Cubs prepare for Thunder



November 14, 2019 - 10:08 AM

HUMBOLDT — Nemaha Central is the last obstacle in Humboldt’s tracks to reach the state semifinals for a second consecutive season. The Cubs will travel north to Seneca on Friday in the Kansas 2A sectional round. 

Most recently, the Cubs cruised to a 60-14 victory over Southeast-Cherokee in the regional round. Humboldt remains perfect at 10-0, but head coach Logan Wyrick is fully aware his toughest test is a day away. 

“The plus side for them, is that they are solid everywhere,”  Wyrick said. “That is usually the case when you get to this point, and there is not a weak point on that team, so I’m going to keep looking for it.”

Shutting down the Thunder offense will be a different challenge from what the Cubs have faced all season. Quarterback Dylan Schultejans has thrown for 1,419 yards, eyeing four different receivers over the course of the season. Two Thunder targets have racked up over 400 yards receiving, and another pair of receivers has earned over 200 yards apiece. 

Nemaha Central also utilizes its running game, and is able to keep opposing defenses honest. Running back Gavin Duryea has 547 yards rushing on 115 carries, and 338 yards rushing along with 8 rushing touchdowns belong to Gage Palic. 

As the Thunder will look to involve multiple weapons, it allows Humboldt’s defense to simplify tactics.

“It allows us to go to the basics, and do our jobs,” Wyrick said. “We aren’t keying on some things, but are just going to do our job, hopefully stay sound, and just fly to the ball. That’s the plan.”

Offensively, Humboldt will do what it has done all season. Quarterback Conor Haviland added 212 yards rushing and five touchdowns last week against Southeast. On the season, Haviland has 2,238 yards on the ground along with 42 total touchdowns. 

Wyrick and the Cubs coaching staff haven’t added many wrinkles in their scheme for their matchup against the Thunder. What Humboldt runs offensively will be dictated by their offensive line. Humboldt had battled injuries in the trenches since the season’s early stages. Though senior center Taylor Lassman has recovered from mononucleosis, a knee injury continues to plague him.

Other than Lassman, Jacob Fudge, Joshua Hull, Joseph Froggatte, Maddox Johnson, Speed Hoepker, and Blake Walker have all featured for the Cubs’ offensive line this season. Hull makes his home at right tackle, and where the rest will play will be determined. The variety of size and athletic ability the Cubs possess up front will dictate how they operate offensively. 

Although the Cubs have opted to keep their passing game limited, Wyrick highlighted that Humboldt’s ability to run inside or outside operates as a dual threat in it is own right. 

“We are going to keep going with what we do, whether that be an inside run or outside run,”

Wyrick said. “A lot of people doubt us offensively because they think ‘well, they don’t really throw the ball.’ Well, I think we do as well running the ball outside as we do inside, so that kind of doubles us up like we do have a passing game.”

The trip to Seneca lasts nearly three hours long, and by school bus, the drive will only be longer. Wyrick estimates they will hit the road close to 12:30 p.m. Leaving earlier gives Humboldt the chance to split up the drive, and potentially hold a walk-through on the way in order to keep the Cubs tuned in. 

Kickoff between Humboldt and Nemaha Central is scheduled for 7 p.m. If the Cubs are able to advance, Humboldt would host a 2A semi-final next Friday.