Preseason Class A Nebraska football capsules compiled by World-Herald staff writer Stu Pospisil.
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Bellevue East (0-9)
Coach: Nathan Liess, second year
Returning starters (9 offense-8 defense)—Seniors: Gage Dengel, WR-OLB; James Larson, TE-DE; Caleb Waschkowski, DB; Noah Carpenter, LB. Juniors: Preston Welch, OL; Steven Zimmerer, RB-DB; Kaleb Fenner, DB; Skyler Svajgl, DB. Sophomores: Luke Johansen, QB; Gage Higgs, OL; Arden Jenkins, OL, Adam Whitesides, DL
Coach’s outlook “Still working on a culture. We will play and start several sophomores. Toughest top to bottom schedule in Class A.”
Lincoln Northeast (5-4)
Coach: Dan Martin, first year.
Returning starters (5-6)—Seniors: Juniors: Anthony Gomez, DL; Dominick Mendoza, DB; Jayden Schrader, OL; Kaleb Merrill, WR; Jesston Howard, WR-DB; Fanar Al Sloo, DE; Nick Dungan, OL; Dawson Wright, DB; Wyatt Morgan, H/LB..
Outlook: Martin comes from Kearney and has two fewer two-way starters than anticipated from a team that had the school’s first winning season since 2011.
Lincoln Southeast (7-4)
Coach: Ryan Gottula, ninth year
Returning starters (6-8)—Seniors: Isaac Gifford, FS; Xavier Trevino, OT; Isaac Appleget, WR; Jackson Kraus, LB; Ryan Rediger, LB; Carter West, OL; Carson Stoner, OL; Reis Jensen, OLB; Trystan Neiman, DE; Gage Johnson, DE. Juniors: Derek Branch, CB; Barrett France, TE.
Coach’s outlook: “We will return eight starters on defense and three on the offensive line. Must replace our starting quarterback and develop depth at wide receiver.” Knights picked up running back Nick Halleen from Lincoln Northeast and added lineman Teivis Tuioti, son of the Huskers’ new defensive line coach.
Omaha North (6-4)
Coach: Larry Martin, 20th year
Returning starters (4-5)—Seniors: Marquise Sigle, WR-DB; Tre’on Fairgood-Jones, DB; Sage Kehr, OL; Aveon Barnes, LB; De’Anthony Cribbs, LB. Juniors: Tristan Gray, OL-DL; Hunter Push, OL.
Coach’s outlook: “Very tough schedule again. Need to stay healthy up front and build some depth.”
Papillion-La Vista South (5-4)
Coach: Tim Clemenger, third year
Returning starters (4-4)—Seniors: Tom Rapaich, OL-DL; Dallas Rogers, LB; Trajen Linear, DE; Zach Circle, LB; Ethen Lamp, OL; Owen Stock, OL; Will Swanson, TE.
Outlook: Titans have Rapaich as a three-year starter and Swanson as a Kansas State commitment. Linear had 24 tackles for losses, including 11 sacks. Backfield will have newcomers.
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Bellevue West (9-2)
Coach: Mike Huffman, seventh year
Returning starters (7-7)—Seniors: Thomas Ault, OT; TJ Griffin, OC; Kaden Lind, OG; Jeyvon Ducker, RB; Zavier Betts, WR; Matt Thompson, DE; David Shannon, DT; Nate Sullivan, WR; Tyler Chaney, DT; Cruz Jurado, DB. Juniors: Kekoa Chai, OL; Ryan Rogers, LB; Keagan Johnson, DB; Jack McConnell, DB.
Outlook: The Thunderbirds will score in bunches. It will be up to the defense to get stops and get off the field. Preseason favorites.
Lincoln Pius X (5-5)
Coach: Ryan Kearney, fourth year
Returning starters (1-3)--Seniors: Jon Andreasen, RB-CB; Blake Vodicka, DB; Tayden Gentrup, LB.
Coach’s outlook: “We have very little experience returning at the varsity level. All spots will be open for competition.”
Coach: Tom Olson, 22nd year
Returning starters (4-2)—Seniors: Gage Dohren, WR; Garrett Henery, WR; Cole Long, LB; Brayden Splater, LB; Jace Monday, QB; Jake Jensen, OL.
Coach’s outlook: “Lots of youth at most positions, especially on defense. We return our quarterback and some receivers. Offensive line will have to develop very rapidly.”
Omaha Central (3-6)
Coach: Jay Landstrom, second year
Returning starters (8-8)—Seniors: Abe Hoskins III, QB-DB; Malaby Byrd, RB; DeAnthony Bridgefore, RB; Dylan Baker, TE-DE; DeVontae Perry, FB; Nate Page, DE; Christian Simmons, LB; Elijah Smith, OL; Markel Smith, OL; Jake Frezell, DL.
Junior: Kaedyn Reynolds, TE-DE; Joey Craig, LB. Sophomores: DeShawn Woods, OL; Trey Nelson-Beasley, OL
Coach’s outlook: “Central hopes to continue to show improvement after a winless 2017 and winning three games in 2018. The goal this year is to make the playoffs. The defense led that improvement in the second half of the season last year and will need to be the catalyst if the team hopes to make the playoffs. Offensively, Abraham Hoskins III is a known commodity and already has FCS offers. Playmakers will need to emerge around him to give the offense a much needed boost. DeAnthony Bridgeford and Dylan Baker have the ability to be those guys. Improved line play is also key. Central also boasts a very strong trio of kickers/punters.
Omaha South (2-7)
Coach: James Patterson, second year
Returning starters (7-6)—Seniors: Christian Martinez, OL; Devin Smith, OL; Nate Blackman, OL-DL; Michael Sliva, RB; Tyrece Griggs, WR-DB; Jadyn McGary, WR-DB; Mateo Benito, LB. Juniors: Christian Barrientos, LB. Sophomore: Patrick Kuehn, OL-DL.
Coach’s outlook: “Team strength is returning our offensive line and running backs. To complement that we have two wide receivers who are explosive and sure-handed.”
Coach: Brandon Cool, 19th year
Returning starters (4-4)—Seniors: Junior: Miko Maessner, RB-DB; Braden Rich, WR-DB; Josh Warner, OC; Seth Stroh, WR; Alex Kemp, DE; Jaxon Worley, DE.
Coach’s outlook: “There’s a nice nucleus of skilled guys back who have tons of game experience. We played a tough schedule last year, which should benefit us. We must replace our offensive line two-deep.”
Lincoln High (7-3)
Coach: Mark Macke, ninth year
Returning starters (1-1)—Junior: Zavion Garcia-Hill, TE-DE.
Coach’s outlook: “Only two returning starters. It will be challenging.”
Lincoln Southwest (7-3)
Coach: Andrew Sherman, fourth year
Returning starters (6-2)—Seniors: Drake Sherman, OL; Dane Gebers, OL-DL; Caleb kutter, OL; Jacob Dugger, OL; Laken Harnly, QB; Grant McKInsey, WR; Nolan Milius, DL.
Coach’s outlook: “The strength of our team is the offensive line with four returning starters. Although most of our skill kids graduated, we should have a lot of depth.”
North Platte (1-8)
Coach: Todd Rice, second year.
Returning starters (3-8)—Seniors: Dalton Lunkwitz, DL; Logan Penner, DL; Dalton Caley, QB; Jackson Carter, OL; Kaden Ross, DB; Caiden Broman, DB; Quinton Vieyra, DB; Elliott Purdy, LB; Derrek Ramos, LB; Gus Kreber, LB. Junior: Blake Vaughn, DB;
Coach’s outlook: “Our players and coaches both gained a lot of experience last year and we saw increases in our accountability and growth in our year-round expectations, especially in weight room attendance and development.
Omaha Benson (0-9)
Coach: Terrence Mackey, second year
Returning starters (6-8)—Seniors: Anthony Ignowski, QB, 6-0, 140; Malicah Charles, LB, 5-7, 160; Tyrees Schiefer, WR; Damack Black, LB; Dionte Butler,DE; Cole Rutherford, WR-DB; Enrique Harlan, OL. Juniors: Veshawn Lovelace, OL-DL; John Rife, DL; Larry Gregory Jr., LB.
Outlook: With many starters already seasoned by fire, the Bunnies look to show improvement. Offensive execution must improve.
Grand Island (10-3)
Coach: Jeff Tomlin, 17th year
Returning starters (3 offense, 5 defense)—Seniors: Broc Douglass, WR-DB; Caleb Francl, RB-OLB; Kyle Sextro, WR; Jordan Hofeldt, LB; Ace McKinnis, DB; Alex Rodriguez, DE.
Coach’s outlook: “There’s more questions than answers right now. I think we can be a very competitive team by the end of the season. We will be a late blooming team but I think we will bloom. Strengths include over team quickness and some starting experience in some spots, including playmakers at running back and wide receiver.”
Lincoln East (5-5)
Coach: John Gingery, 23rd year
Returning starters (8-3)—Seniors: Joey Adkisson, OL; Luke Spethman, WR; Jett Janssen, OT; Dylan Keller, OT; Cooper Colon, OL-DL; Jude Garrett, OL; Parker Volquardsen, OL; Trevor Jeffrey, DL. Junior: Carter Glenn, WR. Sophomore: GeGe Crayton, OL
Coach’s outlook: “We should be better up front as all linemen return. Good young players at the skilled positions, but we need to improve depth there.”
Lincoln North Star (3-6)
Coach: Tony Kobza, second year
Returning starters (5-4)—Seniors: Junior Lavilay, DL; Jehrett Meyers, OL. Juniors: Cole Coffey, DB; Matt Kopplin, LB; Jake Seip, OL-DL.
Coach’s outlook: “We will be a very young team. Most returners with experience will be juniors. Really good core group of guys. Need to develop some playmakers.”
Millard West (9-2)
Coach: Kirk Peterson, 17th year
Returning starters (5-3)—Seniors: Dalys Beanum, WR; Tristan Gomes, QB; Noah Klein, OL; Dan Sullivan, RB; Kaedyn Odermann, WR; Trey Wilbeck, DB; Dane Christensen, DE; Caleb Tay, LB..
Coach’s outlook: “We have some pieces in place to give us a chance. Overall depth is a concern for a variety of reasons but we like our sophomore and junior classes. Our schedule prepares us to make a run at the end of the season. There will be some bumps in the road but we’ll be where we need to be at the end of the season.”
Omaha Bryan (1-8)
Coach: Ryan Hanson, first year
Top returning starters (4-6)—Senior: Jaylon Walker, RB-DE. Juniors: Tyler Moore, WR; Fabian Reed, OL.
Outlook: Hanson, who was an assistant at Burke, took over the Bears just weeks before the start of practice.
Coach: Craig Williams, 14th year
Returning starters (7-9)—Seniors: Landon Thompson, LB; Joey Braasch, RB-DB; Christian Dyhrkopp, LB-RB; Brandon Reinke, OL-DL, Kasten Grape, OL-DL; Anthony Deanda, OL. Juniors: Trey Kobza, DB; Mason Moore, LB; Justin Gaston, DB; Garrett Esch, RB-DB; CJ Fleeman, QB.
Coach’s outlook: “We are still going to be young with a very big and talented junior class, but many of those kids played last year as sophomores. Our size has improved a bit with hard work in the weight room, and we will still have some athletes that can compete. Depth is our main concern when competing in the district that we are placed.”
Elkhorn South (10-2 in Class B)
Coach: Guy Rosenberg, eighth year
Returning starters (5-5)—Seniors: Colin McDonald, DL; Jack Paradis, LB; Elliott Brown, QB; Shae Wright, DB; Blaze Doxzon, DB; Alex Downing, DE. Juniors: Teddy Prochazka, OL; Isaac Zatechka, OL; Cooper Taylor, OL; Guy Hunt, slot.
Coach’s outlook: “We return three athletic quarterbacks and have seven of our top 10 offensive linemen back. We return our defensive MVP (Paradis) and our special teams MVP (Hunt) and an all-Metro kicker (Brian Cross). We’ll be more familiar with our opponents.”
Millard South (9-2)
Coach: Andy Means, 16th year
Returning starters (9-8)—Seniors: Kohl Herbolsheimer, OL-DL; Spencer Wagner, WR-DB; Isaiah Harris, RB; Tyson Gerdes, WR-DB; Jake Mayville, OL-DL; Chase Perchal, WR-DB; Conner Braley, LB; Ryan Foley, TE-DE. Juniors: T.J. Urban, QB; Cole Lammel, K-P; Zane Stenger, WR-DB; Tate Hinrichs, LB; Beau Wendt, OL-DL.
Coach’s outlook: “We will have a lot of experience back from last year’s playoff team. Depth will be an issue. If we can develop our depth, I believe we will be one of the teams with a chance to win the championship.”
Omaha Creighton Prep (5-5)
Coach: Tim Johnk, third year
Returning starters (4-7)—Seniors: Mason Armstead, WR-DB; Max Baber, OL; Joe Boulay, LB; Jackson Jenkins, DE; Will Manhart, TE; Nasire Perry, DL. Juniors: Alex Bullock, DB-WR; AJ Collins, DB-WR; Max Sanders, LB
Coach’s outlook: “We have a bunch of really hard working players who want to work together and win. We have committee ourselves to the we and not the me attitude. We are young and inexperienced at many positions. Developing a group of linemen was our No. 1 priority in the offseason along with getting everyone to buy into the culture that is being created.”
Omaha Northwest (3-6)
Coach: Chris Fant, second year
Returning starters (5-5)—Seniors: Jace Cooper, WR; Jack Tonnies, WR; Pierce Johnson, OL; Jae-Lyn Jones, OL; Adam Anding, LB; Brendon Love, LB; Rodderick Dailey, DB; Aaron Swinndle, DB. Juniors: Logan Reed, L; Caleb Reich, L. Sophomore: Jayden Pabe, LB.
Coach’s outlook: “We will be a younger team. We’ll be very athletic in most positions. Players have become much stronger in the weight room and have gained a higher level of football IQ.”
Omaha Westside (9-2)
Coach: Brett Froendt, 11th year
Returning starters (7-8)—Seniors: Jackson McMillan, OL; Trevor Barajas, LB; Jack Bush, K; Cal Weideman, WR; Grant Tagge, LB; Jake Holmstrom, LB. Juniors: Cade Haberman, OT; Avante Dickerson, RB; Will Hurtado, FB; Koby Bretz, DB.
Coach’s outlook: “Good core of the team is back with strong skill positions. Defense led Class A last year and will look to be solid again. Offense returns only two linemen, but looking for good athletic young linemen to step into those three open spots.”
Coach: Mark Wortman, 40th year
Returning starters (5-5)—Seniors: Kyler Beekman, OL-DE; Kaden Fox, OL; Evan Johnson, LB; Logan Macumber, LB; Aiden Hearty, DE. Juniors: Aidan Young, TB; Austin BOber, OL; Drew Christo, TE-LB.
Coach’s outlook: “Good leaders on the team. We need to develop a quarterback.”
Coach: Seth McClain, eighth year.
Returning starters (7-4)--Seniors: Kade Richardson, OL; Carter Newill, TE-LB; Carter Richmond, OL; Jon Kment, WR-DB; Keegan Menning, OL. Juniors: Dawson Glause, WR-DB; Jack Cooper, QB-DB; Boone Gray, OL.
Coach’s outlook: “Strengths will be the lines. We must improve the skill positions.”
Coach: Mike Kayl, second year
Returning starters (5-4)—Seniors: TJ Huber, OL; Coby Speer, WR. Juniors: Colby Scholl, TE; Arian Garcia, OL; Jackson Alexander, WR-DB.
Coach’s outlook: “Our team will have a year of experience playing a Class A schedule. Have some kids in the line that played a lot of downs last season. Kicking game will be a strength with both our kicker and punter returning. Need to replace our quarterback who was a two-year starter.”
Millard North (5-5)
Coach: Fred Petito, 36th year
Returning starters (11-10)—Seniors: Andrew Bednar, LB; James Kent, OL; Jarod Richards, OL; Carter Gum, OL; Ali’l Anien, OL; Noah Knoell, RB; Kason Kelly, LB; Jaxson Grass, LB; Easton Sixel, LB; Howard Phillips, DB; Jadus Ellis, DB; Caleb Munger, DB. Juniors: Jayden Hardeman, TE; Blake Closman, DB; Tommy Roland, DE; Sophomore: Ben Weindel, QB.
Coach’s outlook: “We will be competitive.”
Omaha Burke (13-0, state champion)
Coach: Paul Limongi, 14th year
Returning starters (4-4)—Seniors: Xavier Watts, WR-DB; Jaylon Roussell, RB; Michael Payne, WR; Nolan Olafson, OL; Austin Dougherty, LB; Caleb Robinson, DL; Jaylen Starks, DL.
Coach’s outlook: “We believe senior leadership will be a key to our success. Our players look forward to competing at a high level as we attack a challenging schedule.”
Papillion-La Vista (4-6)
Coach: Tim Williams, first year
Returning starters (6-5)—Seniors: Frankie Allen, DB; Ben Haynes, DL; Preston Kellogg, OL; Jacob Kuznia, OL; Matthew Schwartz, OL; Joe Bianchi, OL-DL; Zach Krogman, WR; Owen McLaughlin, WR; Ben Flott, DL; Ben Haynes, DL.
Coach’s outlook: “This year's team has a lot of good sized linemen and some guys that will compete very well for the running back spot. The receiving corps has some talent, but will be asked a lot of them with a new offense. There are a lot of areas that need improvement within this team, but they have been working hard with a great attitude to make this upcoming season something that they should be proud of.”