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. Class B 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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CLASS B NO. 3 OMAHA SKUTT
Coach: Matt Turman, 11th season
Last season: Lost to Omaha Gross 9-6 in state quarterfinals.
Returning starters: QB/S Creighton Koley (Sr.), WR/C Zach Zeplin (Sr.), TE/DE Ryan Bouda (Sr.), RB Dakota Krejci-Smith (Sr.), DE Sam Elliott (Sr.), RB/LB Joe Dooley (Sr.), OLB Ty Weis (Sr.).
Austin Hauptman, RB/LB: Hauptman was a force on both sides of the ball in 2012. Offensively, he carried the ball 121 times for 755 yards and nine touchdowns. In six of 11 games, Hauptman led the SkyHawks in rushing. At linebacker, Hauptman recorded 32 tackles, two sacks and ran an interception 79 yards for a score. He was on the honorable mention list for The World Herald’s All-Omaha Area Team.
KEY RETURNING PLAYER
Koley: “One of the most dynamic athletes I have coached at Skutt Catholic,” Turman said. Koley’s does it all — pass, run, return kicks, defend passes and find turnovers. Though Koley may split time at quarterback with junior Isaiah Ramsey or move to wide receiver, he’ll still find ways to have an impact on offense and defense. Koley’s defense abilities has earned him some looks from programs such as Memphis, Ohio, South Dakota, South Dakota State and North Dakota.
OT/DT Matt Doeschot (Sr.), OT/DT Austen Thielen (Sr.), G/DE Nic Peterson (Sr.), G/DT Matt Zach (Sr.), G/DT Alex Kramer (Sr.), WR/LB Ben Lane (Sr.), FB/OLB Brett LaMontia (Sr.), QB/OLB Isaiah Ramsey (Jr.), G/DE Kyle O’Niell (Jr.), RB/OLB Hunter Smith (Jr.), WR/OLB Thomas Pivovar (Jr.).
The skill positions will need to be replenished, but Skutt will be helped along by an offensive line that includes five members who played as much as the starters a season ago. Cycling in lineman for every other series leaves the SkyHawks with a lot of experience up front. Plus, Turman said they’ll be even bigger and stronger on the line than they were last season. Overall, it shouldn’t take the offense too long to get acclimated to a few new faces. Zeplin, the leading receiver from a year ago, is back, and Turman said running back Krejci-Smith is the fastest player on the team and can go the distance on any play.
Statistically, Skutt had the best defense in Class B in 2012. The SkyHawks led in points and yardage allowed. They shut out four opponents and allowed less than 10 pounds four other times. Skutt didn’t lose as much on defense as it did on offense. Seven starters return for 2013 including Koley and Zeplin in the secondary and a host of linemen who have already lettered. Some development will be required at linebacker, but with an experienced defensive front, it shouldn’t hurt too much.
GAME TO WATCH
At Gross, Oct. 25.
Omaha Gross, Ralston, Omaha Roncalli
“We have a chance to have a pretty special season. Coming off the 9-2 season last year and having our two losses by a combined 10 points, our players and coaching staff feels like we were a few bounces and injuries away from winning it all. Our team definitely has that goal for this year.”
“Expectations are high, and hopefully we can get some of the younger guys to develop and give us some depth. If we can do that, and stay healthy, we should contend at the end of the year.”
Aug. 30, at Gretna
Sept. 6, Plattsmouth
Sept. 13, at Elkhorn
Sept. 20, at Mount Michael
Sept. 26, Seward
Oct. 4, Columbus
Oct. 11, Omaha Roncalli
Oct. 18, Ralston
Oct. 25, at Omaha Gross
– Nate Tenopir
To see previous entries from this series, go to NEPrepZone.com/prep-previews.