Football Flashback: The 2021 North Platte Bulldogs

Published: Nov. 19, 2021 at 11:10 PM CST
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NORTH PLATTE, Neb. (KNOP) - The 2021 season saw plenty of ups for the North Platte football team. The Bulldogs showed out every Friday and finished 7-4. This includes being 3-1 in district play, an undefeated record at home during the regular season and a trip to the state quarterfinals. The hometown crowd couldn’t have been more proud of their favorite squad for their efforts this season.

Head coach Todd Rice is the team’s leader, and he credits a lot of off-the-field aspects to contributing to a year that saw the most wins for the program since 2004. This was just the third time since then that the Bulldogs finished with a winning record.

“A really great season for us. Just a really good group of guys that put in a lot of time to get to this point. Hopefully, they leave the season with a lot of fond memories. Looking back on the work put in during the summer, the weight room and camps leading up to the season. The practice time and all that. These guys spent a lot of time and had a lot invested in this. We’ve done a lot with our leadership development. I think that showed up in guys still giving encouragement to each other. Hopefully, that’s an area we can continue to expand on and carry that into the classroom. Carry that into the hallway. Trying to get our guys involved in multiple sports. I really think that’s helping that team bonding, too. I just can’t say enough about the administrative support for our athletic programs. And the community support. The last couple Friday nights out there was just incredible crowds. Incredible atmosphere. Just a lot of fun to be a part of that.”

Todd Rice, North Platte Head Coach

The leadership was on full display on the field and in practice. The squad leaders and captains took pride in their roles and could not have been more proud to give Bulldog fans a team to get excited about on Friday nights.

“It was an unreal experience. We had one of the best seasons that North Platte has ever had in a long time. Just kind of piggy-backing off of how we did last year. I think we all just wanted it. We all put in the work. A lot of these guys have been working hard since coach Rice got here. This is the first class that coach Rice saw through all the way. I think all the hard work we’ve been putting in over these few years has finally paid off.”

Vince Genatone. Senior Running Back/Linebacker

“It was the most fun I’ve ever had in my life. Being able to be around these guys every single day. It was fun to watch them grow and get better. Not only as football players, but as people as well. Our team chemistry got really good this year. That’s one thing that helped us push through a lot of these games and dealing with adversity that. We knew everyone on the team had each other’s backs. That allowed us to overcome a lot of things that we would have been able to without it.”

Tate Janas, Senior Safety

“We had a lot of people going down. I think the team just really stepped up. We know what we had to do. We had a lot of playmakers we had to get the ball to. I think we really improved on everyone stepping up and doing their jobs. All three of us were voted squad leaders and then I was a team captain. Just knowing that the team had that trust in me to do things like that. Stepping into a big leadership role like that. That was super cool. I said it over and over again to the team. It was just one of the most fun and crazy seasons I’ve had playing football.”

Caleb Tonkinson, Senior Quarterback

Many seniors on the team will be missed after being on the first back-to-back winning teams that the blue and gold has seen in recent memory. The juniors will look to make it three in a row as they try to take another step forward and bring a championship home to North Platte. Full results, stats and more on their season can be found by clicking here.

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