One of the worst things about losing a game in football is that you usually only get one opportunity to play that team.
You could win every other game you play, but if you lose one game, that loss will sting. Whenever you think of the game, you think about what you could have done differently that would have changed the outcome.
Fortunately for the North Platte Bulldogs, they not only get a chance to play Columbus again after they lost to the Discoverers, 38-28, on Oct. 22, but they only have to wait a week to do so.
“We did not feel that we played our best against them last week and we welcome the opportunity to play them again,” NPHS head coach Todd Rice said.
North Platte (6-3) will play Columbus (7-2) in the first round of the Class A state playoffs at Bauer Field on Oct. 29 at 7 p.m. The Bulldogs will also be at home instead of having to travel 200 miles like they did the week before in the final game of the season. That’s another advantage, especially since the Dawgs developed a strong home-field advantage this year.
“We are really excited to play at home,” Rice said. “We were 4-0 at home this year and really appreciate the great crowds that we have had at home games.”
The Bulldogs have rebounded well coming off losses two previous times. After losing to Kearney on Sept. 10, they throttled Lincoln North Star, 47-9, the next week. North Platte was expected to handle North Star, regardless of how they fared against Kearney. After the Dawgs lost to Omaha Creighton Prep on Oct. 1, they faced a much tougher team, Lincoln East, and they played their best game of the year, winning 41-38.
Rice said his team has had a short memory and they’ve done a good job of staying focused on the task ahead.
“I think our overall confidence has continued to improve each week,” he said. “We really left the Creighton Prep game disappointed in our performance and we realized that we let some early negative plays impact our play in that game. Our guys have since done a great job of staying in position and moving on to the next play as the game progresses.”
Last week’s game at Columbus was a shootout with just about every possession by both teams ending in a touchdown. However, the Bulldogs had three turnovers, and that ended up being the difference.
“Columbus is a good team,” Rice said. “They are 7-2 on the year. They have a D1 athlete (Nebraska recruit Ernest Hausmann) and they just played well.”
NPHS also played without their star middle linebacker and leading tackler Vince Genatone. Having him back will go a long ways toward containing the Discoverers, Rice said.
“Columbus has a really good offensive scheme. They have averaged 35 points a game all season long,” he said. “They were physical up front and they executed well. Hopefully, we will be healthier this week and be more prepared to stop some things that they were doing well.”
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