GERING, Neb. – Five turnovers by the Torrington High School football team was the Blazers undoing in the 2022 season opener against the Gering Bulldogs.
The Bulldogs capitalized on the Blazer mistakes, resulting in 18 of Gering’s 46 points, handing the visitors a 46-19 loss at Gering’s Memorial Stadium.
“We really shot ourselves in the foot by having five turnovers and eight penalties, and we didn’t put our best foot forward. There are things to clean up there and move on,” THS coach Russell Stienmetz said. “There were a lot of new faces handling the ball for us, but hand it to Gering, they played a very physical game and were ready for us.”
Torrington’s first pass of the season was picked of less than 40 seconds into the game. It was the first of two interceptions throw by junior quarterback Bryce Hager.
Gering converted the first turnover into three points only four minutes into the opening quarter.
The Bulldogs added one more score late in the first quarter coming off a Blazer punt.
On the ensuing kickoff, Torrington fumbled the kick, giving the home team a short field heading into the second quarter.
It took only one play and three seconds for Gering to punch the ball into the endzone to begin the new quarter.
It was the start of a high-scoring quarter. Both teams combined for 35 points in the frame.
Torrington answered with their first score of the season on the next drive. Hager connected with senior receiver Brendan Flock for a 73-yard touchdown pass.
“Brendan ran a great route on the outside, and Hager found him for the great ball,” Stienmetz said. “Flock is one of the fastest kids in the state. When we can get him the ball in the open field, it’s going to be tough for teams to catch up to him and tackle him.”
The score cut the Bulldog lead to 16-7.
After the Torrington defense held Gering to a quick 3-and-out possession, the Blazers coughed up the football for the second time, and this time the Bulldogs took advantage with their third touchdown of the game.
THS countered with its second score of the quarter with 4:09 left in the game when Dylan Packard powered his way to a 15-yard score.
Packard added a second rushing touchdown of the game with 3:45 left in the third. It also proved to be the final score of the game for Torrington.
“We moved Dylan from the line to a back this year. He toted the rock well for us,” Stienmetz said. “Very strong, physical kid who was in the weight room religiously over the summer. It really shows when he runs behind his pads, puts his head down and gets those extra yards. I’m excited for him for this season.
Gering added its final score of the game early in the fourth quarter.
Torrington (0-1) hosts Mitchell, Nebraska (1-0) at Wiseman Field.
“Very assignment sharp team that is going to be physical, very much like Gering,” Stienmetz said. “We are going to have to clean up our missed assignment and be assignment sharp because they are going to. They also have pretty good speed on the outside with their QB and their running back. It’ll be a tough battle.”
Kickoff is slated for 7 p.m.