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.
* * *
No. 1 WEST POINT GACC
COACH: David Ridder
LAST SEASON: Lost to Elgin/Pope John in the state championship, 44-14, to end the season at 10-2
RETURNING STARTERS: Devin Disher, junior, OL/DL; Blake Hass, junior, TE/LB; Nate Hass, senior, RB/LB; Jonny Guenther, senior, TE/S, Trent Ortmeier, junior, DL/OL; Eric Wietfeld, junior, QB/DB
KEY RETURNING PLAYER: Hass. The running back will look for an encore after he ran for over 1,900 yards in 2011. With six starters back on offense, Hass will once again be looking at an opportunity to put up big numbers.
KEY DEPARTURES: Anthony Guenther and Zach Wietfeld. Guenther, a lineman, and Wietfield, a receiver, ended their senior season in the championship game loss and Ridder said they will be missed.
NEWCOMERS: The Bluejays benefited from the consolidation of fellow eight-man football powers Howells and Dodge. Trent Ortmeier looks to make a big impact on the offensive and defensive lines.
KEY POSITION CHANGES: West Point GACC is looking to move players onto offensive and defensive line to make up for the departure of Guenther.
ON OFFENSE: The Bluejays return six players with starting experience on offense including quarterback Wietfeld and dangerous running back Hass. Hass had the sixth most rushing yards of anyone in Nebraska high school football last season.
ON DEFENSE: Though their defense gave up 44 points to Elgin/Pope John in last year’s title game, the Bluejays return six starters which should make them one of the best units in their district.
GAMES TO WATCH: West Point GACC faces a challenge right off the bat when they face Pender on the road Aug. 31. The Bluejays play their rival Howells-Dodge on Oct. 5.
DISTRICT OPPONENTS: Cedar Bluffs, Clarkson/Leigh, Howells-Dodge, Omaha Christian Academy, Omaha Nation
COACH’S QUOTE: “You look for consistency and we have a lot of good kids back that want to get back down to Lincoln.”
Aug. 31, at Pender
Sept. 7, at Neligh-Oakdale
Sept. 14, Cross County
Sept. 21, at Omaha Christian Academy
Sept. 28, Clarkson/Leigh
Oct. 5, at Howells-Dodge
Oct. 12, Cedar Bluffs
Oct. 19, Omaha Nation
— Grant Egger
* * *
For more prep football previews, go to NEPrepZone.com/preppreviews