Cardinals ride Mazour to title, send Coach Johnson out in style

Cameron Mellor (@CamMellor)
March 3, 2015



While the position of dual-threat quarterback has seemingly become a household term nowadays, a true dual-threat quarterback is still one of more exciting spectacles to watch on all levels of football. Especially however, in high school football, and especially when your dual-threat quarterback leads you to a championship.


For the Boone Central/Newman Grove Cardinals, that’s exactly what happened.


Dual-threat quarterback Wyatt Mazour led the Cardinals to the Nebraska C1 State Championship in 2014, defeating Ashland-Greenwood, 54-14 to capture the title.


While Mazour might look and seem more like a running back, the senior could certainly sling the ball through the air when necessary. He totaled over 200 total yards of offense in nine of 13 games last season and accumulated over 300 yards of offense in five of those games.


He finished his senior season with 1,626 yards on the ground and 1,869 yards through the air. He ran for 25 touchdowns and threw for another 26. He also returned kicks and punts for an additional 623 yards and another two scores.


Mazour wasn’t finished with just offense and special teams, he also played cornerback on a defense that held opponents under 14 points per game. He recorded three pass break ups, recovered a fumble and intercepted two passes, one in which he returned for a touchdown against Wayne.


All in all, Mazour finished the season with 2,307 all-purpose yards, an average of 177.5 yards per game. He was credited with 28 solo touchdowns while he was accountable for 54 scores overall on the season.


The Cardinals jumped out of the gates hot in 2014. After allowing their week one opponent, Scotus Central Catholic, to tie the game at 14 points apiece, Boone Central scored 17 unanswered points to win 31-14.


Boone Central would lead the way for the next seven games. In fact, the closest any opponent came to leading over the Cardinals in those seven games would be the 0-0 start of the game. Boone Central scored first in each game, winning their first eight games by a combined margin of 352-111.


In their regular season finale against Norfolk Catholic, the Cardinals took a 12-3 lead before allowing a quick touchdown run by the Knights that cut the lead to 12-9 at halftime.


Norfolk Catholic became the first team to lead the Cardinals in 2014 as they scored on the opening drive of the third quarter to take a 16-12 lead.


However, those would be the last points the Knights scored, as they surrendered 20 unanswered to Boone Central, falling to the Cardinals, 32-16.


That game ended Boone Central’s regular season at a perfect 9-0 as they entered the playoffs with a first round matchup against Milford. After being granted the No. 2 seed and dispatching Milford, 48-7 to open the postseason, a familiar foe would be presented to the Cardinals.


That familiar foe would be the only opponent they trailed in the regular season, Norfolk Catholic.


Much like their first meeting, the game remained close throughout as the Cardinals led 14-6 at halftime. After two quick scores form each brought the game within one possession at 17-14, Mazour marched his team down the field in just five plays before pushing Boone Central’s advantage to 23-14.


Mazour’s five-yard touchdown rush was enough to hold up in the end as the Cardinals hung on for the 23-17 victory over the Knights to advance.


For just the second time during the entire season, the Cardinals found themselves trailing, in their next outing. Against Kearney Catholic in the state semifinals, the Stars scored first, late in the first quarter to take a 7-0 lead. Similar to the only other time the Cardinals trailed though, those points would be the last ones Kearney Catholic could muster.


Boone Central advanced to the state championship after scoring 34 consecutive points to win, 34-7 over the Stars.


The state championship game pitted Nebraska Class C1’s top two teams in the No. 2 seed Cardinals taking on No. 1 seed Ashland-Greenwood.


Boone Central looked more like the top seed however, jumping out to a 21-7 first quarter lead before ultimately handing the Bluejays their lone defeat of the season, 54-14. The 40-point loss was the Bluejays largest margin of defeat in over two years.


The game was a fitting end to a season and a fitting end to head coach Arnold Johnson’s career at Boone Central, as his last game at the helm of the Cardinals sent him out as a State Champion.


Mazour finished the state championship game, throwing for 129 yards and three touchdowns while rushing for a season-high 248 yards.


With the departures of Coach Johnson as well as Mazour and several other seniors, the Cardinals will have an uphill road if they were to repeat as State Champions.


Nevertheless, Mazour and Coach Johnson exit Boone Central as Champions. A fitting exit for a legendary coach and truly one of the more exciting dual-threat quarterbacks in recent memory.


Offensive stat leaders

Rushing: Wyatt Mazour (1626 yards)

Passing: Wyatt Mazour (1869 yards)

Receiving: Travis Kennedy (515 yards)

All-Purpose: Wyatt Mazour (2307 yards)

Touchdowns: Wyatt Mazour (28)

Rush attempts: Wyatt Mazour (185 carries)

Receptions: Zac Glidden (27 catches)


Defensive stat leaders

Total tackles: Colton Pelster (75)

Tackles for loss: Michael Lipker (12.5)

Sacks: Michael Lipker (2.5)

Interceptions: Kyle Kramer (5)

Fumbles forced: Zac Glidden (3)

Fumbles recovered: Zac Glidden (4)


Team statistics

Total scoring: 543 points

Opponent scoring: 172

Total offense: 5095 yards

Total rushing yards: 2895 yards

Total passing yards: 2200 yards

Opponent offense: 3325 yards

Opponent rushing yards: 2362 yards

Opponent passing yards: 963 yards

Third down conversions: 50/120 (41.7 %)

Opponent third down conversions: 56/188 (29.8 %)

Turnover differential: +10 (23 interceptions, 10 fumbles)

Senior running back awarded HSGC Player of the Week


By: Cameron Mellor

December 4, 2013


It didn’t take long for the Adamsville Cardinals to find themselves in familiar territory against Trinity Christian Academy, down against one of their toughest opponents of the season. In the early season matchup against the Lions however, Adamsville was unable to get back into it late, and lost the game 28-21.


In their most recent outing against Trinity Christian, the Cardinals were able to come out on top against the Lions, riding their senior leader, running back Zak Neary. The 6-foot-1, 195-pound back toted the ball 40 times for 357 yards and five touchdowns, pushing Adamsville into the State Championship game this coming Saturday.


For his efforts against TCA, Neary has been named the HSGC National Player of the Week.



“After TCA won the first meeting this year, we had to hit the reset button,” Adamsville assistant coach Michael Smith said. “Zak said to the team ‘let’s do what we do best and run all the way to the State Title!’ Zak has shown leadership by putting this team on his back.”


Neary has carried the team on his back and then some this season. Since the early season loss to the Lions, Neary has carried the ball 138 times for 999 yards and 11 touchdowns. He has also thrown two touchdown passes and caught two more touchdowns. As if that wasn’t enough, Neary has also excelled on the defensive side of the ball, notching four tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks since the two team’s first meeting.


Despite missing time due to an MCL sprain, Neary has been the workhorse for a very balanced offense.


“We’re pretty balanced with 31 rushing touchdowns and 30 passing touchdowns,” Smith said. “We’re more of a run-heavy team that can pass when they need to. When Zak is having success, the team seems to thrive off of it.”


In this past week’s semi-final matchup, it was Neary’s success that propelled the Cardinals to victory. Down 21-14 midway through the second quarter, it was Neary who sparked a 35-18 run for Adamsville to close out the game and advance to the State Championship. All 35 points for the Cardinals would be scored by Neary.


Neary took a 16-yard scamper to the end zone for his first touchdown of the game, tying the contest in the process midway through the second quarter. Trinity Christian would add a field goal before halftime, giving them a lead 24-21 at the break.



“Zak’s an athletically gifted athlete and just a good player,” Adamsville head coach Brandon Gray said. “He gets stronger and stronger as the game goes on while the opponent wears down.”


The opponent’s rush defense may have worn down completely in the second half of the game as Trinity Christian allowed three consecutive Neary touchdown runs to start the third quarter, giving Adamsville a 42-24 lead.


When TCA closed the gap to 42-39 after two quick scores, it was Neary who carried the ball nine times for 45 yards and the final touchdown during a fourth quarter clock-eating drive taking over six minutes off the clock.


Neary led his team to victory, much like he had done all season long, and much like the coaching staff hopes he continues to do.


“We are planning to let Zak lead the way to a State Title for us this Saturday,” Smith said.


Despite the team making it to the State Championship game for the second season in a row, this will be Neary’s first taste of a title game after he missed the game a year ago due to injury.


A second chance to play in a Championship game is a feel good story indeed, especially for an all-around good guy like Neary.


“He is the most unselfish player I have ever seen,” Smith said. “He is just a great kid that everyone loves to be around. He took himself out of games this year that could have padded his stats to give the younger guys a chance to play. He said ‘they practice too, everyone wants a chance to play and should get one.’”


Neary and the rest of the Cardinals get another crack at the 2A State Championship this Saturday when they take on Trousdale County. The game can be followed live at this link:

Nation's Best on Display This Weekend on HSGC


By Dan Fronczak

November 15, 2013


Hundreds of ranked high school football teams are using this postseason.  With mass adoption in 2013, HSGC is proving its platform to be a valuable one for coaches.  Among those participating schools on HSGC are some of the highest ranked teams in the country, including the entire State of Ohio. (See teams below)


Coaches not currently on HSGC wishing to create an account for their team can do so here:  


  High School State Ranking
Desoto (Texas)    2
Jenks (Oklahoma)    1    
New Canaan (Connecticut) 1
Dowling Catholic (Iowa) 1
Gardner-Edgerton (Kansas) 1
Middletown (Maryland) 2
Blue Springs (Missouri) 1
Boone Central/Newman Grove (Nebraska) 2
Winner (South Dakota)     2
Bentonville (Arkansas) 2


Mustangs Shut Out Bombers a Week Before Showdown with Boone    

By Cameron Mellor
October 22, 2013
After a disheartening second week loss, Dallas Center-Grimes (7-1, 5-0) has corrected their path and rattled off six victories in a row.  In their most recent outing, the Mustangs shut out the Ballard High School Bombers by a score of 26-0.
Their dominating performance against the Bombers has earned the Mustangs HSGC’s National Team of the Week honors.
The Mustangs’ lone imperfection on their record this season came in week two against Norwalk High School.  Rather than dwell on the upset, Dallas Center-Grimes took to the practice field to correct mistakes and prepare themselves for the rest of the season.
“After our early season loss in week two, we went back to practice and really pointed out to our kids that we left some plays on the field that night,” Mustangs head coach Scott Heitland said.  “We made our improvements and the next week shut out our opponent."
“Our team has done an outstanding job this season of making sure that we improve each week at practice.”
The Mustangs set out to improve each week, and have done just that.
In the six games since their lone defeat, Dallas Center-Grimes has outscored their opponents by a combined score of 212-14. That six-game winning streak features five shut out victories and includes their most recent 26-0 win over Ballard this past Friday.
The Mustangs’ success this season, as attributed by Heitland, has been their preparation during the week.
“Our kids understand that if we take care of making ourselves better throughout the week, that the wins can take care of themselves,” Heitland said.  “Each week we strive to be 1-0 at the end of the game on Friday night.  To us, it means getting better Monday through Thursday."
“We focus all our attention on that week’s opponent, not looking ahead or behind and that the only record that matters at this time is the one that reflects that weeks’ game.”
Preparation for this week’s game may have to be their best preparation of the season as they take on arguably their toughest test to date.  In a game that will determine the district title, the Mustangs take on the Boone High School Toreadors as both teams will head in to the game tied atop the district leader board.
Dallas Center-Grimes brings with them a 5-0 district record while the Toreadors will head in to the game undefeated in both district and overall play at 5-0 and 8-0, respectively.  Both teams will be looking for their first 3A District 4 regular season title.
Heitland and the Mustangs will have to prepare a little something extra for Boone as this week’s game has a little more riding on the outcome.  If Dallas Center-Grimes can continue to succeed in what they’ve had success in so far this season, Heitland thinks this season will be one to remember.
“We have taken care of the ball very well and have created numerous turnovers,” Heitland said.  “We have tremendous leadership from our seniors (who make sure) that the only thing that is important is team success."
“We have done multiple things very well this year that have allowed us to have the season we are (having).”
The Mustangs and Toreadors square off this Friday, October 25 at 7:30.
Follow the action from that game here: