North Platte did it.
The Dawgs snapped a season-long losing streak with a 27-10 win against Lincoln High on Friday at Bauer Field.
North Platte (1-5), coming off a heartbreaking 41-34 overtime loss at Lincoln Southwest in which the Dawgs couldn’t hold onto a late lead in regulation, refused to subdue to a similar fate against the winless Lincoln High Links.
"Oh, man, we started wondering there because we’ve had a couple of games like this that we weren’t able to finish," North Platte head coach Todd Rice said. "We haven’t had many good breaks, but we told our guys to keep chopping and good things will happen like they did tonight."
Led by Dalton Caley’s 80 yards of offense and two passing touchdowns, the Dawgs scored 27 unanswered points and held the Links time and again scoreless near the end zone with a fumble recovery and two interceptions — one of them a 67-yard pick-six by Jaylan Ruffin.
"We took over early last week, but we couldn’t hold that lead," Rice said. "So it was pretty good to come in today and take care of business on defense."
The Dawgs opened the game with a boom, recovering a fumble on Lincoln High’s first play from scrimmage.
But North Platte couldn’t parlay Blake Vaughn’s fumble recovery, coming up empty on a fourth-and-two.
After coming up empty in their first two drives, the Links got on the board first when a 19-yard field goal by Randy Izaguirre sailed through the uprights at the start of the second period.
The Dawgs, however, answered with a 75-yard drive, which they punctuated with a 23-yard touchdown catch from Caley to Vaughn, who also added five carries for 42 yards and a rushing touchdown on Friday.
North Platte’s defense would strike again, intercepting the Links two plays later.
The second Lincoln turnover led to another Vaughn touchdown — this time on a 20-yard carry.
And with 1-minute, 27-seconds left in the half, the Dawgs struck again with Ruffin’s 67-yard pick-six on Lincoln’s Hunt Boutin. Boutin would complete just one pass for five yards and two interceptions before being replaced by sophomore JaReese Lott-Buzby.
With a 20-3 lead and the ball to start the second half, the Dawgs mounted another touchdown drive.
"Our offense was showing a lot of physicality today," Rice said. "I think it really keeps getting better every week."
North Platte capped off the 79-yard drive with a Caley 16-yard touchdown pass to Ryan Kaminski, making it 27 unanswered points. The Dawgs offense led with 245 of the team’s 284 total yards on the ground, which included 155 yards on 26 carries by Cody Wright.
The Links snapped their scoring drought with 4:59 left in the game, scoring on a 29-yard quarterback scramble by Lott-Buzby that trimmed North Platte’s lead to 17.
The Dawgs, though, sat on the ball and accumulated a couple of first downs on the ground, controlling possession to hold off Lincoln High for the win.
North Platte looks to continue adding to the win column as they return to action next week against the 1-5 Lincoln North Star Navigators, while the 0-6 Links will host the winless Omaha Benson Bunnies.
North Platte (1-5): 0-20-7-0 — 27
Lincoln High (0-6): 0-3-0-7 — 10
L: Izaguirre on a 19yrd field goal.
NP: Caley to Vaughn on a 23yrd pass (PAT is good)
NP: Vaughn on a 20yrd run (PAT is good)
NP: Ruffin on a 67yrd pick-six (PAT no good)
NP: Caley to Kaminski on a 16yrd pass (PAT is good)
L: Lott-Buzby on a 29yrd run (PAT is good)