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The North Bend Eagle


 

A RECORD LOWE

Junior back breaks 43-year old rushing record, leads Tigers to upset win

by Nathan Arneal
Published 10/20/10

Friday night’s football game was a reminder that games are played on the field, not on paper.

On paper, not many people would have given a 1-5 North Bend team much of a chance against 4-2 Fort Calhoun. Once the ball was kicked off, it was hard to guess which team had which record.

DC returns against FCSenior defensive end David Christensen looks upfeild after fielding a short kickoff.

In the first half, North Bend’s offense caught fire, scoring 22 unanswered points.
Leading the charge was junior I-back Same Lowe, who rushed for 255 yards on 27 carries. The transfer from Blair has only been attending NBC for a couple of months, but he’s already carved his name in the record books. His total breaks the previous school record set in 1967 by Greg Kucera by a single yard.

With the game in Fort Calhoun, just a few miles down the road from Blair, Lowe had several friends and family members in the stands to witness his historic night.

“It was exciting,” he said. “It was good to show them I could play football. I was not able to do that (in Blair) because I didn’t play too much, so it was fun to show them what I can do.”

Coach Tony Allgood said Lowe has added a new dimension to the Tiger offense this year.

“Sam gives us something that we’ve been missing and that’s some speed,” Allgood said. “He’s got a great work ethic and he’s a good kid. He had a game that he’s capable of having. I’m real happy for him.”

After Lowe scored the game’s initial touchdown on a seven-yard run, NBC got the ball right back when Fort Calhoun muffed the ensuing kickoff. Shortly thereafter Andrew Minarick hit Braden McCurdy with a scoring strike from 17 yards out.
North Bend kept its foot on the gas pedal, even after Fort Calhoun pinned NBC on its own 13-yard line on the next Tiger possession.

On the first play of the series, Lowe took a handoff and burst up the middle, sprinting untouched for an 87-yard touchdown. He said there wasn’t much to the play other than good blocking and straight-ahead running.

“I had a bunch of holes from my line,” Lowe said. “I was able to read the blocks and get down field.”

While Lowe was getting the job done on the ground, Minarick and McCurdy were making things happen through the air. Minarick completed 5-of-8 passes in the first half, with McCurdy the recipient all five completions.

“Andrew, for a freshman, throws the ball very well,” Allgood said. “Braden has good hands and we were able to hit that curl route. They weren’t picking it up so we just kept going back to it.”

With NBC leading 22-0 late in the second quarter, NBC nearly punched in another score. Lowe broke a 32-yard run down the left sideline and only a diving, shoestring tackle by a Pioneer defender stopped him from reaching the end zone a third time. NBC continued to march to the Fort Calhoun 14-yard line where the drive was ended with an interception in the end zone.

The tide changed dramatically in the second half.

The Pioneers drove all the way to the NBC 1-yard line before a Calhoun running back dropped the ball, seemingly untouched. McCurdy pounced on the loose ball, momentarily preserving the shutout.

The Pioneers would not be denied for long, however, scoring touchdowns on their next two possessions. Meanwhile, the North Bend defense started missing tackles by the bushel and the Tiger offense was held without a first down in the third period.

“I think the kids fought the whole time, but we just got into panic mode a little,” Allgood said. “When you haven’t been in that situation (of holding a lead) a whole lot, sometimes it’s hard to know how to finish.”

With 4:48 left in the game, Fort Calhoun added another touchdown, making the score 22-20. The Pioneers lined up for the tying two-point conversion, but the shotgun snap was low and the quarterback was forced to scramble. He was stopped just short of the goal line, and NBC still clung to a two-point lead.

Expecting an onside kickoff, North Bend had its hands team on the field, but Fort Calhoun kicked it deep. Lowe made them pay for that decision, returning the kickoff 60 yards to the Pioneer 22-yard line.

Calhoun was given one more chance, though, when the Tigers failed to pick up a first down, giving the ball back the Pioneers on the 30-yard line with 2:45 left.
After a sack by David Christensen and two incomplete passes, FC faced 4th-and-22. The shotgun snap went over the quarterback’s head and was downed on the one-yard line.

Moments later, fullback Drew Dolezal punched in a 1-yard touchdown. McCurdy caught a pass from Minarick to convert the two-point try and make it a two-possession game.

The final nail in the Pioneers’ coffin was another muffed kickoff, which NBC recovered before taking a knee to run out the clock.

Minarick ended the game 7-for-14 passing for 74 yards and a touchdown. McCurdy had all seven catches. Brady Renter led the Tiger defense with nine tackles. Eddie Ruskamp, Tate Emanuel and Zach Swanson had eight tackles each.

Allgood said the coaching staff really cracked down last week in practice and it paid off.

“I thought I knew them well enough that we could (push them) and they responded,” Allgood said. “When you see kids do that, really what you feel it great pride. They have great character. That’s what this week was about. I challenged them and they responded. I’m really proud of them and happy it worked out this way.”

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