The Blair football team missed opportunities to win Saturday's season opener at Plattsmouth.
“It's the first game,” Bears coach Bryan Soukup said after the 20-7 loss. “You don't expect to play a perfect game.”
But he does expect improved execution as the season goes on. Against the Blue Devils, it wasn't good enough.
“In a lot of ways, it came down to simple pass and catch,” Soukup said. “We had some guys open. Didn't get it to them. We had guys that were open who weren't able to bring it in.”
Inopportune holding penalties and turnovers also contributed to the seven-point outing for the Blair offense.
“I feel like we left 21, 28 points on the board there,” Soukup said.
Plattsmouth, meanwhile, made three game-altering plays to start 2020 1-0. The first came during the first quarter after Blair drove inside the Blue Devils' 15-yard line, but turned the ball over on downs.
Plattsmouth took possession of the ball at the 8-yard line and later had Adam Eggert racing down the field for an 89-yard touchdown run.
The Blue Devils' second game-altering play came with the score tied 7-7 in the fourth quarter. Nearly 20 minutes of game time after Dex Larsen's 4-yard touchdown run — and Nolan Osterhaus' extra-point kick — evened the score, Plattsmouth's Jack Alexander and Rece Baker connected on a 46-yard touchdown pass to put the home team ahead 14-7.
The Bears responded with back-to-back drives into Blue Devil territory, but without any additional points. One drive ended with a failed field goal attempt where the kick never took place. The other ended on Plattsmouth's third and most decisive game-altering play. Owen Prince cinched up the blue team's win with a 65-yard interception return for a touchdown with just 1:48 left.
While the Devils' defense sealed a victory, Soukup said Blair's played well despite the two long touchdown plays it surrendered. The standout defender was 6-foot-4, 265-pound defensive lineman Nolan Ulrich.
“Every time I looked up, he was in the backfield making some plays,” Soukup said.
Gage Casanova and Dane Larsen added interceptions, though Larsen's return ended with a fumble back to Plattsmouth during the fourth quarter.
Offensively, Dex Larsen played both quarterback and running back, notching the majority of Blair's carries. Quarterback Morgan Rump, meanwhile, had success connecting with receivers Kip Tupa and Osterhaus, but also threw the pass Prince returned for a score.
“We had our opportunities,” Soukup said afterward. The Bears hope for more with improved execution as the season moves forward.