The Ottumwa Courier

Sports

November 20, 2013

Nathan Yeager breaks record with smarts, work ethic

ELDON — Anyway you spin it, it was a rough season for the Cardinal High football team.

The Comets finished the season with a record of 1-8 — one lonely 27-20 victory at Danville sandwiched in between a deluge of often lopsided losses.

But not all victories are measured by the numbers on a scoreboard, some or more subtle, more easy to miss. And, although effort doesn’t always translate into glossy statistics, no matter what the score, Cardinal always played hard.

And, perhaps no Comet embodied this never-give-up spirit more than junior inside linebacker Nathan Yeager.

“One thing that coaches told us was how hard our team played and I think our kids take that from Nathan,” Cardinal football coach Adam Hadenfeldt said. “He’s full speed at every rep.”

Whether Cardinals was winning by a razor-thin margin or losing by a landslide, Yeager’s style of play never wavered: He always played hard, really hard.

Yeager’s give a 100 percent 100 percent of the time mindset combined with a high football IQ allowed the Comets’ inside linebacker to break the school record in tackles this season with 135. Yeager broke the record in the team’s last game of the season, a lopsided 47-0 loss to West Branch.

“They watch film to decide our tackles, so I didn’t know until they watched film [if he’d broken the record],” Yeager said. “I thought about it, I wasn’t sure if I did or not, I knew I was close.”

The Comets’ inside linebacker said when he reached 100 tackles he started to realize that he had a real shot of breaking the record.

“It’s pretty important to me that I broke it,” Yeager said. “When I broke it I was pretty excited. It was a goal I made when I realized how close I was.”

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