NEVADA - It wasn’t pretty, but Nevada got the job done against Roland-Story in its final football game of the season Friday, defeating the Norsemen by a 27-14 to close out one of the best seasons in school history.
Entered the game without top playmakers Ayden Rhodes and Lucas Rogers and they lost senior Kody Kruschwitz to another injury during the game. They also had three turnovers on the night and didn’t force any.
A Roland-Story team that had only one win played inspired ball and capitalized on Nevada’s mistakes to take a 14-7 lead in the third quarter.
But with a potential playoff spot on the line Nevada buckled down and began to dominate the game in the middle of the third quarter. The Cubs outscored the Norsemen 20-0 down the stretch to pull off the victory.
“Hats off to Roland-Story, but once again our kids stepped up and found a way,” Nevada head coach Andrew Kleeman said. “That’s really been their story all season. Their effort and their attitude has just been outstanding.”
After Roland-Story’s Kyle Selby returned an interception 60 yards for a touchdown to put the Norse on top in the third quarter Nevada turned to its power running game.
It took less than two minutes for Nevada to answer Selby’s touchdown as Cub quarterback Keaton Fry capped a scoring drive with a 4-yard touchdown run.
Nevada followed with a defensive stand and then took advantage of a botched Norse punt. The Cubs only needed to go 27 yards on their next drive, finished off by a 2-yard Fry touchdown.
That gave the Cubs their first lead at 19-14 with 34 seconds left.
The Nevada defense forced another punt and then the Cubs went on a long, time-consuming drive. Fry scored his fourth touchdown of the game on a 15-yard run to put his team up two touchdowns with 3:42 to go.
“We were trying to do a little too much and then we figured out we should just go back to what we’ve been doing,” Fry said. “We started doing our thing on the ground, eating up clock and not giving ourselves a chance.”
A 53-yard pass from Luke Patton to Zach Twedt gave Roland-Story one last ray of hope in the final minutes. The Norse got down to the Cub 12 in the final minutes, but a huge sack by Caden Jones on third down force them into fourth and long and they couldn’t convert.
“The guard went down and I just came in there and the quarterback was sitting right there,” Jones said. “That was pretty awesome.”
The Cubs ran out the clock to sew up their seventh victory.
“We condition during practice - we make sure we’re able to finish games - which is something we’ve been able to do pretty well this year,” Nevada senior Noah Adelmund said. “We’re a brotherhood. We stood strong when we needed to.”
Nevada ended up just missing the playoffs. The Cubs finished 17th in the final Class 2A RPI rankings and only 16 teams qualify.
But it didn’t take away from a magical season that saw the Cubs go 7-2. It is their best record since 1992 when they also went 7-2.
Nevada also finished in a three-way tie with Benton and West Marshall for the best record in 2A District 7 at 4-1. The Cubs earned their first win over a ranked team (then-No. 7 Benton in Week 6) since 1987.
“I really feel like we’ve turned the corner in our program,” Kleeman said. “I’m just super proud to coach this group of kids.”
The Cubs ended the game with 350 yards, including 306 rushing.
Fry ran for 161 yards and Jones 129. Caeden DaSilva had four catches for 34 yards.
The Cub defense yielded 154 yards to Roland-Story. Caleb Kooiker had 5.5 tackles, Carter Franzen and Ross Uthe each tallied 2.5 and Adelmund, Fry, Kruschwitz, DaSilva and Isaac Pantoja two apiece.
Roland-Story finished 1-8 overall and 0-5 in 2A District 7. Patton threw for 117 yards and ran for a touchdown, Twedt had three catches for 92 yards and made 10.5 tackles, Selby tallied 25 yards rushing and Adam McIlrath made 9.5 tackles and Jackson Sterle nine for the Norsemen.
Nevada 27, Roland-Story 14
RS 0 7 7 0 - 14
N 0 7 12 8 - 27
RS - Luke Patton 2 run (Patrick Gonzels kick), 6:09.
N - Keaton Fry 3 run (Kody Kruschwitz kick), 0:42.
RS - Kyle Selby 60 interception return (Gonzales kick), 6:52.
N - Fry 4 run (kick failed), 5:08.
N - Fry 2 run (pass failed), 0:34.
N - Fry 15 run (Fry run), 3:42.
Team statistics RS N
First downs 8 27
Rushes-yards 19-37 61-306
Passing 8-21-0 5-11-1
Passing yards 117 34
Total yards 154 350
Fumbles-lost 0-0 2-2
Punts-average 6-30.7 2-42.0
Penalties-yards 9-48 5-35
Rushing: RS - Kyle Selby 14-25, Zach Twedt 3-22, Luke Patton 2-(-10). N - Keaton Fry 33-161, Caden Jones 25-129, Caeden DaSilva 2-10, Kody Kruschwitz 1-6.
Passing: RS - Patton 8-21-0-117. N - Fry 5-9-1-34, Kruschwitz 0-2-0-0.
Receiving: RS - Twedt 3-92, Caleb Markwardt 4-13, Ty Thompson 1-12. N - DaSilva 4-34, Blake Bottorf 1-0.
Tackles: RS - Twedt 10.5, Adam McIlrath 9.5, Jackson Sterle 9, Wyatt Bunn 7.5, Will Bunn 4, David Downs 4, Patrick Gonzales 4. N - Caleb Kooiker 5.5, Carter Franzen 2.5, Ross Uthe 2.5, Noah Adelmund 2, Fry 2, Kruschwitz 2, Isaac Pantoja 2, DaSilva 2.
Sacks: N - Jones.
Fumble recoveries: RS - Logan Schnurr.
Interceptions: RS - Selby.