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Football Flashback: The 2021 Cozad Heymakers

Published: Nov. 9, 2021 at 11:05 PM CST
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NORTH PLATTE, Neb. (KNOP) - Hit the ground running. That describes the start for the Cozad football team this year under first year head coach Jayce Dueland. The team started 5-0 and had championship thoughts, but the law of averages kicked in and they finished 5-4 overall.

Getting acclimated to the Heymaker way took time for Dueland, and he relied heavily on his senior class to help guide him through his first year.

“From the beginning of the year we started hot. We started really fast. Thought we had a very good preseason. As a first year coach, I relied a lot on the seniors and their leadership to get me kind of in the mix of the things that Cozad had done well in the past. The traditions that Coazad has always had. And then just incorportating what I had in my philosophies and that part of it. Overall season, pretty proud of the kids. Pretty proud of how they approached every day. Every practice they came out with the mentallity of getting better every day.”

Jayce Dueland, First Year Head Coach

As for the players, a new man in charge can be intimidating, but they all embraced their new leader and built a powerful bond in the locker room.

“We had some tough times in the beginning. We were doing rough start, but we went 5-0 which is amazing. Wonderful time with the team. Just bonded really well and we just had a lot of fun.”

Eli Boryca, Junior Offensive Lineman

“Being the senior this year, being one of the role models for the guys, I like the role of being able to show what the example’s supposed to be in Dueland’s first year. Showing what the road should look like for the next few years and just having that leadership role which I like to be in. Over the four years of playing, I thought this team was probably one of the closest teams I’ve been on. From freshman to senior, we all got along really well and it was all just a lot of fun no matter what was happening.”

Jacob Weatherly, Serior Running Back

“I started since sophomore year and each year it felt like leadership was important coming up. Senior year was definitely the biggest one. Helping younger guys out whenever they need it and just giving tips at practice or during the game. Just trying to be a good role model for the younger kids.”

Nolan Wetovick, Senior Quarterback

This year’s team only featured six seniors, leaving plenty of young and experienced players on the field as Dueland enters his second year as head coach.

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