The Blair passing game missed in the opener.
In week No. 2, it was right on the mark.
Quarterback Morgan Rump threw four touchdown passes Friday as the Bears routed Elkhorn Mount Michael 49-10 in Class B football play. The host Knights went ahead 10-7 during the early stages of the second quarter, but it was all BHS from there to the tune of 42 unanswered points.
“This is the team we, as coaches, expected to see this season,” Bears coach Bryan Soukup said.
A week earlier, he'd believed Blair missed out on 21-28 points with poor pass game execution during a season-opening loss to Plattsmouth. The Bears had no such shortcomings against Mount Michael.
“We played with a lot more energy and effort on Friday night,” Soukup said. “And our execution on both sides of the ball improved as a result. It was a great way to bounce back after week one.”
The first of four Rump touchdown passes put Blair ahead 7-0. Receiver Nolan Osterhaus' route had him cutting to the middle of the field and the quarterback found him with a 13-yard, third-down and 12 pass.
The Knights scored the next 10 points, but the Bears had answers. First, senior Dex Larsen scored on an 8-yard run setup by Rump's long pass to the running back's brother, Dane Larsen, down the south sideline.
Osterhaus' second touchdown reception of the first half came on another perfectly place ball by Rump. The QB saw the senior receiver streaking down the middle of the field and connected with him for a 25-yard score, and 21-10 lead.
That advantage grew to 18 points with just 2.3 seconds left before halftime. Rump rolled out to his right inside the Mount Michael 10-yard line and flipped a pass to Kip Tupa for a 6-yard score.
Tupa caught a second touchdown pass during the third quarter as the Bears ran away with the road victory.
“Our execution in the passing was night and day different from week one at Plattsmouth,” Soukup said. “Morgan Rump was putting the ball where it needed to be and our wide receivers made plays. Nolan Osterhaus and Kip Tupa continue to be key targets, but it was great to see Dane Larsen and Conner O'Neil get involved and make big plays in the passing game as well.”
On top of its breakout passing game, BHS found success on the ground during the second half behind an offensive line effort the Bears' coach called “dominant.” Wyatt Ogle, Lance Hume, Cole Truhlsen, Braden Hanson, Jake Stirek and Nolan Ulrich paved the way for two more rushing scores after halftime. Livai Opetaia scored from 5 yards out during the third quarter before Charlie Kies capped the offensive explosion with a fourth-quarter TD.
Blair's defense also made plays during the victory with Osterhaus and Dex Larsen notching interceptions.
“Overall, I'm very pleased with our performance, but there are still some things we will continue to work on to get better,” Soukup said.
The Bears are set to host Beatrice 7 p.m. tonight at Krantz Field in their home opener. The Orangemen are 1-1 with a 38-27 loss to 1-1 Ralston and a 57-0 win against 0-2 Lexington.