Cubs fall to No. 9 Bombers in 3A second round, 28-7: Nevada finishes outstanding season at 6-3

Joe Randleman
Nevada Journal
Nevada receiver Caeden DaSilva tries to slip by Ballard's Mason Murphy (2) after making a reception during the Cubs' 28-7 loss to the No. 9 Bombers in the 3A football playoff second round Friday at Goeppinger Field in Boone. Nevada finished the season with a 6-3 record.

BOONE - Nevada struck first against No. 9 Ballard in the second round of the Class 3A football playoffs Friday, but the Cubs didn’t land any blows after that in a 28-7 loss to the Bombers at Goeppinger Field.

 Nevada came out and hit Ballard in the mouth right off the bat. The Cubs went 80 yards on 15 plays, capped by a 26-yard touchdown pass from Blake Bottorf to Ayden Rhodes.

But after that it was all Ballard.

Sam Petersen had touchdown runs of one and 61 yards and Connor Drew added another short touchdown run to put the Bombers up 21-7 at the half. The Cub defense rose to the occasion in the second half - keeping Ballard’s offense off the board over the final two quarters.

But the Bombers’ Nick Wacha blocked a punt and returned it for a touchdown with two minutes left in the third quarter. That sewed up the game as Nevada’s offense was unable to mount any serious threats in the second half - finishing with just 193, including just 113 after its opening drive.

Nevada's Cooper Bovee comes down with a reception in front of Ballard's Connor Finch during the Cubs' 28-7 loss to the Bombers in the second round of the 3A playoffs Friday. Bovee had two catches for 49 yards.

Ballard improved to 8-1 with the victory. Nevada finished 6-3.

Nevada head coach Andrew Kleeman was thoroughly impressed with Ballard.

“I think they have the potential to make a real deep run into the playoffs,” Kleeman said. “They’ve got a really good football team. Hope the best for them.”

He just wishes he could’ve played the Bombers at full strength. Nevada was missing a few key players and a couple more were playing at less than 100 percent.

“We’ve been really banged up and had a lot of changes within practice and personnel,” Kleeman said. “That certainly had an effect on the game. But I thought our kids played hard until the end. I’m super-proud of this group of kids.”

Bottorf threw for 137 yards and ran for 33 for Nevada. Caeden DaSilva made six receptions for 54 yards and Cooper Bovee had two grabs for 49.

Nevada quarterback Blake Bottorf had 137 yards and one touchdown passing and 33 yards rushing in a losing effort against Ballard in the second round of the 3A playoffs Friday in Boone.

On defense James Edwards, Caleb Kooiker and Cael Franzen were all over the field for Nevada. The trio played outstanding in a losing effort, finishing with 11, 10 and nine tackles respectively.

Caden Jones added 5.5 stops despite not being at 100 percent and Bovee finished with 4.5.

“Hats off to Nevada,” Ballard senior Mason Murphy said. “They’re a great football team.”

Murphy had six carries for 82 yards, Drew 16 for 62 and Gabe Christensen 18 for 69 for Ballard. Petersen went for 100 yards on just nine carries before going down with an injury in the second quarter.

Ballard ended up with 310 rushing yards. On defense Murphy had 10.5 tackles, Logan Harmeyer six, Jeremiah Wilkinson 5.5, Wacha five and Connor Finch four and Colby Calvert added an interception for the Bombers.

Ballard will face No. 7 Lewis Central in the 3A third round this Friday at Council Bluffs.

Even though the Cubs came up short, they have a lot to build off of during the offseason. After sharing a district title in 2A last year, Nevada fielded its first competitive 3A team in a long time this season.

“I think this is only the beginning,” Kleeman said. “The best is yet to come for Nevada football.” 


Ballard 28, Nevada 7

N   7     0   0   0 - 7

B   7   14   7   0 - 28




First quarter

N - Ayden Rhodes 26 pass from Blake Bottorf (Rhodes kick), 4:56.

B - Sam Petersen 1 run (Obi Soash kick), 0:30.

Second quarter

B - Petersen 61 run (Soash kick), 10:49.

B - Connor Drew 1 run (Soash kick), 0:30.

Third quarter

B - Nick Wacha 7 blocked punt return (Soash kick), 2:00.


Team statistics N B

Rushes-yards 25-56 49-310

Passing 11-22-1 2-7-0

Passing yards 137 20

Total yards 193 330

Fumbles lost 0 0

Punts-average 5-36.0 3-28.3


Individual statistics

Rushing: N - Blake Bottorf 10-33, James Edwards 8-17, Caden Jones 6-10, Ayden Rhodes 1-(-4). B - Sam Petersen 9-100, Mason Murphy 6-82, Gabe Christensen 18-69, Connor Drew 16-62.  

Passing: N - Bottorf 11-22-1-137. B - Drew 2-7-0-20.

Receiving: N - Caeden DaSilva 6-54, Cooper Bovee 2-49, Ayden Rhodes 1-26, Grant Higgins 2-8. B - Nolan Schonhorst 2-20.

Tackles: N - Edwards 11, Caleb Kooiker 10, Cael Franzen 9, Jones 5.5, Bovee 4.5. B - Murphy 10.5, Harmeyer 6, Jeremiah Wilkinson 5.5, Nick Wacha 5, Connor Finch 4.

Interceptions: B - Colby Calvert.