KEARNEY, Neb. — #13 Grand Island finished the game on a 19-0 run and pulled off a 29-19 upset win over #4 Kearney in the opening round of the Class A playoffs.

The Islanders’ (6-4) victory avenges a three-point defeat to the Bearcats (8-2) from earlier in the season. The two rivals are notorious for playing hotly contested games and Friday’s meeting followed suit.

Grand Island led 7-0 after one quarter thanks to a quarterback sneak touchdown by Bode Albers. The Islanders extended their lead to 10-0 on a 41-yard field goal from Thatcher Panowicz.

The Bearcats finished the half strong to take the lead. Griffin Novacek connected with Karter Lee for a 72-yard touchdown pass to get Kearney on the board. Able Molina followed it up with a 22-yard touchdown run to give the Bearcats the lead. After a fumble on a punt return, Jake Kracl hit a 31-yard field goal to make it 16-10 at half.

Kearney struck first in the third quarter. Kracl nailed another 31-yarder to make it 19-10 with 6:16 remaining in the third quarter. That’s when Grand Island regained the momentum. Bode Albers capped off a 76-yard drive with a 4-yard rushing touchdown to cut into the deficit. Early in the fourth quarter, he found fellow senior Caleb Richardson for a 17-yard touchdown strike to retake the lead. The Grand Island defense shut down Kearney in the 4th quarter and the special teams unit recovered a fumble on a kickoff return. Panowicz hit a pair of field goals on the last two Grand Island drives to finish off the win.

Grand Island has now won a playoff game in six straight seasons. The Islanders will travel to face #5 Millard West in the quarterfinals.

Grand Island… 7, 3, 6, 13

Kearney……….. 0, 16, 3, 0