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Prep Notebook: Cozad football off to best start to season since 2013
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Prep Notebook: Cozad football off to best start to season since 2013

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COZAD — The Cozad football team snapped a five-game losing streak against Adams Central last Friday to also mark the program’s best start in eight years.

With the 18-15 victory, the Haymakers improved to 4-0 for the first time since Cozad won the Class C1 state title in 2013.

“Our offense did a great job of getting a couple first downs to run out the clock,” Cozad first-year coach Jayce Dueland said of the win. “The whole fourth quarter was up-and-down and emotional. I liked the way our kids handled their emotions and battled. It was definitely a four-quarter battle that we had to squeak out.”

It was Cozad’s second win this season that has been by one possession as the Haymakers edged Gothenburg 20-17 in the season opener.

Cozad is fifth in Class C1 in the latest Omaha World-Herald state prep football rankings.

“We have some guys with the mentality of, ‘Whatever it takes to win the game.’,” Dueland said. “We have the luxury of having a bunch of athletes on our team. It hasn’t been the same guy every week but it seems like someone always steps up to make a play (at the end).”

One of the Haymakers’ key athletes has been quarterback Nolan Wetovick, who is among the state leaders as he has averaged 265.5 all-purpose yards this season. He passed for 195 yards and rushed for 83 more and accounted for three touchdowns against Adams Central.

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“Nolan does a great job of being a leader, managing the game and understanding when we need to check into the right play,” Dueland said. “That’s the luxury of having a three-year (starting) quarterback.

“He’s a kid that is always trying to become better,” Dueland said. “That’s a great mentality to have.”

He said the Haymakers have the right mindset overall.

“Our team morale is really on a high after a win like that against Adams Central,” Dueland said. “Our confidence has been building ... but you have to make sure you keep that confidence. You kind of humble yourself and reset each week because we have a good Holdrege team coming in.”

Notable performances

» North Platte’s Zarah Blaesi finished first in the Grand Island Invite on Tuesday. Blaesi finished the 5,000 meter course in 19 minutes, 17.72 seconds. She led a pack of Bulldogs runners at the Jackrabbit Run Golf Course as Marissa Holm and Evelyn Blaesi placed second and third, respectively. Nelia Rivas and Jada Hothan were fifth and sixth as the Bulldogs won the meet with 17 points.

» Arthur County senior quarterback Bryce Hanna threw for a season-high 316 yards and eight touchdowns in a win over Paxton last Friday. Hannah went 15-of-20 in the game and has averaged 268.8 yards per game this season for the Wolves, who are 3-1 overall.

» Medicine Valley sophomore setter Kylie Rose had 24 and 22 assists in a loss to Hitchcock County and Axtell last Thursday and Friday, respectively. Rose also had a combined 24 digs in the two matches and has averaged six assists per set this season.

— Those with a prep notebook story idea, or who wish to share or an athlete or team accomplishment to highlight can email tim.johnson@nptelegraph.com or call at 308-535-4724.

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