Young Cubs endure growing pains in 2015

Story and photo by Joe Randleman
Young Cubs endure growing pains in 2015

Nevada closed out the season against Newton on the road. The Cubs were handed a 42-19 defeat.

For the season Nevada averaged 19.0 points and 245.3 yards per game on total offense. The Cubs averaged 131 passing and 114.3 rushing yards per contest.

Macade Matuska had one of the most prolific passing seasons in Nevada history in his first season at quarterback for Nevada. A big part of that was the explosive playmaking of Sellberg and fellow back/receiver Peyton Sharp.

Matuska completed 71 of 148 passes for 1,171 yards and 12 touchdowns with five interceptions on the season. He also ran for one touchdown.

Sellberg caught 18 passes for 446 yards and six touchdowns. He added 346 yards rushing on an average of 7.2 yards per carry and six touchdowns.

Sharp made 17 receptions for 315 yards and three touchdowns. On the ground Sharp picked up 162 yards and three touchdowns on an average of 4.4 yards per carry.

Seniors Joseph Heintz and Bennett Thompson and sophomores Omunique Wilkerson and Luke Merfeld were Nevada’s other top receiving threats. Heintz caught 10 passes for 104 yards and one touchdown, Thompson made five grabs for 87 yards and one score, Wilkerson corralled 11 receptions for 103 yards and one touchdown and Merfeld made four grabs for 50 yards.

Junior tailback A.J. Strottman was the top rusher for Nevada. Strottman ran for 600 yards and one touchdown on 107 carries and he added four receptions for 15 yards.

On the offensive line Nevada was led by senior Chris Dobernecker, an all-district honorable mention pick.

Defensively, Nevada gave up 36.6 points and 373.9 yards per game. The Cubs allowed 272.7 yards rushing and 101.2 passing per game.

All-district linebacker Luke Fevold and senior linebacker Alex Peebles anchored the Cubs on defense.

Fevold made 39 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss and one sack, interception and fumble recovery apiece during his sophomore season. Peebles led Nevada with 54 tackles and he had 3.5 tackles for loss, one sack and one fumble recovery.

Senior all-district defensive back Lane Hillock had 43 tackles and one fumble recovery for Nevada. Thompson made 40 tackles and one interception and senior linebacker Jace Zook ended up with 32 tackles, two tackles for loss and one interception.

Dobernecker and Sellberg made 31 tackles apiece, sophomore Trent Stahl recorded 27 stops, senior defensive lineman Salvador Garcia racked up 25 tackles, junior Simon Saunders registered 23 stops, Sharp picked up 21.5 tackles and senior Bernardo Pantoja chipped in 20.5.

Dobernecker had six tackles for loss, four sacks and one fumble recovery and Sellberg picked up one tackle for loss and one fumble recovery. Garcia had three fumble recoveries and two tackles for loss, Saunders delivered three sacks and a fumble recovery, Sharp contributed one tackle for loss and one fumble recovery and Pantoja chipped in one sack.

Merfeld made 11 tackles and Carter Bremer recovered one fumble for the Cubs.

On special teams, Fevold was 19 of 20 on extra points and Parker Walden made 2 of 4 attempts. Sharp averaged 36.1 yards on 36 punts and averaged 21.7 yards on 10 kickoff returns and Sellberg returned 22 kickoffs for an average of 22.5 yards with one touchdown.

With the return of most of its top skill players next season, Nevada will be poised to take the next step and get in the win column during district play.

“The offseason will be huge for us,” Asmus said. “If we want to bridge the gap between ourselves and the premiere teams in our district, we have to get bigger, stronger, more physical and develop a sense of confidence in team success. That is much easier said than done. Our mindset has to be, ‘why not Nevada?’ If we can get our kids to believe and commit themselves to offseason training and preparation the sky is the limit for our players.”