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, Class B 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. 3 GRETNA
COACH: Chad Jepsen, sixth year
LAST SEASON: Gretna rolled to an 11-0 start before being halted by Crete in the state tournament semifinals.
RETURNING STARTERS: Tanner Evans, senior, OL/DL; Caleb Koch, senior, WR/DB; Tate Paulsen, senior, RB/LB; Zach Stover, senior, OL/LB; Connor Shedeed, junior, WR/DB; Tanner Swett, junior, OL/DL; Jay Gillman, junior, K; Trey Russell, senior, TE/DB
PLAYER TO WATCH: Paulsen. The 6-foot-2, 180-pound senior rushed 490 yards on 70 carries as a junior and will take the majority of the touches for the Dragons.
KEY DEPARTURE: Andy Janovich (FB/LB) and Jared Blum (TE/DE) both walked on at Nebraska as several others departed to Division II programs.
KEY NEWCOMERS: Mick Stoltenberg, junior, TE/DE; Nick Stoltenberg, junior, QB/DE; Nick Kwazniewski, junior, OL/DL; Trevor Leiting, junior, QB/DE; Kristian Whitney, senior, OL/DL; Willy Zeleny, senior, OL/DL
ON OFFENSE: Several sophomores and juniors received playing time last year, and Swett has gained 20 pounds this offseason to help bulk up the line.
ON DEFENSE: With six newcomers on the defensive line, gaining experience and growing confidence will be crucial. Stover returns 58 solo tackles and eight assists from last season in the secondary.
GAME TO WATCH: Opening on the road against Omaha Skutt won’t be a walk in the park, but an Oct. 12 matchup against district opponent Elkhorn could have playoff implications.
DISTRICT OPPONENTS: Elkhorn, Elkhorn South, Elkhorn Mount Michael
COACH’S QUOTE: “Our kids have done well this summer; you hope to have a successful summer and we did. You always like to see the kids prepare and want to succeed like ours do.”
Aug. 24, at Omaha Skutt
Aug. 31, Blair
Sept. 7, Norris
Sept. 14, at South Sioux City
Sept. 21, Crete
Sept. 28, at Waverly
Oct. 5, Elkhorn South
Oct. 12, at Elkhorn
Oct. 19, Elkhorn Mount Michael
— Steven Elonich
* * *
For more prep football previews, go to NEPrepZone.com/preppreviews