The Nebraska City football team had plenty of opportunities on homecoming night, but Auburn was able to dodge bullets throughout the contest by forcing turnovers and benefiting from penalties on the way to a 20-6 win at Pioneer Field on Friday.
Nebraska City’s first offensive possession of the game produced points.
Bryce Levy found Tyler Levy on a 19-yard pass to get the march going and Tyler later supplied an electrifying run on a fake punt to set up Nebraska City in scoring territory.
Bryce picked up a key 4th-and-1 with a rush and then hit Brady Rose on a 21-yard touchdown pass. The point after failed and Nebraska City led the game 6-0 with 3:40 left in the opening quarter.
Auburn responded with a 79-yard drive highlighted by a 27-yard run to the Pioneer 1-yard line.
A quarterback sneak and point after kick made it 7-6 in favor of the visitors with 11:55 left.
Nebraska City’s next two drives ended on interceptions, but Auburn wasn’t able to do much against the Pioneer defense.
A tackle for loss by Nick Burns stopped Auburn’s last offensive drive of the first half and forced a 39-yard field goal attempt that missed.
Nebraska City’s first drive of the second half ended due to a penalty. Bryce found Skyler Self with a 25-yard pass but a personal foul against the Pioneers left the team at 1st-and-25. The drive ended on a punt.
Nick Zaroban’s interception ended Auburn’s next possession but penalties put the Pioneers in a long yardage situation and the drive ended up a punt.
Auburn then struck with a 75-yard touchdown run and the point after made it 14-6 with 5:09 left in the third quarter.
Nebraska City turned the ball over on a fumble but forced a punt and then got a 51-yard run from Jordan Moyer to set up the team in Auburn territory.
Nebraska City turned it over on downs and Auburn went 3-and-out.
Nebraska City had the ball near midfield but gave up the possession with an interception on a long pass.
A long run by the Auburn quarterback was enhanced by a personal foul and the Bulldogs went on a drive from their own 12 down to the Pioneer 10. The quarterback took the ball into the end zone from there.
The point after failed and it was 20-6.
Nebraska City got the ball and turned it over on downs.
Another defensive stop ended with a blocked field goal by the Pioneers but Nebraska City threw an interception that ended the contest.
Stat leaders for the game for Nebraska City included Bryce Levy, 7-for-19 passing for 61 yards and Jordan Moyer, 15 carries for 101 yards.
Nebraska City’s offense finished with 101 total yards.
Defensive leaders were Zaroban, eight stops;  and Moyer and Alfredo Valquier, five stops.
Looking back at the game, Coach Dan Hempel said he felt the defense played well.
“(I was) proud of our defense,” he said. “I feel we played very physical tonight. (We) can’t turn the ball over and we need to learn to bounce back from mistakes.
“Overall, I am very proud of our kids and look forward to another week of improvement,” Hempel said.