PALMER — The small town in Nebraska is dying they say. School consolidation is required for you to keep a football team it seems.
And, then there is Palmer. Where Main Street is newly paved. Where the cafe serves a killer fried chicken and the bank that kept the town alive in the Great Depression is still a cornerstone. Where they will celebrate a Fall Festival today.
Yeah, in town’s like Palmer you stick together.
It’s what they’ve done for this football team, what with five seniors — 17 players in all — who have been to the bottom and back. They have won six games during the past two seasons, where most of them have started on both sides of the ball.
But, coach Nathan Glause saw his bunch get pretty serious this summer. “Everybody weighs 20 more pounds than when school got out,” he said last night.
That commitment and effort has led to five wins in as many tries for the 2016 Tigers. Not too shabby since they have played then, top-ranked Burwell (a state finalist last year) and last night dismantled third-ranked High Plains 54-14 on homecoming.
Yeah, the “9” in front of their name in the big state newspaper might soon change. The Tigers are good. Swarming defense — linebackers Hunter Reimers and Spencer Wichmann — can get sideline to sideline. Smart quarterback — Kaden Reimers has thrown just two interceptions in five games. A whole bunch of nice, complementary parts.
And, that town that lines the sideline every Friday night.
“It’s everything,” Kaden Reimers said, fresh off a 257-yard, four-touchdown effort against the Storm. “We can’t thank our fans enough for coming out and supporting us and sticking through the last few seasons. It’s been a bumpy road.
“It just goes to show that hard work is starting to pay off for us.”
Work hard. Stay focused. Play as a team. All those things that can turn average into great, the Palmer Tigers seem to have this year.
“All five of our seniors are very sharp,” the coach said. “They have good football savvy. And, they’ve had it the last few years, but we were just so small. We’d just get beat down. But, we still aren’t a big team, but we’ve got a step quicker.
“And, our football IQ has really raised. And that comes with confidence as you play these big games.”
Buffaloed in York
Glen Snodgrass had a simple plan in York. Wear down Class B, fifth-rated McCook with the size of his sixth-ranked Dukes. Check.
While the plan didn’t take hold until the second half, it worked to perfection late. The Dukes used just three passes after halftime en route to a 20-11 win over the Bison, who led 3-0 early held the lead until nearly halftime.
But on the last play of the first half, York running back Simon Otte took a screen pass 51 yards for a touchdown and the Dukes had the momentum the rest of the way.
“We didn’t get the ball in his hands the whole first half,” Snodgrass said. “And, he’s too good of a player for that to happen. We just seemed to be behind the chains in the first half. It was 2nd-and-15 or 3rd-and-9 the whole time.”
But, when Otte scored, it allowed Snodgrass to his full complement of run game after the break. Alex Kowalski ran for 101 yards and a score and Otte sealed when his 2-yard run with just over three minutes left ended a 77-yard drive that took nearly seven minutes of game clock.
“We told the boys we wanted to get four yards every play the second half and just wear them down,” said Snodgrass, whose team is now 4-1 after an opening loss to top-ranked Elkhorn South. “I’m really happy with how we played tonight; McCook is a great football team.”
Class C-1 | Knights roll past Pierce
Class C-2 | Hartington CC upsets No. 2 Battle Creek
Class C-2 | Hooked, lateraled: LHNE upsets Stanton
Class C-2 | Lincoln Lutheran holds off Malcolm
Class C-2 | No. 6 Centennial blanks Fillmore Central
Class D-2 | Mullen routs Garden County
Six-Man | No. 6 Spalding Academy holds off HL
Kudos to Ashland-Greenwood running back Trevor Nicholsen. The state wrestling champion set the 11-man state single-game rushing record last night in a 41-27 win over Milford-Dorchester when he carried 29 times for 474 yards. The previous record was 464 by Crofton’s Tom Peitz against Wisner-Pilger and the previous Class C-1 record was 445 by Cozad’s Eric Love in 2005.