Leading up to the Nebraska high school football season, NEPrepZone.com will be looking at the top teams in each class, based on last year’s rankings. This week, Eight Man-1 will be in the spotlight with a new post each day. Let us know in the comments how you think each team will finish, as well as players you’ll be watching.
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No. 3 PENDER
COACH: Greg Conroy, 27th year
LAST SEASON: The Pendragons lost in the second round of the state playoffs, ending the season at 8-1.
RETURNING STARTERS: Ben Burmester, senior, RB/LB; Nick Svoboda, senior, OL/DL; Michael Schmidt, senior, OL/DL; Dyllon Frederickson, senior, TE/LB; Klint Conroy, senior, RB/DL; Brody VandeBrug, senior, QB/DB
KEY RETURNING PLAYER: Burmester. The 5-foot-11 190-pounder rushed for 1,036 yards and 19 touchdowns last season.
KEY DEPARTURE: Zack Johnson. Last year’s quarterback threw for 1,050 yards and 12 touchdowns with no interceptions, and he rushed for 600 yards.
KEY NEWCOMERS: Tyler Thomsen, senior, RB/DB; AJ Rutar, senior, RB/LB; Christopher Kai, junior, RB/DL; Devan Kaup, junior, TE/DE; Derick Roeber, sophomore, OL/DL; Tyler Krusemark, sophomore, RB/DB; Devin Soll, freshman, OL/DL
KEY POSITION CHANGES: VandeBrug will move from a slot receiver to quarterback to take over for Johnson.
ON OFFENSE: Can VandeBrug’s speed replace the efficient Johnson? The return of Burmester will help take some pressure off the new quarterback.
ON DEFENSE: Returning Frederickson — and his school-record 122 tackles last season — will certainly keep the Pendragon defense tough, but can others take some of the load?
GAME TO WATCH: Aug. 31, at West Point GACC
DISTRICT OPPONENTS: Randolph, Hartington, Emerson-Hubbard, Winnebago, Allen
COACH’S QUOTE: “A lot of returning experience and we hope we can continue the success we’ve had the previous years.”
Aug. 31, West Point GACC
Sep. 7, at Bloomfield
Sep. 14, at Creighton
Sep. 21, Winnebago
Sep. 28, Emerson-Hubbard
Oct. 5, at Hartington
Oct. 12, Allen
Oct. 19, at Randolph
— Jake Anderson
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For more prep football previews, go to Omaha.com/preppreviews