out of 13 attempts.
“We just got to be able to throw the ball and we can’t right now,” Bullington said
The Cyclones turned back to the run game as Cord Herring punctuated the drive by bulldozing through the defensive line for a one-yard touchdown.
Both teams went on to commit rare penalties including a roughing the setter by Pine Bluffs on the extra point which was followed by a pooch kick attempt resulting in offensive kick-catching interference. Southeast grabbed the ball in the air which put the Hornets on their own 47-yard line.
Lerwick continued to punish the Cyclone defense in the air with a 36-yard touchdown pass to junior wide receiver Ryan Fornstrom to get back to a two-possession lead.
While Southeast was unable to score for the rest of the half, the defense made a few crucial stops including a turnover on downs on their own 11.
Coach Bullington said his defense played well after getting into an early deficit.
“We battled… we just couldn’t get out of the hole,” Bullington said.
Pine Bluffs lead ballooned to 31-7, however, thanks to a 33-yard field goal and a touchdown pass from Schaefer to senior tight end Ty Sweeter. All of which came in the last two minutes of the half.
Southeast came into the third quarter with some new energy as senior running back Ryan Clapper busted through Pine Bluffs’ defense on the first offensive play for 81 yards to the end zone. It was the first of several plays for Clapper in the half.
“[Clapper is] a workhorse and I told him ‘You are going to get a lot of carries tonight’ and he did,” Bullington said.
After a three-and-out for the Hornets, Clapper got the ball on eight of the ten plays on the ensuing drive including a 24-yard touchdown run. Clapper ended the night with 215 yards on 29 carries. Bullington attributed some of the running back’s success to the improved blocking from the offensive line this week.
“We were just finally coming off the ball and getting into people instead of catching,” Bullington said.
Southeast failed to convert the two-point play and kept the score at 31-19.
Schaefer immediately stole the spotlight on the next play as he went untouched to the left along his team’s sideline for an 82-yard kick return touchdown.
The Cyclones started the next possession on their own 23-yard line and relied on Herring and Clapper to move the ball up to the enemy 8. The drive went well into the fourth quarter until Logsdon was picked by junior Collin Jessen in the endzone and brought all the way to the Cyclone two-yard line. The play was brought back to Southeast’s 49 due to a block in the back by Pine Bluffs. The penalty didn’t seem to affect the Hornets as they were able to get back in the end zone in just three plays which ended with a 16-yard run from junior Sean Rhoads.
Pine Bluffs final touchdown came with 1:28 left in the game as Rhoads cut to the middle of the field for 66 yards and another six points. The extra point gave the Hornets a 52-19 lead and Southeast kneeled out the clock to end the game.
The Cyclones drop to 1-3 on the season while Pine Bluffs remains undefeated at 4-0. The Hornets scored 50 or more points for the second week in a row but allowed double-digit points for the first time this year.
Southeast travels to Moorcroft (0-4) on Friday, Oct. 1 at 6 p.m.