Ganado wins close contest at East Bernard
By BY MIKE FORMAN - MFORMAN@VICAD.COM
Sept. 10, 2011 at 4:10 a.m.
EAST BERNARD - Ganado coach Jimmy Thompson had no idea running back Josh Labay had carried the ball 46 times, but he wasn't concerned.
"Well, it's like I told him the football ain't that heavy," Thompson said. "I didn't know he had 46. I knew he was getting most of the carries. That's probably more than he's ever carried."
The Indians needed every one of Labay's runs to come away with a 22-21 win over East Bernard on Friday night at Memorial Stadium.
Labay rushed for 199 yards and three touchdowns, and added the decisive two-point conversion with 2:59 left in the fourth quarter.
"I didn't have any idea," Labay said. "I thought we were going to get even amount of carries between Tyler Gorman and myself. We both fumbled the ball a little bit, but coach still kept giving us the ball. He believes in us and we got the two at the end and won."
Ganado (3-0) became the state's No. 1 Class 1A team earlier in the week, but had to come from behind to defeat East Bernard (2-0), which received votes in the Class 2A poll.
"They're an extremely big, strong, tough and well-coached football team," Thompson said. "Obviously we're physical."
The Indians used a 17-play, 69-yard drive that consumed 8 minutes and 47 seconds and included 13 carries by Labay, including a 1-yard touchdown run on fourth down to pull within 21-20.
Thompson decided to go for two points and Labay carried the ball over the right side into the end zone.
"I wanted to win," Thompson said. "We felt like we were going to make it. We had run that play several times and it was 4, 5, 6 yards a play and you give Josh any crease, he's going to make it."
East Bernard had taken the lead on a 59-yard pass from Ty Slanina to Jontrey Goff and a two-point conversion run by Donnell Schuler with 11:46 left in the fourth quarter.
But Slanina, who also had a 37-touchdown run, had to leave the game during Ganado's decisive drive when he re-aggravated a shoulder separation.
"We knew we were going to have to fight to slow them down and we did at times and we made some big plays at times," said East Bernard coach Jerry Long. "They keep the ball away from you and there ain't a whole lot you can do."
Ganado ran 63 plays to the Brahmas' 42, but hurt itself with three fumbles, including one in the end zone and the other inside East Bernard's 20-yard line.
"Those are crucial," Thompson said. "I thought we blocked like the devil tonight, I thought we tackled good 95 percent of the time, but anytime you have three turnovers it's not a great game for you. If we can cut that out, we would have had a great night."
Labay had only four runs of more than 10 yards, but had no carries for negative yardage and scored on runs of 6 and 1 yard in the first half.
But his biggest run covered a total of 3 yards with the game on the line.
"That whole drive we ran that play," Labay said. "Coach believed in it and we took it and scored."
NOTES: Senior Lauren Hlavinka was named East Bernard's homecoming queen at halftime.