Cozad controlled the line of scrimmage, gaining 529 total yards on the ground, and avoided a late rally from the Holdrege Dusters to win at home 32-21. Click here to listen to the broadcast.
Cozad set the tone early, with a 9 play, 80 yard touchdown drive by trading carries between junior quarterback Nolan Wetovick and junior running back Jacob Weatherly. Weatherly was the recipient of a 16 yard touchdown toss to end the drive. The point after was missed, giving the Haymakers the early 6-0 lead.
Holdrege proceeded their first drive with many downfield throws, but eventually punted. After trading punts from both sides, the start of the second quarter showed an offensive explosion for Cozad. On a third down and long, Wetovick scrambled to his right and found a crossing Weatherly downfield, who took the pass 61 yards into paydirt.
After another Holdrege stalled drive, Cozad responded with a quick strike to their senior receiver Jacob Engel, as he flew downfield on a post route and Wetovick hit him in stride for the 40 yard touchdown toss to extend their lead to 20-0 before the halftime bell sounded.
Holdrege came out with a different offensive strategy to start the third quarter, beginning to lineup immediately at the line of scrimmage after each offensive play while awaiting the play call from their sideline. This fast pace worked in the favor of the Dusters, as sophomore quarterback Jackson Hinrichs patiently moved the ball down the field on short runs by himself and senior running back Sam Holt. The drive capped off with an moonshot toss to senior receiver Dashton Edgren for a 39 yard touchdown toss.
As Holdrege began to feel momentum shifting to their side, Wetovick responded with an 80 yard touchdown run on the first play of the Haymakers second half drive. The junior quarterback ran untouched down the Cozad sideline, extending the lead to 26-7.
Holdrege wasn’t going down without a fight, as the Dusters responded with another touchdown drive capped by a 59 yard touchdown reception by sophomore running back Jayden Jannsen. Jannsen caught a short pass and took the open field with plenty of blockers in front of him to find enough space to work his way into the endzone, cutting the lead down to 26-14.
Cozad would score again on a long touchdown drive, capped by an 8 yard touchdown run by Nathan Engel. Before the final gun sounded on the third quarter, Jannsen would return to the endzone with a 33 yard touchdown run making the score 32-21 heading into the final quarter.
Cozad played conservatively into the fourth quarter, burning plenty of time off of the game clock on their offensive possessions. Holdrege would have some opportunities to drive down the field, but sacks from senior Gunnar Armagost ended the Dusters chances.
Cozad improves to 4-1 on the season, and they saw huge contributions from their junior tandem as Wetovick finished with 15 carries and 131 yards rushing, as well as 205 yards passing, and Weatherly earning 145 yards on 17 carries and adding in 111 yards on 5 receptions with 2 touchdowns. Nathan Engel also added 21 yards on the ground, and Jacob Engel added 64 yards receiving on 4 receptions with one touchdown. The Haymakers will face 3-1 Ogallala on the road next week.
Holdrege will fall to 2-3, but did see good turnouts from Jackson Hinrichs, finishing with 167 yards passing and 2 touchdowns, and adding 57 yards on the ground. Jannsen finished his night with 84 yards receiving and 53 yards rushing, while Edgren had 61 yards receiving and a touchdown. Holdrege returns home to Keifer field next week against the Minden Whippets.