Running game keys Tigers’ opening night grid win

Tekamah-Herman senior Luke Wakehouse ran for 184 yards and three touchdowns to pace the Tigers’ 42-12 win over Ponca Friday night.

A strong running game and a solid defense gave Tekamah-Herman’s football team something it hadn’t seen in awhile. Namely, a decisive win on the first night of the season.

Four touchdowns on their first four possessions carried the Tigers to a 42-12 win at Ponca Aug. 31. It marked the best opening night for the Tigers since 2013, when they bounced Wakefield 45-14. 2013 also was the last year the Tigers made the state playoffs

Luke Wakehouse led the Tiger attack, running for 182 yards and three touchdowns in the first half. His third score, a 57-yard blast through several would-be defenders, had the Tigers up 24-6 with 4:01 left in the half.

The long run also broke open what had been a close contest.

The Tigers marched 66 yards in nine plays with the game’s first possession, staking out an 8-0 lead.

Ponca answered with a 14-play drive that stalled out at the Tiger 8-yard line.

Coach Graig McElmuray’s squad took over at their own nine and marched 91 yards for another score, overcoming two holding penalties in the process.

He said the drive was an example of how this team is different. A year ago, a major mistake would have ended a series for the Tigers.

“We’ve been preaching attitude for a year—in every sport,” McElmuray said. “It’s paying off. Good things are happening and kids want to be a part of it.”

For the night, the T-H ground attack rolled up 416 yards. Wakehouse rushed for a career high 184 yards. Quarterback Clay Beaumont was close behind with 140 yards and a touchdown on 13 carries.

The Tiger running game was able to controlled the ball and the clock, and it showed a quick strike ability behind a front line line that had only one returning starter.

McElmuray said a look at the game film would show how well his young line performed, but at first blush they acquitted themselves well.

“We’re not asking them to be road graders,” he said. “We got guys covered up and that helped us get some things done.”

He also had praise for senior lineman Gabe Garcia’s leadership despite limited playing time.

“He’d been sick the last couple of days but he said there was no way he wasn’t playing,” McElmuray said. “He gave us what he could give and that says a lot.”

About the only thing that didn’t go well for the Tigers was the passing game. Beaumont was only 3-for-9 for 20 yards and gave up an interception on a desperation heave at the end of the first half.

“We’re good at passing, we’ve got receivers who can really go,” McElmuray said. “When we get this thing figured out, we’re going to be dangerous. It’s going to be fun.”

The defense also had a good outing, holding Ponca’s explosive attack to 186 total yards.

The Tigers held the Indians on downs inside the 10 on their first possession. Although Ponca scored a touchdown midway through the second quarter, the Tigers didn’t allow their hosts inside the T-H 25 again until late in the fourth quarter.

Kody Bitter was credited with five solo tackles and seven assists to top the defensive chart. Cole Bottger was in on 10 total tackles while Garrison Potadle was credited with seven stops.

Tekamah-Herman opens its home slate Friday, hosting Stanton. The Mustangs opened 2019 with a 19-12 loss to David City last Friday night.

The Scoreboard

Tekamah-Herman................. 8 22 6 6— 42

Ponca..................................... 0 6 0 6— 12

First Quarter

T-H—Wakehouse, 2-yd. run (Beaumont run) 8:24

Second Quarter

T-H—Wakehouse, 17-yd. run (Beaumont run) 7:56

P—Kneifl, 1-yd. run (run failed) 5:03

T-H—Wakehouse, 57-yard run (Wakehouse run) 4:01

T-H—Beaumont, 25-yard run (pass failed) 0:24

Third Quarter

T-H—Freidel, 11-yard run (run failed) 5:22

Fourth Quarter

T-H—Heaney, 5-yard run (pass failed) 5:44

P—Masin, 4-yd. pass from Kneifl (pass failed) 1:39

Team Statistics

T-H Ponca

First downs............................ 21 10

Rushes-yards.................... 48-416 36-149

Avg. per rush...................... 8.66 4.13

Pass comp.-att.-int.............. 3-9-1 7-12-0

Passing yards........................ 20 37

Total yards........................... 436 186

Return yards......................... 32 162

Punts-avg........................... 0-00.0 3-34.3

Fumbles-lost......................... 1-0 2-1

Penalties-yards 6-60 7-58

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