Special to the Gardner News
Playing in front of a huge crowd-which included Nebraska coach Bo Pellini, Gardner Edgerton and McPherson put on quite a show Friday night.
Both offenses were virtually unstoppable in a 49-42 shootout win on the road by the ‘Blazers.
Getting a school record 273 yards rushing from Bubba Starling, GE scored on all seven of its drives in the victory.
On the other side of the ball, Mac’s high powered offense was only stymied twice-once on a fumble in the second quarter and then late in the game when Jeff Ragland batted away a pass at the goal line.
Both teams-currently ranked number one and number three in the latest 5A polls-combined for over 1,000 yards of total offense.
GE got most of its yards via their vaunted ground attack, led by Starling who was simply amazing in this contest.
The 6-foot-5 inch senior All-American candidate scored five touchdowns on runs of 50, 19, 21,59, and 18 yards, leaving Mac defenders helpless in his wake.
Brett Jensen scored the two other TDs on rushes from one and 22 yards out.
The ‘Blazers would need every one of those scores.
McPherson’s high powered attack kept up with the GE scoring machine with only one big mistake-the second period fumble-keeping them from finding the end zone on all of its first half possessions.
That big turnover-which came with the ‘Blazers leading 14-7-gave the GE offense great field position.
The high-powered GE attack-which is averaging over 50 points a game on the season-took advantage, scoring to go up 21-7.
The Bullpups and ‘Blazers then traded touchdowns for the remainder of this classic.
GE led 28-14 at the half and 42-28 at the end of the third period.
Mac pulled to within seven at 49-42 when they scored with about three minutes remaining in the game.
The Bullpups then energized their amped-up crowd by recovering an onside kick.
Mac quickly drove to the GE ten-yard line and faced a fourth and five with less then two minutes to go in regulation.
It was at that point that Ragland made his touchdown saving breakup of a pass, preserving the victory against one the state’s top teams.
Overall, the ‘Blazers rushed for 406 yards, led by Starling’s school-record 273. Jensen added 73 yards, Ryan Weber had 47 yards, and Tyler Stubler had a 14-yard carry. The offensive line of Lucas Powell, Cayden White, Mason Rogers, Kyle Pacheco, Alex Knorr and Greg Hopper was instrumental in the rushing effort.
Knorr had a big night in the passing game, catching four Starling aerials for 103 yards. Stubler also had a catch as Starling finished five for nine with 115 yards.
Defensively, the ‘Blazers gave a game effort, making the huge stop late in the contest against arguably the state’s best passing attack. Dan Mauszycki knocked down three Bullpup passes to stand out for coach Kris Henry’s unit.
Head coach Marvin Diener was very impressed with his team’s play in the huge triumph.
“It was sure fun. And that’s worth a lot— to invest a lot and get rewarded for it. We still have a lot of work and a lot of games but it was another very big step for us,” said Diener after the win.
Next up for GE is a trip to Pittsburg in the first district game. The Purple Dragons are 5-1 and should be another good test for the top ranked ‘Blazers.