Nevada enters season with experience, strong run game

Eli Cheaney returns after rushing for 1,152 yards and 15 TD last season.

NEVADA, Mo. – Momentum is building for the Nevada Tigers.

Nevada finished last season with a 7-4 overall record, after going winless in 2019.

“Last year after going 0-10, it’s pretty rough on your confidence,” says senior Eli Cheaney, “Coming out and having a good season last year just makes me look forward to having another good season this year.”

“I thought the energy level and confidence level was high last year, and it has carried over,” says head coach Wes Beachler, “We’ve got a lot of kids who have a lot of confidence. They’re not arrogant, but they believe in themselves and they believe in each other, so that’s a good starting point.”

Everything starts up front for Nevada – with an offensive line that helped the Tigers rush for 321 yards per game last year.

“We have four young men on the offensive line who are now three-year starters,” Beachler says, “They’ve been starting since they were freshmen or sophomores. That’s a lot of experience. They know what to do when people blitz. They know how to pick up stunts. They know how to block, they know how to double team and come off a double team. It’s been real effective for us so far this summer and early fall.”

Behind that a deep and talented backfield – led by All-Big 8 selections Eli Cheaney and Case Sanderson.

Cheaney rushed for 1,152 yards and 15 touchdowns last season, while Sanderson picked up 512 yards and 8 touchdowns.

“We’re loaded in the backfield,” Beachler adds, “We have a lot of good running backs. We can go four-deep at tailback, two or three-deep at wing back, two or three-deep at fullback. We feel like we’re really talented in the offensive backfield.”

The Tigers are hoping to compete for a conference title and make a run in the playoffs.

But more than that – they just want to play well and leave it all on the field every Friday.

“It’s always good to get those wins, but we just want to play our best and play as hard as we can every play,” Cheaney says, “It doesn’t matter…the wins and losses. It matters how we play as a team.”

“A lot of times, people look at wins and losses to judge if you had a successful season. We tell our kids all the time, it’s about execution,” Beachler finishes, “In our conference, you can execute at a pretty high level and still get beat. There’s times where I’ve had teams that didn’t execute very well at all and still won games. Success for us is feeling like we execute at a high level every Friday night and we’re preparing to the best of our abilities all week long.”

Nevada opens the season on Friday, at home against Logan-Rogersville.