Published Monday, July 22, 2013 AT 7:00 AM / Updated at 6:13 PM
Prep Football Countdown: Eight Man-2 No. 2 Humphrey St. Francis
Nebraska Prep Zone Omaha World-Herald

Leading up to the Nebraska high school football season, NEPrepZone.com will be looking at the top teams in each class, based on last season’s final rankings. First up, Eight Man-2 is 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 the players you’ll be watching.

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EIGHT MAN-2 NO. 2 HUMPHREY ST. FRANCIS

Coach: Eric Kessler, 10th season

Last season: Lost in state championship game to Giltner 42-26

RETURNING STARTERS
Sam Zach, QB/DB; Brandon Weidner, TE/DE; J.J. Oltmer, RB/DB

KEY DEPARTURES
John Wieser, LB: An honorary captain on The World-Herald’s Eight-Man-2 all-state team, Wieser was a physical 215-pounder. He was versatile in his career with the Flyers, also playing nose guard during his junior season.

Corbin Eisenmenger, OL: The 235-pounder also represented HSF on the all-state team after manning the veteran offensive and defensive lines.

KEY RETURNING PLAYER
Oltmer: The bruising runner led St. Francis in rushing with 1,588 yards as a sophomore and will look to bully his way to more in his second year on the Flyers’ No. 1 squad.

NEWCOMERS
Last year’s JV performers will add depth to a senior-heavy team.

KEY POSITION CHANGES

Weidner has the best chance to play in multiple spots on offense and defense, but most of the team is set in the positions they started in.

ON OFFENSE
Expect Oltmer to again get a heavy workload behind a retooled offensive line led by center Chayse Wemhoff. James Brockhaus, Tim Noonan and Tanner Krings — the brother of current South Dakota State Jackrabbit Nick Krings — should also contribute on the line. Sam Zach split time at quarterback last season, coming in for passing situations. This year, he’s expected to take the bulk of the workload, run or pass.

ON DEFENSE
The Flyers have a lot experienced players returning because they rotated pieces in and out of the lineup in 2012. “Our strength on defense is going to be our good leadership,” assistant coach Dave Stricklin said.

GAME TO WATCH
Fullerton, Aug. 30

DISTRICT OPPONENTS
Bancroft-Rosalie, Humphrey, Lindsay Holy Family, Lyons-Decatur Northeast, Scribner-Snyder

COACH’S QUOTE
“We expect to be competitive in every game we play, especially because of our leadership returning on the team.” — Stricklin, assistant coach

SCHEDULE
Aug. 30, Fullerton
Sept. 6, at Osmond
Sept. 13, at Spalding/Spalding Academy
Sept. 20, Cedar Valley
Oct. 4, at Lyons-Decatur Northeast
Oct. 11, Scribner-Snyder
Oct. 18, Humphrey
Oct. 25, at Bancroft-Rosalie

— Grant Egger

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The World-Herald sports desk. Contact the sports desk at 402-444-1201 or sports@owh.com.