Three second-half turnovers for Guardian Angels Central Catholic, two fumbles and a pick-six, proved costly as Laurel-Concord-Coleridge scored 34 unanswered points in a 46-25 season-opening win over the Bluejays Friday night (August 26) in Beemer.

Special teams were also a key factor in LCC’s second half success. The Bears’ 69-yard kickoff return set up a one-yard touchdown run for their first score of the 3rd quarter.

“Our turnovers and that kickoff return really hurt us. We just needed to play cleaner football,” GACC head coach Dave Ridder said. “We’re playing a lot of sophomores. The kids grew up a lot. I was proud of how they played.”

With 4:38 left to play in the 3rd quarter, GACC held a 19-12 lead following a Chase Smith touchdown. From that point forward, LCC scored five consecutive touchdowns. Turnovers set up three of those scores.

The Bluejays went into halftime with a 7-6 lead. Tanner Ehrisman accounted for GACC’s lone first-half score. In that first half, the Bluejays also lost senior Trey Smith to a head injury.

“Losing Trey early hurt, especially since we were already without Michael Cohee,” Ridder said. “It’s tough being without that senior leadership.”

Smith and Cohee are two of GACC’s five seniors.

Chase Smith led the Bluejays offense with three touchdowns. On the other side of the ball, Jesse Steffen, Dax Doernemann, Gavin Kreikemeier and Logan Rolf anchored the defense.

“We just have to keep our heads up. You can’t get used to losing. We had a couple turnovers, and we got down a bit,” Ridder said following the game. “Laurel is a good football team, and we knew that going into the game. They’re a team you can’t have a lot of mistakes against.”

With the loss, GACC is 0-1 to start the season. Up next is state-ranked Neligh-Oakland Friday at 7 p.m.

“It’s frustrating because you always want to win that first game,” Ridder said. “We just have to work hard and get ready for another tough one.”

Laurel-C-C 6 0 18 22 – 46

GACC 0 7 12 6 – 25

Scoring Summary

First quarter

LCC: Carter Kvols 13 pass from Dylan Taylor, 8:23. (2-pt failed)

Second quarter

GACC: Tanner Ehrisman 14 pass from Bryce Bailey, 5:48. (Logan Rolf kick)

Third quarter

GACC: Chase Smith 6 pass from Bailey, 7:50. (PAT failed)

LCC: Sutton Ehlers 1 run, 7:36. (2-pt failed)

GACC: Smith 9 run, 4:38. (2-pt failed)

LCC: Taylor 47 run, 2:22. (2-pt failed)

LCC: Jake Rath 26 pass from Taylor, 1:14. (2-pt failed)

Fourth quarter

LCC: Rath 23 pass from Taylor, 11:53. (2-pt failed)

LCC: Daniel Puppe 40 INT return, 10:38. (Taylor to Connor Korth pass)

LCC: Puppe 27 pass from Taylor, 5:51. (Taylor to Rath pass)

GACC: Smith 16 run, 3:38. (2-pt failed)

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