The drought is over as Northwest finally got past McCook, 20-3.
It is the first time in 14 meetings that the Vikings have beaten McCook.
Coach Kevin Stein, in his 10th year at the helm, said it’s great to finally beat the Bison.
“It feels good. This is probably my ninth time facing them,” Stein said. “We had a chance to beat them last year, and another chance 3-4 years ago and both times we got too excited when things were going well, and we didn’t stay in the moment.
“Tonight, our guys stayed in the moment and they played a consistent four quarters.”
After not doing much on offense in the first two possessions of the game, Northwest got things going with their third possession.
The Vikings scoring started with 8:41 left in the first quarter as quarterback Rans Sanders ran it in from 1-yard out. The PAT was good to make it 7-0.
McCook was four and out on both possessions in the first quarter and was forced to punt both times.
The Vikings later missed a 51-yard field goal attempt in the first quarter as Parker Janky shanked it wide left.
The second quarter the Viking offense didn’t slow down, scoring on a 54-yard touchdown by Sanders. Although it worked, Stein said that wasn’t the play he called.
“Actually, we were throwing the ball and had two wide receivers wide open they blitz us off of the edge and got a little pressure on us, we didn’t quite pick it up,” Stein said. “If Rans would’ve stayed in there, he probably would’ve taken one heck of a shot. Thank goodness his mom and dad have good genes because it makes me look like a good coach.”
Northwest rushed for 136 yards on 30 carries. Sanders did throw for 28 yards.
Stein said that the second half of the game had a different feel than the first.
“McCook showed a lot of guts,” he said.
Stein credited his coaching staff for changing the game plan and shortening the game, something the Vikings aren’t used to.
“They are not brought up in our program to milk the clock. We don’t know what it means to slow down.”
The third quarter was more of a defensive battle as neither team scored, however McCook got it to the Viking 12- yard line. The score stayed 17-0.
The next play, Bison QB Berry fumbled on a keeper and Northwest recovered. The Vikings were held in check and ended up punting it away.
After finally getting some offense going, the Bison were unable to put it in the endzone and chose to kick it.
With 7:54 left in the game McCook did get on the board with a 17-yard field goal from Luke Maris to make it 17-3 Vikings.
The Vikings tacked on another field goal with 3:13 left in the game. That is all GINW would need to lock in the win 20-3.
Stein said that both time they went for the field goal, Sanders wanted to try for six.
“Rans was screaming at the line we are going to get this thing and I told him look if we make this it makes us up by three scores and this thing is ours and he said, OK,” Stein said.
Stein said he loved the leadership and enthusiasm by his players.
“They just feel so strongly about themselves. I love that,” he said. “That’s great maturity by these guys to understand that. It’s a game, it’s not about stats and touchdowns.”
Northwest (2-0) is home against very tough Scottsbluff team which is also undefeated.