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.
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No. 1 CRETE
COACH: Chuck McGinnis, 13th season
LAST SEASON: Lost to Elkhorn 26-17 in the championship game, finishing the season 12-1
RETURNING STARTERS: Justin Hollman, senior, OL/DL; Colton Steer, senior, RB/LB; Garret Wahl, senior, TE/DE; Cory Hintz, senior, WR/DE
KEY DEPARTURE: Derek McGinnis, QB. The Cardinals leader on the offensive side of the ball has moved on to FCS National Champion North Dakota State this year. As a senior, McGinnis threw for 2,041 yards and added 542 on the ground.
PLAYER TO WATCH: Steer. The 6-foot-2, 215-pound linebacker was a force last season due to his physical play. He should benefit from another year of experience and push for collegiate recruiting interest this fall. As a running back, Steer should see more carries out of the backfield with the graduation of some of the Cardinals offensive weapons.
ON OFFENSE: Steer should become a mainstay at running back behind an offensive line that returns Hollman. Wahl is a returning starter at tight end, and Cory Hintz could put the offense in good field position with his return skills.
ON DEFENSE: Steer leads a defense with just two returning starters. The inside linebacker and Wahl look to stabilize a 5-3 front that will need young players to contribute and develop as the season progresses.
GAMES TO WATCH: Crete has a tough schedule that reaches downright difficult when the Cardinals face Gretna and Aurora in back-to-back weeks, Sept. 21 and 28. Crete edged them by a combined six points in the playoffs during consecutive rounds last year. In all, the Cardinals face six playoff teams from a year ago including a Class A qualifier in Columbus.
DISTRICT OPPONENTS: Beatrice, Norris, Seward
COACH’S QUOTE: “We have a lot of starters to replace. It will be crucial that our seniors provide quality leadership. Our younger kids will have to contribute and grow up fast against a tough schedule.”
Aug. 24, at Ralston
Aug. 31, Waverly
Sept. 7, Columbus
Sept. 13, at Omaha Gross Catholic
Sept. 21, at Gretna
Sept. 28, Aurora
Oct. 5, at Seward
Oct. 12, at Norris
Oct. 19, Beatrice
— Grant Egger
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For more prep football previews, go to NEPrepZone.com/preppreviews