No. 5 Nevada 28, No. 10 Algona 14: What we learned from the Cubs' win

Joe Randleman
Ames Tribune

NEVADA — The fifth-ranked Nevada football team scored its biggest win to date with a 28-14 victory over No. 10 Algona in a Class 3A District 2 showdown Friday.

An aggressive Cub defense made life miserable for Algona quarterback Tyler Manske and the Bulldog offense. The Cubs' passing game wasn't clicking, but Nevada was able to wear down Algona's defense with a strong rushing attack.

The victory kept Nevada undefeated at 7-0 overall and 3-0 in 3A District 2. Algona fell to 5-2 and 2-1 respectively.

"We're 7-0," Nevada quarterback James Edwards said. "That's all that matters right now."

Here is what we learned from the Cubs' impressive district victory over the Bulldogs:

Defense does its job up front

The Nevada defensive line was outstanding Friday night.

The Cubs put constant pressure on Manske — one of the best quarterbacks in 3A — to greatly limit his effectiveness. Algona receiver Trevon Smith caught one touchdown pass from 8 yards out in the second quarter, had a 35-yard reception earlier in the game and Carlos Gomez made a 27-yard touchdown catch in garbage time. And that was pretty much all Nevada gave up through the air.

Nevada had six sacks and was especially aggressive in the first half to set the tone. Defensive end Gavin Melohn led the charge for the Cubs with 2.5 sacks.

"We were trying to get back there (in the backfield) as much as possible," Melohn said. "We knew he has an arm and we were just trying to take that away."

Connor Schnettgoecke, Rhodes and Carson Mather each had one sack and linebacker Cael Franzen chipped in half a sack along with eigth tackles. Caleb Kooiker finished with 10.5 tackles, Dylan Fritz recovered a fumble and Ty Dittmer intercepted a pass for the Cubs.

FRIDAY NIGHT COVERAGE

Cubs also win up front on offense

The Nevada offensive line was also fantastic.

The Algona defense dedicated a lot of its attention to taking out Cub star receiver Caeden DaSilva. Nevada simply took what the Bulldogs gave them and pounded the ball right at them for most of the night, finishing with 357 yards on the ground.

Edwards ran for a 6-yard touchdown in the first quarter and added a 7-yard scoring run in the second to give Nevada a 14-6 lead at the half. Running back Cason Stevenson followed up a blocked punt by the Cubs' Carson Rhodes with a 12-yard touchdown run with 4:11 left in the third quarter to provide needed cushion.

Stevenson ended up with 204 yards rushing on just 16 carries.

"I just trust in my line," Stevenson said. "We work so hard for this. I have to give a shoutout to my line. They're the reason why I got all of those yards."

Edwards iced the game with his third touchdown on a 25-yard run with 4:05 left in the fourth quarter. He had 142 yards rushing.

Right guard Holden Fry played a big role in his success on the ground by leading the way on sweep-plow runs for big gains.

"As an offensive line, we pride ourselves on being dominant on the line of scrimmage," Fry said. "We know that games are won in the trenches."

A bigger challenge awaits next week

Nevada faces an even tougher foe next Friday. The Cubs go on the road to face seventh-ranked and unbeaten Humboldt (7-0) in a game that could decide the district championship.

"They're good, but I think our defense is good too," Edwards said. "I think we can stop their powerful offense. We break teams down (on offense). We did that tonight and I think we're going to be able to do that next week."

Nevada 28, Algona 14

Algona        0        6        0        8 — 14

Nevada        7        7        7        7 — 28

Individual statistical leaders

Rushing: Nevada — Cason Stevenson 16-204. Algona — Lamorn Ulfers 16-88.

Passing: Nevada — James Edwards 4-7-1-41. Algona — Tyler Manske 15-27-1-212.

Receiving: Nevada — Colin Memmer 2-23. Algona — Trevon Smith 4-59.

Tackles: Nevada — Caleb Kooiker 10.5 Algona — Alex Manske 9.

Sacks: Nevada — Gavin Melohn 2.5. Algona — Smith 1.

Fumble recoveries: Nevada — Dylan Fritz. Algona — A. Manske 1.

Interceptions: Nevada — Ty Dittmer 1. Algona — T. Manske 1.