Published Thursday, July 25, 2013 AT 6:59 AM / Updated at 10:36 AM
Prep Football Countdown: Eight Man-1 No. 4 Howells-Dodge
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. Eight Man-1 takes the stage this week, 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-1 NO. 4 HOWELLS-DODGE
District D2-1

Coach: Mike Speirs, 18th season

Last season: Howells-Dodge rolled through an undefeated regular season that saw them outscore their opponents 406-106, before being ousted by Bruning-Davenport/Shickley in the quarterfinals.

RETURNING STARTERS
Offense: QB Casey Wisnieski (Sr.), TE Luke Hegemann (Sr.), OL Danny Widhelm (Sr.), RB Jesse Faltys (Jr.)

Defense: DB Wisnieski, DE Hegemann, DE Widhelm, LB Faltys

KEY DEPARTURE
Nathan Bazata, DE: Last season’s preview said that Bazata could jump to being a Division I recruit with a strong season. He did just that as he signed with the Iowa Hawkeyes following an eight-sack season. His presence will be missed on the defensive front.

KEY RETURNING PLAYER
Wisnieski: The senior plays the combination of touchdown-thrower and touchdown-stopper. Wisnieski returns under center, but the two-way player also will look to improve on his six interceptions and 39 tackles from 2012.

NEWCOMERS
Ben Keuhn: Keuhn will line up at receiver and running back while also receiving time at safety this season after suffering a broken ankle last year.

ON OFFENSE
An experienced backfield offers optimism, but how far can an inexperienced line carry the Jaguars?

ON DEFENSE
Mike Speirs’ group returns just one player, Faltys, at linebacker. If newcomers don’t emerge, this could be a rare rebuilding year for the Jags.

GAME TO WATCH
At High Plains, Sept. 20

DISTRICT OPPONENTS
Cedar Bluffs, Clarkson/Leigh, West Point GACC, Omaha Christian Academy, Omaha Nation

COACH’S QUOTE
“The development of the offensive line will determine how far we’ll go this season.”

SCHEDULE
Sept. 6, at Allen
Sept. 13, Randolph
Sept. 20, at High Plains
Sept 27, at Cedar Bluffs
TBD, Omaha Christian Academy
Oct. 11, at West Point GACC
Oct. 18, Omaha Nation
Oct. 25, Clarkson/Leigh

– Steven Elonich

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