Humboldt ready for Top-10 showdown vs. Nevada

—Photo by Rick Thompson Humboldt quarterback caden matson throws a pass against Ballard during the Wildcats Homecoming game.

HUMBOLDT — Derrick Elman knows something special is brewing in Humboldt

On the field, the players can feel it, too.

The fourth-ranked Wildcats have run through their first seven opponents and are chasing their first district championship since 2012.

“This team has gelled better than any I’ve coached,” Elman said. “The kids genuinely care about each other, and are excited for each other’s success.

“I love how our kids clearly play for and love being around each other.”

With a win Friday night, the Wildcats (7-0 overall, 3-0 Class 3A, District 2) will assure themselves at least a share of the district crown.

Humboldt hosts seventh-ranked Nevada (7-0, 3-0) for the top spot on the district ladder. The Wildcats will host Algona (5-2, 2-1) in the final week. With two straight victories, Humboldt will be the district champion.

“This Friday’s game gives our team a special opportunity against a really good football team in Nevada,” Elman said. “They are a fundamentally sound team that has some very good football players.

“They have a good quarterback who can run the ball well. They want to run the ball, so we’ve got to be fundamentally sound on defense. When we’re on offense, we’ve got to make sure we make and maintain blocks. If we want to be successful, we’ve got to be good upfront.”

The Wildcats lead Class 3A in offensive yards with 3,111, while Nevada is fourth as a team in 3A with 1,778 rushing yards.

Humboldt is led by senior quarterback Caden Matson, who is second in 3A with 1,626 passing yards and tops the class with 32 combined touchdowns.

Matson is 96-for-127 (75 percent) with 22 touchdown passes. On the ground, he has rushed for 932 yards and 10 scores on 127 carries.

“Caden is one of those players who doesn’t come around very often,” Elman said. “He is a special combination of leader and athlete. When he walks into the room, the whole demeanor changes.

“Caden is a student of the game, and works hard to understand his opponent. He is a great football player, but an even better teammate.”

Junior Will Orness leads 3A in receiving touchdowns (12) and yards (707). Senior Jacob Heier is fourth in the class with eight touchdowns and 609 yards.

Nevada’s rushing attack is led by senior quarterback James Edwards, who has rushed for 826 yards on 121 carries and 16 touchdowns. He has thrown for 814 yards and 10 touchdowns on 40 of 65 passing.

“The kids are really excited to be in this position,” Elman said. “It’s been great to see the school and community get behind the kids. They have worked very hard for this opportunity, and it’s awesome to see everyone get behind them.

“I know the atmosphere at the game will be electric.”

Southeast Valley (7-0, 4-0) at Spirit Lake (5-2, 2-2)

The No. 1 Jaguars have already locked up their second straight district championship, but will finish the regular season with a tough contest against sixth-ranked Spirit Lake.

Southeast Valley is coming off an impressive 40-3 victory over Pocahontas Area. Quarterback Kolson Kruse was 8-for-18 passing for 180 yards and three touchdowns. He connected with Tre Fisher three times for 101 yards and two touchdowns and one scoring pass to Eli Johnson.

Lathe Muench had 62 rushing yards and two scores, while Kruse rushed for 92 yards.

On the season Kruse has thrown for 1,379 yards and 16 scores, while rushing for 769 and nine touchdowns. Muench has 659 yards and three scores.

Johnson has caught 19 balls for 521 yards and five scores and Fisher has 22 catches for 463 and six touchdowns. Colton Brant has five touchdowns.

Last week Muench passed 2018 graduate Kyler Fisher in career carries and is four rushing touchdowns (37) behind Fisher’s career mark (41).

Iowa Hawkeye recruit Aaron Graves (188.5) is 11 tackles behind Fisher’s career leading mark of 199.5. Graves is the school’s career leader in sacks (32.5) and tackles for loss (50.5).

The Indians enter the contest with 1,216 yards through the air and 992 on the ground.

Quarterback Riley Reynolds is 89-for-155 passing for 1,216 yards and 13 scores. Jack Latham has caught 28 balls for 500 yards and four scores. Carver Jungiohan (four) and Jake Cornwall (three) are their receiving touchdown leaders.

On the ground, Reynolds has rushed for 378 and five scores, while Brayden Theesfeld has 309 yards and three trips to the end zone.

Estherville-LC (4-3, 2-2) at Pocahontas Area (4-3, 1-3)

The Indians have an outside chance of reaching the playoffs, but would need some help. With a Southeast Valley loss and a victory over the Midgets, Pocahontas Area would earn the final spot.

With a Jaguar win and an Indian triumph, there would be a three-way tie with E-LC, Spirit Lake and Pocahontas Area. The Indians would be out of the hunt with a lower plus-minus ratio.

Chase Boysen has been the guiding force for the Indians, rushing for 581 yards and five scores and throwing for 564 and two touchdowns. Ruger Bunda has 333 yards on the ground and three touchdowns.

Chase Cook has caught 19 balls for 404 yards and two scores.

Ryan Schiltz has 1,098 yards passing and 14 touchdowns. Schiltz has run for 577 yards and seven touchdowns, while Zavion McMurian has five scores on the ground.

Ballard (3-4, 1-2) at Algona (5-2, 2-1)

Algona has already locked up a playoff berth, but a win over Ballard would secure the third spot in the district.

Tyler Manske has been the guiding force for the Bulldogs, throwing for 1,493 yards and 18 touchdowns. His main targets have been Trevon Smith (627 yards), Carlos Gomes (318) and Caden Weber (206). Smith has 11 touchdowns, while Gomez has four and Weber has three.

Lamorn Ulfers is the leading rusher with 328 yards. Gomez has 306 yards and Manske has run for 266. Smith has three touchdowns and Manske has two.

Ballard quarterback Ashton Hermann has thrown for 833 yards and nine touchdowns. He has rushed for 386 yards and four scores. Running Back Eli Rouse has 410 yards and six trips to the end zone.

Eagle Grove (3-4, 2-2) at South Hamilton (3-4, 2-2)

The Eagles went from ending a streak of 27 straight losses to a playoff squad. Eagle Grove clinched a spot last week with a 38-0 win over Belmond-Klemme, their second straight win.

South Central Calhoun clinched the district title and Woodward-Granger is in.

The winner of the South Hamilton-Eagle Grove game is also in. If the Eagles are in and Manson Northwest Webster would knock off Woodward-Granger, The Eagles own the tie-breaker over the Cougars and would advance.

Bishop Garrigan (3-4, 2-3) at Northwood-Kensett (5-2, 3-2)

In their first season of eight-player football, Bishop Garrigan has its destiny in its hands.

GTRA (4-1 district) Harris-Lake Park (4-1) have locked up playoff spots.

The Vikings are sitting at 3-2 in the district with the Golden Bears (2-3). If Bishop Garrigan wins and North Iowa loses to Harris-Lake Park both the Vikings and Golden Bears advance.

If Garrigan loses and North Iowa loses, the Golden Bears will advance, owning victories over North Iowa and West Bend-Mallard (2-4).

Messenger-area teams playoff chances

District champions — Webster City, Southeast Valley, Greene County, South Central Calhoun.

In for sure — Humboldt (shot at district title), Algona, Eagle Grove, Newell-Fonda.

Needs help — Pocahontas Area, Emmetsburg, North Union, Bishop Garrigan.

Other area games: Ballard (3-4, 1-2) at Algona (5-2, 2-1); Webster City (5-2, 3-0) at Storm Lake (0-7, 0-3); OABCIG (6-1, 3-1) at Clarion-Goldfield/Dows (3-4, 0-4); Greene County (6-1, 4-0) at Clarke (5-2, 2-2); Western Christian (3-4, 3-1) at Emmetsburg (2-5, 2-2); Belmond-Klemme (0-7, 0-4) at South Central Calhoun (6-1, 4-0); Woodward-Granger (5-2, 3-1) at Manson Northwest Webster (2-5, 1-3); East Sac County (0-7, 0-4) at West Monona (1-6, 1-3; Mason City Newman (5-2, 3-2) at North Union (3-4, 2-3); Ar-We-Va (4-3, 3-2) at Newell-Fonda (6-1, 4-1); River Valley (1-6, 1-5) at West Bend-Mallard (2-5, 2-4).


Today's breaking news and more in your inbox

I'm interested in (please check all that apply)
Are you a paying subscriber to the newspaper? *

Starting at $4.62/week.

Subscribe Today