The clock stuck midnight, and Papillion-La Vista ushered in a new era and a new tradition with the official start of the 2019 Nebraska high school football season.
The Monarchs were the only team in the Metro area to practice the minute teams were permitted to take the field. It's a tradition first-year coach Tim Williams brought with him from Waverly.
World-Herald prep recruiting specialist Mike Sautter was there in the early hours Monday morning, and here are some observations on the Monarchs:
Running back seems to be the Monarchs' deepest position. Senior Frankie Allen is the star of the group, a speedster who fits almost perfectly into the Monarchs' run-focused pistol offense. Allen showed Monday he is more than a straight-line runner. He has burst and the ability to make defenders miss.
The offensive line might be the best position group on the team. Preston Kellogg leads them at right tackle, and at 6-foot-5, 277 pounds, he's one of the better lineman in he state. He is also likely to play some nose tackle on the defensive side of the ball.
Another lineman who flashed serious potential Monday was Matthew Schwartz. He looks the part at 6-4, 257 pounds, and during drills he showed good punch and footwork. He will be a key piece to the Monarchs' success running the ball in 2019.
There will be a new starting quarterback, and senior Lane Harris is the leading candidate to take most of the first-team snaps. Harris has a good feel for the offense and showed Monday he can connect on short to intermediate routes. Another option is sophomore Kyle Ingwerson, who may not have Harris' speed but can push for time at quarterback.
I will be curious to see how the Monarchs use senior Alek Abels, who stands out physically even when not wearing pads. On Monday he was used as a lead blocker and he'll also play middle linebacker.
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Clockwise from top left: Garrett Snodgrass, York; Chris Hickman, Omaha Burke; Nick Henrich, Omaha Burke; Ethan Piper, Norfolk Catholic; Max Duggan, Council Bluffs Lewis Central; Garrett Nelson, Scottsbluff.
From left: Moses Bryant, Elkhorn South; Zach Schlager, McCook; Bryson Williams, Lincoln Southeast; Masry Mapieu, York; Cameron Jurgens, Beatrice; Trevor Downing, Creston (Iowa).
From left: Noah Vedral, Wahoo Neumann; Tyler Ciurej, Bellevue West; Austin Allen, Aurora; Brett Kitrell, Ashland-Greenwood; Patrick Arnold, Gretna; Jaylin Bradley, Bellevue West.
From left: Jared Bubak, Lincoln Christian; Gavin Rush, Aurora; Ben Stille, Ashland-Greenwood; Jacob Matthew, Millard North; Noah Fant, Omaha South; Nick Lenners, Lincoln Southwest.
From left: Adam Holtorf, Seward; Tanner Borchardt, Gothenburg; C.J. Johnson, Bellevue West; Calvin Strong, Omaha North; Michael Decker, Omaha North; DaiShon Neal, Omaha Central.
From left: Jerald Foster, Lincoln Southeast; Luke Gifford, Lincoln Southeast; Mick Stoltenberg, Gretna; Harrison Phillips, Millard West; Easton Stick, Omaha Creighton Prep; Trey Carr, Omaha Burke.
Casey Sayles, Omaha North (left) and Nick DeLuca, Millard North. Not pictured: Josh Banderas, Lincoln Southwest; Nathan Bazata, Howells-Dodge; Christian LaCouture, Lincoln Southwest; Mike Minter Jr., Lincoln North Star; Jake Schlager, McCook.
Top from left: Tavarius Bender, Lincoln Southwest; Mike Shoff, Cambridge; Sam Cotton, Lincoln Southeast. Bottom from left: Jake Schany, Blair; Drew Ott, Giltner; Michael Malloy, Sioux City Heelan.
Clockwise from top left: Ryne Reeves, Crete; Daniel Davie, Beatrice; Zach Sterup, Hastings St. Cecillia; Quentin Urban, Millard South; Cole Fisher, Millard North; Ted Lampkin, Omaha Central.
From left: Matt Hoch, Harlan; Tyler Evans, Waverly; Ronald Coleman Jr., Omaha North; Antaries Daniels, Omaha Northwest; Andrew Rodriguez, Aurora; Brandon Scherff, Denison-Schleswig.
Standing from left: Jon Lechner, Omaha Creighton Prep; Brandon Wegher, Sioux City Heelan; Tyrone Sellers, McCook; Cole Pensick, Lincoln Northeast. Kneeling from left: Vondrae Tostenson, Millard South; C.J. Zimmerer, Omaha Gross.
From left: Dan Hoch, Harlan; Collins Okafor, Omaha Westside; Baker Steinkuhler, Lincoln Southwest; Sean Fisher, Millard North; John Levorson, Crete; Trevor Robinson, Elkhorn.
Clockwise from top left: Kyle Dooley, Papillion-La Vista; Harland Gunn, Omaha Central; Noah Keller, Kearney; Phillip Bates, Omaha North; Niles Paul, Omaha North; Jared Crick, Cozad.