After beginning the season with a 63-14 loss to Norfolk last week, the North Platte Bulldogs showed much improvement on Friday when they lost 41-14 to Lincoln Pius X at the Dawg House.
"You can't be happy with a 41-14 loss," said NPHS coach Bernie Madison. "We did things a lot better. But there's still a lot of things we need to work on."
Pius (2-0) got the ball to start the game and the Thunderbolts made it to midfield before being forced to punt by the Bulldog defense.
North Platte then got a couple of first downs on its first possession. But on fourth down, quarterback Shane Mauch was stopped short at the Pius 45 yard line.
On the next play, Pius quarterback Zach Petitt was sacked and appeared to fumble the ball, which NPHS recovered. But the fumble was ruled to be an incomplete pass and the Bolts still had possession.
The Dawgs held Pius on the next couple of plays, but Pius converted on third down with a pass from Petitt to tight end Sam Akins for the first down.
That play was what the Thunderbolts needed to spark their offense and it led to the first score with Colton Abendroth scoring a three-yard touchdown with a little over a minute remaining in the first quarter.
The Bulldogs struck back quickly when Mauch had a 70-yard touchdown run on a read option from the shotgun to tie the game at 7-7.
But after that, it was all Pius. It didn't even take two minutes before they regained the lead on a 24-yard touchdown pass from Petitt to Grant McElroy.
It was the first of three unanswered touchdowns the Thunderbolts scored in the second quarter to take command of the game.
In the final seconds of the first half, Pius kicker Nick Pohlen booted a 45-yard field goal through the uprights to make the score 31-7 at the break.
Madison said that the NPHS defense is far from where it needs to be.
"Some of our veterans were making mistakes and you can't do that in Class A football," he said. "Every snap counts."
Pius scored 10 more points in the third quarter with Pohlen making a field goal from 27 and Petitt connecting with Akins for a 15-yard touchdown.
North Platte scored the final touchdown with 1:38 left when sophomore quarterback Cole Joneson hit sophomore running back Ki-Jana Owens for a 16-yard score.
Lincoln Pius X 7 24 10 0 - 41
North Platte 0 7 0 7 - 14
LP-Colton Abendroth 3 run (Nick Pohlen kick), 1:20
NP-Shane Mauch 70 run (Devan Hovden kick), 11:47
LP-Grant McElroy 24 pass from Zach Petitt (Pohlen kick), 10:05
LP-Riley Gerch 16 run (Pohlen kick), 7:22
LP-Zach Cunningham 6 run (Pohlen kick), 2:09
LP-Pohlen 45 field goal, :00
LP-Pohlen 27 field goal, 5:37
LP-Sam Akins 15 pass from Petitt (Pohlen kick), 1:51
NP-Ki-Jana Owens 16 pass from Cole Joneson (Hovden kick), 1:38