Nevada High School freshman squad cruises past Willard

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Nevada Daily Mail

The Nevada High School freshman football team opened its season with a 30-12 thumping of the Willard High School freshman Monday night at Logan Field.

With temperatures nearing 100 degrees, kickoff was moved back an hour.

Running the ball exclusively on their opening drive, Willard nearly chewed up the entire first quarter clock. The time consuming drive, however, did not yield any points, as Willard turned the ball over on downs on the Nevada 33 yard line.

On Nevada's first possession, running back Zach Gardner eluded several Willard defenders on his way to a 35-yard run.

On the first play of the second quarter, Nevada second-string quarterback Branden Harder took a quarterback sweep in for an 18-yard touchdown. Gardner converted the two-point conversion on a successful run play, giving Nevada an 8-0 lead.

Matt Resnick/Daily Mail Nevada High School freshman team second-string quarterback, Branden Harder (14), picks up 11 yards on this rushing attempt against the Willard freshman team defense ---- during the team's 30-12 victory Monday night at Logan Field.

"Offensively I though everything looked really good," NHS assistant coach Kirk Miller said. "I thought our kids clicked. The running backs ran hard. The quarterbacks made good reads on the option. And I just thought overall that we did really well.

"We knew we had some team speed. And that's one of the reasons we like to run the option. We can get the pitch and get around the edge with our quick kids."

Willard responded on its next possession, as quarterback Nate Swadley, breaking multiple tackles, went in for a 34-yard rushing touchdown. After a failed two-point conversion, Willard trailed 8-6, with 6:24 remaining in the half.

Later in the second quarter, Nevada starting quarterback Braeden Hinton, completed a pass to wide receiver Shelby Trotter, for an 11-yard touchdown, marking the first pass play of the game by either team. After a failed two-point conversion, Nevada led 14-6 with 5:48 remaining in the half.

After getting the ball back, Willard quickly drove down field and inside the Nevada 10 yard line. On second and goal, Willard running back Josh Ogden, on a half back option, found open teammate Chandler Murray in the end zone. The two-point conversion failed, and Nevada led 14-12 at half time.

Miller said he was impressed with the team's defensive effort in the second half.

"Defensively in the second half we came out with a lot of fire," he said. "We flew to the football and made good plays."

Late in the third quarter, Nevada hit for another big play, when Hinton completed a 41-yard touchdown strike to Hunter Mason. A successful two-point conversion put Nevada up 22-12.

"It's pretty simple football," Miller said. "Use the run to setup the pass."

Nevada added a final touchdown with 5:58 remaining in the game, when Gardner scampered into the end zone from 7-yards out.

Nevada High School head football coach Erik Yoakam, said he was impressed with the freshman team's talent-level.

"Watching this group of ninth graders come up through middle school ---- they did a pretty good job last year," Yoakam said. "And, it's carrying over."

The freshman team next faces West Central Conference opponent, Center High School (K.C.) at 5 p.m., Sep. 2, at home.

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