YORK — Looking back, Trevor DuBray doesn’t remember all the details leading up to Alliance’s season-opening game against York nine weeks ago.
“My mind went blank,” said DuBray, who made his AHS varsity quarterback debut against the defending state champion Dukes to kick off the season. “I was really nervous, but I didn’t know how to feel. I couldn't stop shaking and I was jittery, but it was fun.”
Now, nine weeks later, DuBray and the Bulldogs are preparing to see York again this season.
Only this time with more on the line, as 14th-seeded Alliance travels to play third-seeded York in the opening round of the Class B Nebraska State Playoff Friday. Kickoff is scheduled for 5 p.m. MT.
“I’m feeling good,” DuBray said. “We’re in a little bit of trouble right now with all our linemen hurt. That’s big, but we just need some of our underclassmen to step up and we’ll be fine.”
Back in Week 1, York bulldozed its way to four scores in the first quarter with great starting field position and a strong offense powered by Garrett Snodgrass, Ben Kowalski, and Jacob Diaz. The Dukes ran away with a 55-14 victory in the season-opening victory by keeping Alliance on its heels most of the evening.
“But that’s week one,” AHS head coach Chris Seebohm said. “Teams change so much during the season. I have their last three games on film so I have to see are they sticking with what they did all season long? Are they changing things? Did they have injuries? What looks different? And they’re doing the same thing for us, it’s just a part of coaching.”
And York can be sure that Alliance has changed significantly throughout the season, as well. For starters, the nerves have calmed tremendously.
“At the start of the first few games I was really nervous and I wouldn’t know how to calm myself down,” DuBray said. “I was just anxious not knowing how I would do. I didn’t want to mess up. But as the season went on I developed as a quarterback, and in the later games I started realizing that, ‘I’m fine, this is easy now.’ I just went into the game realizing that my linemen were going to protect me, my receivers were going to catch the ball, and my running backs were going to make plays.”
All around, the Bulldogs grew into their roles this season. Alliance saw a first-year quarterback turn into a leader with poise, saw a trio of receivers develop into reliable offensive weapons, saw a defensive unit find its stride, saw a group of underclassmen fill in to new roles following injuries.
And now, after a season of heartache a year ago, the Alliance High School football team sees itself make the playoffs.
“I told them every down is now a down you don’t get back,” Seebohm said. “Every practice is a practice you don’t get back. The message is also to the underclassmen that just because we made the playoff this year, it’s not guaranteed in the future. Nothing is ever guaranteed in high school football and nothing is ever guaranteed in the state playoffs.”
The winner of Friday’s contest between Alliance and York will advance to the quarterfinals to play either 11th-seeded Norris or sixth-seeded Seward.