Griffons fight off late comeback

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The Griffons walked out of Kearney-Nebraska with a 31-19 win, improving to 2-0 in conference play and 3-0 overall.

The Lopers were very active early on and played with a purpose on their homecoming night.

Western started off slow on offense, but was immediately awakened after Marcus Thompson picked off Lopers quarterback Bronson Marsh.

Backs Raphael Spencer and Dominic Thomas led the way to a drive that picked up 58 yards in 14 plays and was capped off by a 12 yard run by Dalton Krysa.

Down a touchdown, the Lopers were not able to get anything rolling on the offensive side and were forced to punt the ball after Western’s scoring possession.

The Griffons continued their rushing attack on the ground and quarterback Travis Partridge was able to connect with wide out Stephon Weaver for a 13-yard touchdown pass.

Spencer was the leading rusher for the Griffons with 172 yards, but he said those yards did not come easily.

“I’m hungry to repeat what we accomplished last year,” Spencer said. “Kearney was a well-coached defense. They tackled well and I just want to help my team out the best way I can.”

Nebraska-Kearney went scoreless in the first quarter and the Griffons kept scoring every chance they had.

To start off the second quarter, Western marched down the field and Partridge was able to run it in for a three-yard touchdown, making the score 21-0.

Marsh was a bright spot for the Lopers, as he was able to put together a drive that ended with him scoring a nine-yard touchdown run, making it 21-6 after a missed extra point.

Kearney’s defense was able to come up with a few stops and it eventually led to another scoring drive by Marsh, who capped it off with another rushing touchdown for 19 yards.

Score became 24-13.

Linebacker Kellen Werner led the way for the Lopers with 15 tackles and the defense put together a string of stops that gives their offense another opportunity.

Marsh continued to add to his rushing total for the day when he rushed for a 52-yard touchdown run that brought his team closer to start the fourth.

Marsh had a game high 201 rushing yards and three touchdowns.

With the score 24-19, the Griffons were in desperate need of a score to push the game further out of reach for the Lopers.

Determined to keep the ball moving, Western needed eight yards to keep the drive going. The Griffons went with a fake punt that ended with tight end Reggie Jordan picking up nine yards.

Momentum had shifted to the Griffons and they were able to cap the drive with a five-yard touchdown pass to Stephon Weaver, his second of the day.

Western defense held the Lopers the rest of the way and were able to hold on for the win.

Jordan noted that he felt the win was hard fought and the Lopers played tough. He said they were a tough match-up.

“It always feels good to win,” Jordan said. “But we have a bigger goal to reach. We had them figured out pretty good in the first half, and then they made some adjustments. They definitely were not a push over.”

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