Royals had record run in 2015

Joe RandlemanStaff Writer
Royals had record run in 2015

A talented and experienced group of athletes turned in a memorable season for the Colo-Nesco football team in 2015.

Under the guidance of head coach Josh Nessa, Colo-Nesco went 9-3 overall and placed third in 8-man District 5 with a 4-2 record. The Royals capped the outstanding season by reaching the quarterfinals of the 8-man playoffs for the first time in school history.

“This was a record-breaking year for us,” Nessa said. “Our players peaked at the right time. Although we had some tough losses the last half of the season, we played very competitively despite some of the scores. Our team chemistry was excellent this year and our seniors showed very good leadership.”

Colo-Nesco completely overpowered its first six opponents.

In its season opener Colo-Nesco hammered Clarksville by an 82-16 score. The next week the Royals got a big measure of revenge against a Melcher-Dallas squad that bumped them from the playoffs last year, blanking the Saints by a 65-0 score.

Charter Oak-Ute was Colo-Nesco’s next victim. The Royals stomped the Bobcats by a 74-24 score at Colo.

District play opened with a 39-20 Royal victory at Meskwaki. Colo-Nesco then dismantled Dunkerton by a 54-6 score and trounced Tri-County, 71-6.

After a bye week, Colo-Nesco went up against No. 1 and eventual 8-man District 5 champion Don Bosco. The Royals’ winning streak came to a close with a 64-6 loss.

The Royals bounced back strong from the Don Bosco setback. In their final home game, they earned their most lopsided victory of the season with an 86-0 drubbing of English Valleys.

The regular season came to a close with a game against H-L-V to determine second place in 8-man District 5. Colo-Nesco came up short in a tremendous defensive battle, 12-3.

“The keys to our playoff run was playing good competition toward the end of our regular season,” Nessa said. “We faced state runner-up Don Bosco and a tough H-L-V team that made it to the second round.”

Playoff competition opened up with a road game against Wayne on Oct. 28. The Royals turned heads with an impressive 43-7 victory.

On Nov. 2, Colo-Nesco added another impressive road playoff win. The Royals whipped previously unbeaten Moravia by a 51-20 score to earn a trip to the quarterfinals to face No. 2 Newell-Fonda.

The road magic didn’t hold up for Colo-Nesco against the undefeated Mustangs. The Royals’ season came to a close with a 49-0 setback.

“I have to admit that it was a bit of a surprise to make it to the quarterfinals,” Nessa said. “We had some very favorable matchups in Wayne and Moravia that really played into our strengths. We have had some success the last eight years both in 11 and 8-man football as we have made the playoffs in five of the eight years. This year we made it to the second round for a third time. Getting to the quarterfinals is a huge step for our program and I hope to continue a great tradition.”

Colo-Nesco averaged 47.8 points and 310.1 yards per game. The Royals gave up just 18.6 points and 221.2 yards per contest.

On offense Colo-Nesco was led by all-district running back Garret Tiarks. The talented junior ran for 1,589 yards and 28 touchdowns on 211 carries and also caught three passes for 42 yards.

Quarterback Brady Stoeffler completed 24 of 59 passes for 346 yards with eight touchdowns. He also ran for 523 yards and 14 touchdowns on 107 carries.

Grant Tiarks ran for 518 yards and six touchdowns on 46 carries and Garrett Packer picked up 225 yards and four touchdowns rushing on 34 attempts. Tanner Clatt was the leading Royal receiver with 16 catches for 185 yards and five touchdowns and tight end Dacian Wilson added two catches for 55 yards and one touchdown.

Michael Starling, Brandon Jacobs and Bryce Niemeyer did a tremendous job on the offensive line for Colo-Nesco.

On defense Garret Tiarks totaled 90 tackles, 21 tackles for loss, six interceptions, 5.5 sacks and two interceptions returned for touchdown at linebacker. Grant Tiarks had 61.5 tackles, 13 tackles for loss, five interceptions - including three returned for touchdowns - one sack and one fumble returned for a touchdown.

Packer stepped up with 56 tackles, nine tackles for loss, 3.5 sacks and one fumble returned for a touchdown. Wilson had 45 tackles, 15 tackles for loss, nine sacks, two safeties and one fumble recovery.

Clatt was an all-district performer on special teams for the Royals. He made 27 of 30 extra points and three field goals - with a long of 42 yards - on the season.

Next year Colo-Nesco will have a tough task replacing several talented seniors in Grant Tiarks, Wilson, Starling, Stoeffler, Clatt, Jacobs and offensive lineman Hunter Beard. The Royals also may have to potentially endure other changes as 2016 will be a redistricting year.

“In some ways next season will begin like this one,” Nessa said. “We are graduating seven seniors, which account for 11 of our 16 starting positions. Like this season, some young and inexperienced players will really have to step up. It will be very interesting to see what happens the next few years with 8-man football as several schools will be moving into and out of the 8-man class. At this time we have no idea which direction we will be going as we are in a redistricting year. As a coaching staff, we will need to make adjustments to fit next year’s team.”