Among the 50 programs in The World-Herald’s western Iowa coverage area last season, no one took home the first-place trophy.
AHSTW came the closest, running off 12 straight wins before falling to Hudson 30-7 in the Class A championship game. Graduation hit the Vikings hard, and they also lost their coach, as Davis Pattee took over as activities director at Harlan.
Here’s a few of the top western Iowa storylines in 2019:
At Council Bluffs Lewis Central, it’s Year 1 A.D. That’s “After Duggans.”
Max Duggan, a four-year starter at quarterback and the Gatorade state player of the year, is battling for the starting job at TCU. His father and coach, Jim, resigned after leading the program to the playoffs in eight of his nine years and compiling a 67-28 record.
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Justin Kammrad, the team’s offensive coordinator the past four seasons and a Harlon Hill Trophy finalist in 2003 at running back for UNO, takes the reins — and there’s no shortage of talent. Senior two-way lineman Logan Jones is an Iowa commit and junior wide receiver Thomas Fidone recently received an offer from the Hawkeyes.
Also in 3-A, Sergeant Bluff-Luton returns three-sport all-stater Daniel Wright at quarterback from last year’s semifinalist. The 6-foot-7, 215-pound Wright threw for 2,423 yards last season while completing 66.9 percent of his passes with 26 touchdowns and four interceptions. He has been in contact with a variety of FBS, FCS and NCAA Division II schools.
In the smaller 11-man classes, the search is on for the AHSTW of the 2019 season. OABCIG, with basketball standout Cooper DeJean (66 catches for 1,023 yards in 2018) in his junior year, could make a push after a first-round playoff appearance in 2-A last season.
Treynor (Jake Fisher) and Underwood (Nick Ravlin) of the Western Iowa Conference both return outstanding senior quarterbacks, while Carroll Kuemper in 2-A will showcase Nebraska recruit and Super Six member Blaise Gunnerson.
In Eight-Man, the model program in western Iowa for the past decade has been Fremont-Mills. The Knights have reached the UNI-Dome for at least the semifinal round in four of the past five years and six of nine.
Fremont-Mills returns junior running back/linebacker Seth Malcom, who holds offers from Iowa State and Nebraska.
However, the top spot in the preseason goes to Audubon, which welcomes back senior quarterback Skyler Schultes (954 passing yards, 1,136 rushing yards).