Turnovers hurt North Platte in opener

Turnovers and the inability to take advantage of opportunities proved too much for North Platte to overcome in the season opener on Friday, Aug. 30 in Gallatin.

The host Bulldogs held a one-score lead at the break, but two interceptions returned for touchdowns in the fourth quarter busted the game open for Gallatin in a 32-12 victory.

“We were bad on third-down conversions, we threw three interceptions and two turned into pick 6s and we had two fumbles,” North Platte coach Reis Wright said. “Not a winning formula and when you lose by three scores, it makes you wonder. We did multiple things that lost the game.”

The Panthers lost a season opener for the fourth straight year, the last win coming on a 2-0 triumph against Gallatin in 2015. Dating back to 2010, the Panthers are 3-7 vs. the Bulldogs.

The Bulldogs got a 40-yard touchdown run and a 40-yard touchdown pass in the first half, while North Platte’s Andrew Hernandez hit Ty French for a 7-yard score late in the first half.

The pick six plays in the fourth gave Gallatin a cushion, while North Platte got a 30-yard run by Hernandez.

Wright noted the Panthers didn’t convert on either two-point conversion attempt and lost yardage throughout the game on bad snaps.

“I didn’t do a good enough job in preparation and play calling,” the second-year head coach said. “Gallatin seemingly prepared for everything we brought them.”

Joel Symser led North Platte’s defense with 10 tackles, while Hernandez had nine. Six different players had a pass breakup, while J.P. Hartigan had a fumble recovery and a forced fumble. Aiden Williams also recovered a fumble for North Platte.

Aidan Adkison and Ross Critten each scored twice for Gallatin, with Brinley Vandiver throwing a touchdown pass to Critten. Drayton Harris and Adkinson had the interception returns for scores.

BREANNA CHEADLE/Special to the Citizen  North Platte’s Matrix Large gets tackled by a trio of Gallatin defenders during the season opener for the Panthers on Friday, Aug. 31 in Gallatin.

BREANNA CHEADLE/Special to the Citizen

North Platte’s Matrix Large gets tackled by a trio of Gallatin defenders during the season opener for the Panthers on Friday, Aug. 31 in Gallatin.