NEVADA - An aggressive attitude on both sides of the ball paid off for North Polk in a 42-21 victory over Nevada Friday on homecoming night at Cub Stadium in Nevada.
The Comets returned two interceptions for touchdowns and made a big goal-line stand, building a 28-0 lead. Nevada put together a late offensive flurry, but North Polk easily withstood it to earn its first Class 3A District 6 win of the season.
“We brought it to them instead of letting them bring it to us,” North Polk defensive lineman Caleb Lomica said.
Alec Bolletta delivered the big backbreaker for North Polk. In the final minute of the first half, Bolletta stepped in front of a desperation pass by Nevada’s Trent Stahl and ran it back 82 yards to put his team up 14-0 with just 28 seconds on the clock.
North Polk already had momentum going its way prior to Bolletta’s huge play.
An 8-yard Mason Russell touchdown run gave the Comets a 7-0 lead late in the first quarter. Midway through the second quarter, North Polk made a huge defensive stand, stopping a fourth-down run by Nevada quarterback Cam Shill on on the Comet 1-yard line.
Comet quarterback Colten Parkins threw three interceptions in the first half. But his defense stood tall after each mistake, and in the second half, he came out and took it to the Cubs to help put the game away.
“Coach (Evan Groepper) just helped me and the team calm down,” Parkins said. “We just capitalized on their mistakes and scored touchdowns on them.”
Parkins found Russell on a 21-yard touchdown pass to cap a 68-yard drive to open the second half for North Polk. He then came up huge on defense, picking off Cub quarterback Cam Shill and running it back 80 yards to put the final nail in Nevada’s coffin with 7:34 to go in the third quarter.
North Polk prevailed despite being outgained 400-310 in total yards.
Nevada did most of its damage after the game had been decided, scoring three touchdowns in the fourth quarter, but never getting closer than 21 points. Russell added two more touchdown runs in the fourth quarter to help his team maintain a comfortable edge.
Russell finished the game with four touchdowns. He gashed the Nevada defense for 146 yards and three touchdowns rushing on 25 carries, and also caught two passes for 69 yards and one score.
“It was just all the offensive line,” Russell said. “They opened up holes and I just took advantage of the holes.”
Parkins threw for 141 yards and Quinten Sommers made three catches for 31 yards.
Lomica was the driving force behind North Polk’s success on defense. He made an impressive 13.5 tackles on the defensive line and came up with two sacks.
Erik Lackore added an interception for the Comets on defense.
The win put North Polk at 2-3 overall and 1-2 in 3A District 6. Nevada dropped to 3-2 and 1-2 respectively.
Jakob Strottman ran for 183 yards and one touchdown for Nevada in a losing effort. Brendan Sellberg ran for 106 yards, including a 77-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter, Stahl had four catches for 36 yards and Om’Unique Wilkerson chipped in an 8-yard touchdown run for the Cubs.
Sam Abraham, Stahl and Jack Higgins each had one interception for the Cubs.
North Polk hosts a powerful Carlisle team (4-1, 2-1) for its homecoming game next Friday in Alleman. The game is set to begin at 7 p.m.
North Polk 42, Nevada 21
NP 7 7 14 14 - 42
N 0 0 0 21 - 21
NP - Mason Russell 8 run (Collin Swygman kick), 2:42.
NP - Alec Bolletta 82 interception return (Swygman kick), 0:28.
NP - Russell 21 pass from Colten Parkins (Swygman kick), 10:29.
NP - Parkins 80 interception return (Swygman kick), 7:34.
N - Om’Unique Wilkerson 8 run (Jack Cahill kick), 11:51.
NP - Russell 10 run (Swygman kick), 8:17.
NP - Russell 12 run (Swygman kick), 6:11.
N - Brendan Sellberg 77 run (Luke Fevold kick), 4:51.
N - Jakob Strottman 1 run (Fevold kick), 0:07.
Team statistics NP N
First downs 20 22
Rushes-yards 30-169 48-322
Passing 11-17-3 8-22-3
Passing yards 141 78
Total yards 310 400
Fumbles-lost 0-0 0-0
Punts-average 1-40.0 1-66.0
Penalties-yards 53-9 3-24
Rushing: NP - Mason Russell 25-146, Colten Parkins 4-18, Jeff Lamp 1-5. N - Jakob Strottman 27-183, Brendan Sellberg 8-106, Trent Stahl 8-27, Om’Unique Wilkerson 1-8, Cam Shill 4-(-2).
Passing: NP - Parkins 11-17-3-141. N - Shill 8-21-2-78, Stahl 0-1-1-0.
Receiving: NP - Russell 2-69, Quinten Sommers 3-31, Colin Swygman 1-17, Lamp 1-10, Ryan Fausch 3-8, Austin McArthur 1-6. N - Stahl 4-36, Sellberg 3-23, Jack Higgins 1-23.
Tackles: NP - Caleb Lomica 13.5, Parkins 6, Lamp 5.5, Tyler Sinclair 5, Sully Hartsook 4.5, Alec Bolletta 4. N - Jack West 10.5, Preston Cattanach 8.5, Sam Abraham 5.5, Trent Stahl 5.5, Matt Chitty 4.
Sacks: NP - Lomica 2.
Interceptions: NP - Parkins, Bolletta, Erik Lackore. N - Abraham, Higgins, Stahl.