KEARNEY — Word on the street had Kearney Catholic buzzing, and the Stars took it out on Ogallala.
With junior Cale Conrad rushing for 162 yards and four touchdowns, the Kearney Catholic handed the Indians their first loss of the season, 28-19.
Much of the credit went to the Stars’ offensive line, which had earned the label of being "soft."
"Word on the street was it was several people. The kids get word of it and we used it as motivation," Kearney Catholic coach Rashawn Harvey said. "Our guys took that to heart and they showed up tonight and we were able to run the ball on Ogallala."
Conrad, playing in his first game since being injured in the season opener, carried a workhorse load with 24 carries. He scored on a 32-yard run near the end of the first quarter on his 10th carry out of 11 running plays for the Stars. He went on to add touchdown runs of 3, 6 and 2 yards. His longest run of the night, which covered 58 yards, came before his last touchdown.
"That kid ... runs hard and he’s explosive. We fed him because he’s a strong runner. He churns his feet and keeps his body moving so he’s a great runner for our scheme," Harvey said.
The only other ball carriers for the Stars were quarterbacks Heinrich Haarberg and Brett Mahony, who combined for six carries and 14 yards.
Haarberg completed 6 of 12 passes for 59 yards, with Conrad catching three for 17 yards.
While Kearney Catholic rolled up yards on the ground, Ogallala had to turn to the air. Quarterback Clayton Murphy was Ogallala’s big weapon on the ground and in the air. He rushed for 104 yards on 17 carries but 67 of those came on one play in the game’s last two minutes. However, he completed 15 of 31 passes for 268 yards. He hit Brandon Beamon for a 53-yard touchdown on the Indians’ second play from scrimmage.
Harvey knew Murphy would be tough to handle.
"We were confident enough stopping the run. We needed to make sure we got some pressure on the quarterback. We did that tonight. We confused them. We showed him some different looks he hasn’t seen all season," Harvey said.
Kearney Catholic came away with two interceptions, the biggest by Matt Merz midway through the fourth quarter. Winning the field position battle in the second half, thanks to a shaky punting game by the Stars, Ogallala was poised to take the lead, trailing 14-13. But Merz intercepted Murphy and returned it 67 yards to the 6-yard line where Conrad scored on the next play.
"Every time we had a big play and we got down by the goal line, we punched it in. ... We were about 100 percent in the red zone tonight and that was great for us," Harvey said.
Kearney Catholic 28, Ogallala 19
Score by Quarters
Ogallala (3-1) 7 0 6 6 — 19
KCHS (3-1) 7 7 0 14 — 28
OHS — Brandon Beamon 53 pass from Clayton Murphy (Beamon kick).
KCHS — Cale Conrad 32 run (Spencer Hogeland kick)
KCHS — Conrad 3 run (Hogeland kick)
OHS — Murphy 1 run (pass failed)
KCHS — Conrad 6 run (Hogeland kick)
KCHS — Conrad 2 run (Hogeland kick)
OHS — Brock Skinner 5 pass from Murray (pass failed)