PERRY – There was some early fight by Nevada against No. 1 Kuemper Catholic in the opening round of Class 2A playoff competition Wednesday in Perry.
The Cubs (4-6) made a goal line stand and nearly had another, and they also managed to get off a field-goal attempt early in the second quarter. But the Knights (10-0) proved far too powerful as their potent passing attack resulted in a 49-7 loss for the Cubs.
"We frustrated them a little bit in the first half and had our moments, but we just didn’t have enough of them," Nevada head coach John Pelzer said. "They’re good. They cause some match-up problems with their size, they’ve got speed and their quarterback’s got a gun."
Nevada tried an onside kick to start the game, but Kuemper Catholic recovered at midfield. Six plays later Knight quarterback Cole Neary found his favorite target – receiver Alex Drees on a 9-yard touchdown pass.
Kuemper Catholic added a two-point conversion to go up 8-0 less than two minutes into the game. The Knights then forced Nevada to go three-and-out and they got the ball back on their own 44.
With another short field to work with Kuemper Catholic got the ball down to the Cub 10, where the Knights faced first-and-goal. But Nevada held firm, stuffing one run play and then forcing three straight incomplete passes to get a turnover on downs.
The Nevada offense struggled again on its next possession and Kuemper Catholic got the ball back on its 24. The Knights used a 50-yard screen pass to Chase Rupiper to get the ball down to the Cub 6 for another first-and-goal opportunity.
The Nevada defense once again gave Kuemper Catholic fits near the goal line. It took three plays to get the ball to the 1 yard-line and then Neary powered it in on fourth down to give Kuemper Catholic a two-touchdown lead.
Nevada’s best offensive drive against Kuemper Catholic’s first-string defense came after the second Knight score as the Cubs took over on their 26 and moved the ball to the Kuemper Catholic 18. But Nevada went backwards the next two plays to force a fourth-and-16 on the 27 and Erik Fevold was short on a 44-yard field goal.
Neary and Drees then broke Nevada’s back.
On the Knights first play from scrimmage after the field goal miss Neary rolled out to his right, then stopped and threw a deep pass over the middle. The ball hit Drees in perfect stride for an 80-yard touchdown and Nevada never had a chance after that.
"Good football teams make it seems like it snow balls on you," Pelzer said. "That’s what happened today. You’re fighting and fighting and then all of the sudden bang, bang, bang there are three touchdowns on the board."
Kuemper led 28-0 at the half and the Knights blew the game open with three unanswered scored in the third.
Nevada managed to get a few things going against Kuemper Catholic’s second string defense in the fourth quarter. A big 63-yard run from Chase Dobson 43 seconds into the final period prevented a shutout and Dobson nearly scored again on the next Cub possession, but he fumbled the ball out of the end zone.
For the game Nevada totaled 272 yards, 251 of which came on the ground.
Dobson was sensational. He came into the game with 1,838 yards rushing and went for 219 on 26 carries against Kuemper to top the 2,000-yard mark for the season on his sixth-straight 200-yard game.
"We’re proud of our line – we only had Jake (Kapustka) coming back – so all those guys who played JV last year blended in their with Jake," Pelzer said. "I think Chase has really done a good job this year. He’s always given credit to the line and he deserves the recognition that he’s gotten. He’s fun to watch."
Fullback Riley Huhn ran for 16 yards on 10 carries, quarterback Brandon Burke completed 3 of 6 passes for 21 yards and tight end Joel Olson had 22 yards receiving.
Peyton Sharp and Jake Barker led Nevada in tackles with seven apiece. Patrick Stephenson had six, Traye Pelzer ended up with five and T.J. Fey chipped in four.
Kuemper Catholic ended up with 542 yards. Neary completed 13 of 19 passes for 298 yards, Drees caught six balls for 180 yards and Rupiper ran for 128 yards on 15 attempts.
Kuemper Catholic 49, Nevada 7
N 0 0 0 7 – 7
KC 14 14 21 0 – 49
KC – Alex Drees 9 pass from Cole Neary (Nick Greteman pass from Neary), 10:03
KC – Neary 1 run (pass fail), 2:02
KC – Drees 80 pass from Neary (Taylor Niehaus kick), 8:51
KC – Josh Irlbeck 14 pass from Neary (Niehaus kick), 0:46
KC – Chase Rupiper 3 run (Niehaus kick), 7:12
KC – Drees 24 pass from Neary (Niehaus kick), 4:31
KC – Rupiper 28 run (Niehaus kick), 0:22
N – Chase Dobson 63 run (Erik Fevold kick), 11:17
Team statistics N KC
First downs 12 19
Rushes-yards 44-243 29-244
Passing 3-6-0 13-21-0
Passing yards 21 298
Total yards 264 542
Fumbles-lost 1-1 0-0
Punts-average 6-27.8 1-40.0
Penalties-yards 1-5 5-35
Rushing: N – Chase Dobson 26-219, Riley Huhn 10-16, Brandon Burke 6-7, Patrick Stephenson 2-1. KC – Chase Rupiper 15-128.
Passing: N – Burke 3-6-0-21. KC – Cole Neary 13-19-0-298.
Receiving: N – Joel Olson 1-22, T.J. Fey 1-(-1). KC – Alex Drees 6-180.
Tackles: N – Jake Barker 7, Peyton Sharp 7, Stephenson 6, Traye Pelzer 5, Fey 4.