Central Nebraska Football
Dusters look to bounce back
Coming off a 2-7 record last season, the Holdrege Dusters will look to bounce back. The Dusters will return six starters on offense and five on defense. Two of those key starters will be Alex Wells (5-10, 165, Sr., RB/DB) and Bronson Titus (5-11, 255, Sr. OL/DL).
Head coach Jason Hale and his squad are very excited for this season, "We are very excited for 2017. We should be much improved. (The) numbers in our program should be much better. We feel like we can be a factor in the district race after getting some much-needed experience for some of our athletes early in the year. We return quality players at key positions but will need to develop depth on the offensive and defensive lines."
Holdrege will begin the season on August 25th when they host Gothenburg.
Elwood returns five starters
After a 4-4 season last year in their first year playing 6-man football, Elwood will be very experienced this season as five starters return. Speed is the key in 6-man and head coach Patrick Ropers says the team has that. "This season we will need to rely on our speed and athleticism said Ropers.
Ropers says size is somewhat of an issue, "We won't have a lot of size on this year's team. We will have a lot more depth this year, but we will be really young. Some younger guys are going to step in and play some big roles for us."
Some of the key contributors this season will be Aaron Clouse (145, Sr., B/LB, 571 rush yds., 13 TDs, 258 rec. yards, 6 TDs) and Raul Clouse (160, Jr., B/LB, 677 rush yds, 14 TDs). Elwood will start the season on September 1st against Elba.
Marsh to lead Axtell
Axtell will have a new football coach this season as Dean Marsh will take over this season. Axtell last season struggled with a record of 0-8, but Marsh inherits a team with six returning starters on offense and seven on defense.
Marsh likes the makeup of his squad and is excited about this season. "I like the fact that our kids seem to get along great off the field," said Marsh. "We have kids with size and speed so we feel as coaches we need to put the pieces together to make us competitive. My goal is to our players in positions that can help our team the most. We plan on simplifying (schemes) so we are reacting and not thinking," added Marsh. Axtell will start the season on August 25th against the Warriors of Arapahoe.
Depth key for Haymakers in 2017
Cozad and head coach Brian Cargill will look to improve on their 3-6 record from last season. They have five starters coming back on offense and six on the defensive end. Cargill likes the depth he has on his squad this season, "We have some returning players with experience so I like our depth at those positions. If we can continue to develop our lines on both sides of the ball we will be able to compete at a high level. The key for us is to improve over the summer months and every week during the season. If we stay injury free we'll have the opportunity to have a nice season."
Ian Branham (6-2, 200, Sr., TE/LB) and Luke Schroeder (6-3, 200, Sr., OL/LB) will be anchors on the defensive side of the ball for Cozad this season. The Haymakers will open the season on August 25th against Chase County.
Swedes will be young, but competitive
Gothenburg lost a lot of experience from last years playoff qualifying team. The team may look young, but a number of the athletes on this year's roster were contributors last season. "We are still young on paper but some of our younger players have seen a lot of playing time. As always, we need to develop lineman and build as much depth as possible but we have a couple of defensive ends who should cause (opponents) some problems," said veteran head coach Craig Haake.
On the line, Patrick Hudson (6-4, 235, Sr. OL/DL) will be key for the Swedes and at the skilled position will be Bennett Folkers (6-3, 180, Jr., WR/DB) as he recorded 886 yards receiving and 14 touchdowns. The Swedes will begin the season on August 25th against Holdrege.
Vikings looking for bounce-back season
After struggling last season with a 2-7 record, Bertrand will be looking to take steps in the right direction this season. The junior class for Bertrand will play a pivotal role this season as there is only one senior on the roster.
Wyatt Wilken (6-0, Sr., 200, RB/LB) will be one of the top players returning not just for Bertrand but in the district as he earned all-district honors at linebacker last season. Head coach Steve Colfack mentioned some of the things to look for this season. "Our line is inexperienced but I am hoping we can build it into one of our strengths. Our skill-position players have some big-play capabilities, if we can avoid some costly mistakes, we should be fine in a tough district. Bertrand will open the season against Amherst on August 25th.
Warriors bring back stout offense
Arapahoe and head coach Dustin Kronhofman will be looking to continue their success, as last season the Warriors went 6-3. The Warriors should be solid again this year as they return six offensive starters and five starters on the defensive side of the ball.
Kronhofman says that this team has a lot of experience but there a few things to work on. "We are bringing back 95% of our offensive production. (We) are very athletic and need to get better on the offensive and defensive line and have guys step up and fill those roles. We are not real big but we have several playmakers. We need to get stronger and tougher on both sides of the ball. I think we have a chance to be a better team overall this year in our second year in this system. We will need to stay healthy and get tougher to make a run in the playoffs," said Kronhofman.
Some of the top returning players will be Gentry Anderson (6-0, 180, Jr., QB/S) and Jacob Pruitt (5-9, 320, Sr., FB/LB). for Arapahoe will be Arapahoe will open the season on August 25th against Axtell.
SEM looking for young players to develop
SEM finished the season with a record of 6-3 last year and lost a number of starters from that roster. The Mustangs return two starters on each side of the ball for this season. One of the top players for the Mustangs will be Kevin Boteo (Sr., RB/LB) as he is the only returning starter that played both sides of the ball.
Brent Streeter, entering his third year at SEM had this to say about his squad, "Our team will have to replace six two way starters and we will be young. Our players are going to have to demonstrate not only physical toughness but will really be tested mentally day in and day out. We have a few players with some speed so we will definitely try to exploit those skills. It will be done only with total team commitment." The Mustangs will begin the season on August 25th against Eustis-Farnam.
Minutemen look to improve as experience returns
Lexington finished the season last year with a record of 1-8. Although the Minutemen struggled, they return 11 starters on both the offensive and defensive side of the ball. "We played a lot of young kids last year. Great senior leadership and program numbers are improving so we will have competition at almost every position," said head coach Jeff Rowan.
Lexington will spread the field this season on offense. On the defensive side, they will run a 4-2-5. Top returners for Lexington are: Oracio Corona (6-1, 240, Sr., OL/DL), Jake Leger (6-1, 170, Jr., QB), and Javier Rivas (5-11, 180, sr., RB). Lexington will open the season on August 25th against Sidney.
Skill key for Loomis, depth needed for success
Key contributors for Loomis this season will be Hunter Banzhaf, Allen Shultz, Drey Lauby, and 1,000-yard rusher Issac Wahls. Loomis will open the year on September 1st against Axtell.
New leaders must emerge for Cardinals
Alma finished the season 7-3 last year, and for this year they will need to fill some voids as five seniors graduated for the Cardinals. Twelfth-year head coach Issac Frecks, had this to say about the current group of athletes he has this season, "We graduated five seniors off last years team. We will need to see some of our underclassmen step up into a leadership role. We will need to replace two of our five linemen and we will also have to replace two of our three backs."
Jackson McKenzie (6-1, 170, Jr., QB/RB,LB) will be one of the top returning players for the Cardinals and will look to carry the load for Alma. The Cardinals will start the season on August 25th against Dundy County Stratton on the road.
Elm Creek poised for another strong season
Elm Creek posted a 10-1 record last year as they fell in the playoffs. The Buffaloes will lose a number of athletes from last year's squad, but they return four starters on the offensive side of the ball and three on the defensive side.
Head Coach Jayce Dueland had this to say about this year's team, "We lost a strong class of nine seniors this last year but have another nine seniors that are ready to lead our team. All nine seniors will have a good shot at playing time this year. We will also need to have some underclassmen step up to fill our depth needs on both sides of the ball. Offense should have a strong group of kids coming back with Preston Walker the front runner to take over at QB. He's a very athletic kid that is very physical. With his brother Devon coming back at tailback, both should be a good combo for us. We will have a lot of holes to fill on defense with two all state four year starters to replace on the D-Line. A good group of linebackers returning with Preston, Devon, and Austin Geis. Anthony Quintana in the secondary, a returning All State Honorable Mention set two INT school records last year," said Dueland.
Elm Creek will start the year off against Kenesaw on August 25th.
New head coach for Southern Valley Eagles
Daren Tobey will take over for the Southern Valley Eagles this season. The Eagles finished the year 3-6 last year but they do return good experience as six athletes with playing time will be back. But Tobey Anticipates some young players to play as well. "We will be extremely young and inexperienced. We could see two freshmen and four sophomores start this year, but more importantly, we need to rely on a solid team-approach for good results this season," said Tobey.
Chase Becker (6-3, 185, Sr., FB/DE), Riley Mustin (6-0, 165, Sr., FS), and Brant Grove (6-2, 235, Jr., OL/DL) will play pivotal roles for the Eagles this season. Southern Valley will open the year against Bridgeport on August 25th.
Elm Creek Falls To Burwell
Alma Finishes Season 7-3
Alma had a tough matchup on Wednesday as they faced the #1 seeded Palmer in the second round of the D1 playoffs. Alma lost by a score of 50-20.
Palmer outscored Alma in each quarter and dominated the game.
Although the game was a blowout, Head Coach Issac Frecks was happy with his guys effort. "The boys played their hearts out and were with the #1 seeded team the whole night."
For Alma Jackson McKenzie had 179 yards rushing and one touchdown.
Alma finishes 7-3, and for Palmer is now 10-0 they will move on and face CWCE on November 8th.
ELM CREEK HEADED TO STATE QUARTERFINALS
ANSLEY-LITCHFIELD ADVANCES PAST LOOMIS IN D2 PLAYOFFS
Alma Comes Back to Win in First Round of Playoffs
Loomis Sneaks Away With a Win
SEM Falls In D2 Playoffs
Knights Finish Season 5-4
Arapahoe Falls In First Round
Vikings Fall in First Round of Playoffs
ELM CREEK PULLS AWAY FROM CAMBRIDGE LATE
A strong fourth quarter lifted Elm Creek to a 36-12 win over Cambridge on Thursday night in the first round of the Class D1 state playoffs. The Buffaloes led just 14-12 going into the final 12 minutes before forcing three turnovers that helped change the game. Devon Walker scored three times on the night for Elm Creek. Quarterback Dillon Gillming hit tight end Nolan Meier with a 27 yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter with 8:12 remaining that helped put it away. Cambridge was led by running back Taten Benson who carried 42 times for 206 yards and two scores. Cambridge ends it’s first season of playing eight man football at 4-5. Elm Creek is now 9-0 on the season and will host Medicine Valley at 7pm on Wednesday night. That game can ge heard on 880 KRVN and 106.9 FM.