NEVADA – With its season hanging in the balance, the Nevada football team made the plays when they mattered most in a pivotal home game versus South Hardin Friday at Cub Stadium in Nevada.
Chase Dobson scored three touchdowns in the fourth quarter and the Cub defense made two crucial stops in the final eight minutes to give Nevada a 34-27 comeback victory over South Hardin to snap a five-game losing streak.
“When you’ve lost five straight, you always wonder what’s going to happen once you get down,” Nevada head coach John Pelzer said. “We faced adversity a number of times and the kids just kept fighting back. The kids just never quit and we started to make some plays. My hat’s off to everybody; it was a good high school football game.”
Even with the losing skid, the Cubs entered the South Hardin game still in the playoff hunt. Three straight victories to close out the season would garner the Cubs their second-straight playoff berth and they took a major step toward that goal Friday.
Dobson was a major reason Nevada pulled through against South Hardin.
South Hardin had taken a 27-20 lead on a 21-yard touchdown pass from Sam Shindelar to Eric Mulder on a fourth-and-4 play with nine minutes, eight seconds left in the fourth quarter. But it took less than one minute for Nevada to respond, thanks to Dobson as he caught a dump off pass from Cub quarterback Brandon Burke on a second-and-8 play from the Nevada 38 and raced 62 yards down the near sideline for a touchdown with 8:15 to go in the fourth.
That pulled Nevada within a point, but the Cubs were unable to tie the score on the extra point due to a bobbled snap.
After a defensive stand Nevada got the ball back on its own 22. Two plays later, Dobson took a sweep to the outside and followed some big blocks from his line and receiver T.J. Fey before outrunning the Tiger defense for a huge 77-yard touchdown run to give Nevada the lead with 4:06 remaining.
Dobson then scored on a determined two-point conversion run to put Nevada up by one touchdown heading into the final four minutes of regulation.
“The reception wasn’t designed to go to me, but Burke made a really good play and got out of pressure, threw it to me and we capitalized,” Dobson said. “On the run I was told by one of my buddies (Fey) that he had my back and apparently he had a couple good blocks down field and I couldn’t do it without him.”
Dobson also had a 27-yard run 10 seconds into the fourth quarter as he ran over South Hardin’s Bobby Hatton before racing across the goal line. In the first half Dobson had touchdown runs of 43 and 6 yards as ended up with 271 yards rushing on 26 carries to top the 200-yard mark for the fourth time this season.
“I can’t give it to anybody but the line,” Dobson said. “They did their best tonight and they’ve made 100-percent improvement in the last two games.”
As important as the big plays by Dobson were in the fourth quarter, the Nevada defense made every bit as much of a difference in the final outcome.
From his team’s last drive of the first half through the first four minutes of the fourth quarter Shindelar had been shredding the Nevada defense through the air. The Tiger quarterback also teamed with tailback Chandler Hallett to kill Nevada on draw plays up the middle, and those two factors resulted in four South Hardin touchdowns during that stretch.
But Nevada came through with huge stops on South Hardin’s final two drives of the game to help bring home the win for the Cubs.
After Dobson gave Nevada the lead the Cub defense stepped up and forced a three-and-out as the Tigers were forced to punt with 3:19 left in the fourth period. After the Cub offense ran some clock South Hardin got the ball back at midfield with 36 seconds left.
After a competition to the Nevada 39 Shindelar had three straight incomplete passes, with two of those being broken up by Nevada’s Erik Fevold and Traye Pelzer. Then on fourth down Pelzer stuck with a Tiger receiver over the middle and picked off Shindelar at the Cub 9-yard line to put the final nail in the coffin.
“I knew they wanted to isolate some of their taller receivers and I saw the quarterback’s eyes and kind of followed them,” Pelzer said of his big interception. “It felt awesome. It was a big defensive effort on everybody’s part. It came down to our toughness – coach told us to grit our teeth and get after it.”
Shindelar completed 23 of 35 passes for 290 yards with three touchdowns and two interceptions and he also ran for 54 yards on five carries. Hallett picked up 83 yards rushing and 48 receiving.
Sam Shindelar was the top Tiger receiver with six catches for 126 yards and one touchdown. Mulder caught four passes for 47 yards and one score and Bobby Hatton made two receptions for 39 yards and a touchdown.
South Hardin finished with 429 yards of total offense compared to Nevada’s 478 as the Tigers fell to 1-6 on the season and 1-4 in Class 2A District 7.
Pelzer finished with six tackles, Jake Barker also made six and Riley Huhn led Nevada with seven. Patrick Stephenson also came up big defensively for the Cubs as he made five stops and intercepted a pass on South Hardin’s first drive of the game to squash a great scoring opportunity for the Tigers.
Nevada improved to 2-5 overall and picked up its first district victory to go to 1-3 in the district. The Cubs have an excellent chance for another victory next Friday as they travel to Le Grand to take on a winless East Marshall squad.
“They’ve had a rough season, but last time we went over there we got knots beat on our heads,” John Pelzer said. “The kids will have to get back down on the ground on Monday, but I told them they should enjoy the weekend. Tonight was a great team win and makes us forget about the last five weeks.”
The Nevada-East Marshall game is set to start at 7:30 p.m.
Nevada 34, South Hardin 27
SH 0 6 14 7 – 27
N 7 6 0 21 – 34
N – Chase Dobson 6 run (Erik Fevold kick), 3:11
N – Dobson 43 run (kick failed), 3:29
SH – Bobby Hatton 18 pass from Sam Shindelar (kick failed), 0:45
SH – David Shindelar 27 pass from S. Shindelar (Eric Mulder kick), 8:03
SH – Chandler Hallett 4 run (Mulder kick), 1:24
N – Dobson 27 run (Fevold kick), 11:50
SH – Mulder 21 pass from S. Shindelar (Mulder kick), 9:08
N – Dobson 62 pass from Brandon Burke (kick failed), 8:15
N – Dobson 77 run (Dobson run), 4:06
Team statistics SH N
First downs 18 20
Rushes-yards 20-139 56-381
Passing 23-35-2 3-6-0
Passing yards 290 102
Total yards 429 483
Fumbles-lost 0-0 0-0
Punts-average 4-36.7 3-41.6
Penalties-yards 5-25 7-45
Rushing: SH – Chandler Hallett 14-83, Sam Shindelar 5-54, Bridger Lawrence 1-2. N – Chase Dobson 26-271, Riley Huhn 15-76, Patrick Stephenson 5-44, Brandon Burke 6-(-1).
Passing: SH – Shindelar 23-35-2-290. N – Burke 2-5-1-78, Dobson 1-1-0-24.
Receiving: SH – David Shindelar 6-126, Hallett 3-48, Eric Mulder 4-47, Bobby Hatton 2-39, Jordan Wilkie 3-17, Cody Haley 2-13. Dobson 1-62, T.J. Fey 2-40.
Tackles: N – Huhn 7, Jake Barker 6, Traye Pelzer 6, Stephenson 5.
Interceptions: N – Pelzer, Stephenson.