Prep Kickoff 2017: Northeast Kansas League preview

Jefferson North, Jackson Heights shared league crown with undefeated records

Northeast Kansas League preview

 

Horton Chargers

Coach: Nick Dowell (10th year).

Last year’s record: 1-8

Postseason: none.

Returning starters: Offense (5), Defense (5).

Top returners: Conner Dean, RB/LB, 5-9, 190, Sr.; Matthew Lobdell, QB/DB, 5-9, 155, Jr.; Cole Gormley, OL/LB, 6-0, 220, Sr.; Nathan Isaacs, TE/K/P, 6-5, 215, Sr.; Lane Selle, RB/LB, 5-9, 185, Sr.; Craig Wahwahsuck, RB/DL, 5-9, 175, SR.; Marshall Randall, RB/DB, 6-0, 160, Jr.

Outlook: Horton scored more than one touchdown in only two games last year and had more points in lone win (64) than other eight games combined (53). … Every bit of last year’s 1,426 yards gained on the ground returns led by Dean, who ran for 603 yards and six touchdowns. … Lobdell transitioned to quarterback last year during season and ranked second to Dean with 328 rushing yards. … Wahwahsuck led Chargers in tackles for loss with eight and had 43 overall. … Addition of senior Conner Winter (6-2, 24) gives the Chargers a big body to help plug some holes up front.

Jackson Heights Cobras

Coach: Caleb Wick (6th year).

Last year’s record: 6-3

Postseason: none.

Returning starters: Offense (7), Defense (8).

Top returners: Brady Holliday, QB/LB, Sr.; Tyler Wendorff, OL/DL, 5-9, 225, Sr.; Jason Parker, OL/DL, 5-10, 190, Sr.; Lane Thomas, TE, 6-1, 160, Jr.; Curtis Niehues, OL/DL, 6-0, 230, Jr.; Carson Williams, OL/DL, 6-2, 210, So.; Riley Watkins, OL/DL, 6-0, 180, So.; Braden Dohl, TE, 6-3, 215, Sr.; Sebastian Butto, RB/DB, 5-8, 140, Sr.; Garrett Hartman, LB/RB, 5-9, 175, Sr.; Cooper Williams, DB/RB, 5-6, 145, So.

Outlook: Cobras were undefeated in league play, sharing title with Jefferson North. … Heights started two freshmen and two sophomores on line last year and unti should be strength of squad early as Cobras replace backfield trio which combined for nearly 1,600 yards and 24 TDs on the ground. … Holliday led Cobras with 625 yards and 11 TDs, but could move to quarterback to replace Wyatt Olberding. … Cooper Williams had six interceptions as freshman starter and Holliday picked off three passes. … All three losses were by 14 points or less and came in district play, denying Cobras a return to playoffs.

Jefferson North Chargers

Coach: Jeff Schneider (3rd year).

Last year’s record: 8-2

Postseason: lost in 2-1A first round.

Returning starters: Offense (8), Defense (7).

Top returners: Ridge Robertson, RB/DB, Sr.; Jacob Schrick, OL/LB, Sr.; Anthony Cahill, RB/CB, Sr.; Brayden Summers, WR/LB, Sr.; Samuel Larson, RB/LB, Sr.; Boston Lane, QB, Sr.; Knox Tweed, OL/DL, Sr.; Caden Worthington, CB/WR, Sr.; Caden McAfee, OL/DL, Jr.; Kyle Budy, OL/DL, Jr.

Outlook: Chargers went undefeated in league play, sharing title with Jackson Heights — the program’s first league crown since 2001. … Only losses came to 2-1A champion Troy and Washington County. … Biggest graduation loss, literally and figuratively, was All-Class 2-1A lineman Braden Schneider, who signed with South Dakota and was All-Class 2-1A pick. … Robertson took over as feature back last year and ran for 724 yards and 15 TDs before breaking his leg in the seventh game of the season. … Larson added 772 yards and 10 TDs rushing and Summers led receivers with 21 catches, 418 yards, and 7 TDs. … Lane threw for 852 yards and 15 touchdowns.

Maur Hill Ravens

Coach: Jermaine Monroe (6th year).

Last year’s record: 7-3

Postseason: lost in 3A first round.

Returning starters: Offense (9), Defense (8).

Top returners: Ronald Faulk-Tindal, RB/LB, 5-11, 195, Sr.; Cole Harris, OL/DL, 6-4, 295, Jr.; Colten Kocour, WR/FS, 6-4, 180, Sr.; Benedict Humberg, OL/DL, 5-11, 190, Sr.; Sean Mason, OL/DL, 5-11, 210, Sr.; Jack Caudle, QB, 6-3, 160, So.; Tate Vowels, RB/DB, 5-10, 175, So.; Abe Siebenmorgen, OL/LB, 6-2, 185, So.; Nathan Pelzer, WR/DB, Sr..

Outlook: Ravens posted third straight 7-3 season, averaging 38 points per game. … Faulk-Tindal finished with 1,492 yards and 17 touchdowns rushing, averaging 13 yards per carry and had back-to-back monster games with 354 yards against Immaculata-Maranatha and 236 against Atchison County. … Caudle settled in at quarterback threw for 1,535 yards and 19 touchdowns and has leading receiver Kocour (28 catches, 474 yards, 5 TDs) back. … Faulk-Tindal is also Maur Hill’s leading returning tackler, making 61 a year ago.

McLouth Bulldogs

Coach: Gary Freeman (3rd year).

Last year’s record: 4-5

Postseason: none.

Returning starters: Offense (8), Defense (8).

Top returners: Jeremy Carlton, QB/CB, 5-8, 145, Jr.; Caleb Richardson, WR/OLB, 6-0, 160, Jr.; Zach McCowan, FB/LB, 5-11, 240, Sr.; Garrison Pope, WR/S, 5-10, 135, Jr.; Jacob McCowan, OL/DL, 5-8, 145, Jr.; Trustyn Wilks, OL/DL, 5-8, 150, Jr.; Travis Brauer, OL/LB, 5-7, 170, Sr.; Nicky Harmon, OL/LB, 5-9, 140, Jr.

Outlook: Starting mostly sophomores last year, Bulldogs improved by three wins after 1-8 2015 season and were two plays from a 6-3 season. … Biggest strides came defensively where Bulldogs allowed 23.4 points per game after giving up more than 40 per game in 2015. … Defense will miss All-Class 2-1A lineman Mystikal Randel and all-league picks Tanner Zink and Brody Troupe, but senior linebacker Zach McCowan is the heart and soul of the team according to Freeman. … Carlton enters his third year starting under center and last year threw for 1,500 yards and 15 touchdowns while only getting picked off five times…. Size is concern with McCowan the only returning starter bigger than 170 pounds and average weight of the returning linemen is around 150 pounds.

Oskaloosa Bears

Coach: Scott Whaley (12th year).

Last year’s record: 4-5

Postseason: none.

Returning starters: Offense (6), Defense (6).

Top returners: Jared Miller, RB, 5-8, 185, Sr.; Heath Knopp, OL, 6-0, 205, Sr.; Tristan Hopkins, E/DB, 5-7, 140, Sr.; Colby Peck, OL/DL, Sr.; Zach Harvey, C/NG, 6-0, 180, Sr.; Hunter Reed, WR/DB, 5-9, 145, Jr.; Lucas Hatfield, E/DB, 5-8, 145, Jr.

Outlook: Bears were 4-5 for second straight year, going winless in district play after 4-2 start. … Miller made the move from offensive line to the backfield last year and ran for 412 yards in the last six games. … Reed caught 55 passes for 555 yards and 6 TDs last year, but the Bears lost returning quarterback Jaxson Webb (903 yards passing, 8 TDs), who transferred to Free State. … Knopp returns after suffering a knee injury in the second game a year ago. … Miller (61) and Hopkins (63) were leading tacklers last year.

Pleasant Ridge Rams

Coach: Pat McCollim (6th year).

Last year’s record: 3-7

Postseason: lost in 3A first round.

Returning starters: Offense (6), Defense (6).

Top returners: Breydon Baragary, QB/DB, 5-10, 165, Sr.; Konner Walker, RB/LB, 5-10, 190, Sr.; Seth Beying, OL/LB, 5-8, 170, Sr.; Zac Carnoali, OL/DE, 6-2, 200, Sr.; Hunter Wagner, RB/LB, 6-0, 220, Jr.; Clayton Richter, TE/DE, 6-3, 220, Jr.; Eli Schwinn, WR/DB, 6-1, 190, Jr.; Carson Bertrand, OL/DL, 6-2, 260, Jr.; Colton Comer, WR/DB, 6-2, 170, Jr.; Caulin Thompson, RB/DB, 5-6, 125, So.

Outlook: Rams lost three games in which it out-gained its opponent by at least 100 yards with turnovers and penalties being a major bugaboo all season. … Despite six-game losing streak in middle of season, Rams still made playoffs for fifth straight year. … Baragary began the year at receiver, but after an injury to starter Eli Schwinn he moved to quarterback for the last five weeks of the season and wound up rushing for 674 yards and seven touchdowns and threw for 250 yards and two scores. … Walker played in only four games and ran for 330 yards and five scores, while Wagner added 365 yards. … Wagner also led the defense with 53 tackles as a sophomore.

8-Man

Valley Falls Dragons

Coach: Nick Cummings (2nd year).

Last year’s record: 1-8

Postseason: none.

Returning starters: Offense (6), Defense (6).

Top returners: Eli Coleman, OG/NT, 6-2, 270, Sr.; Carter Allen, RB/DB, 5-9, 160, Jr.; Cole Brosa, QR/DB, 6-2, 185, Jr.; Garrett Steinlicht, OG, 6-1, 180, Jr.; Colton Heinekan, C, 5-10, 225, Jr.; Hunter Aspinwall, TE/DE, 6-3, 255, Jr.; Tyler Lockhart, QB, 6-3, 185, So.; Drew Pickerell, WR/DB, 5-8, 155, So. Lucas Welborn, RB/TE/DE, 5-11, 180, So.

Outlook: Transition from 11-man to eight-man game was rough one for Dragons, who won debut against Wetmore then dropped last eight games. … Dragons were part of record-setting game with 114-68 loss to Onaga setting an eight-man state record for most combined points (182), the old mark 174 set by Otis-Bison and Kinsley in 2014. … Defense allowed at least 47 points in all eight losses and 194 in last two games combined. … Offense did gel behind Lockhart, who took over as starting quarterback in week four and wound up throwing for 1,440 yards — 465 of those coming in the Onaga loss where he set a state record for pass attempts in a game with 79. … Dragons return all but one starter on the line. … Valley Falls will be young once again with Coleman the lone senior expected to factor into the starting mix.

Brent Maycock

NORTHEAST KANSAS LEAGUE

2016 Standings

League Overall

*Jefferson North … 6-0 … 8-2

*Jackson Heights … 5-0 … 6-3

Maur Hill … 4-2 … 7-3

Oskaloosa … 4-2 … 4-5

McLouth … 3-3 … 4-5

Pleasant Ridge … 2-5 … 3-6

Horton … 1-6 … 1-8

Immaculata-Maranatha … 0-7 … 2-7

x–Valley Falls … 0-0 … 1-8

*–Champion

x–No league schedule

Returning all-leaguers

Offense

Quarterback — Jack Caudle, Maur Hill (HM).

Running back — Conner Dean, Horton (2nd); Ronald Faulk-Tindal, Maur Hill (1st); Brady Holliday, Jackson Heights (2nd); Zach McCowan, McLouth (HM); Ridge Robertson, Jefferson North (1st).

Receiver — Colton Kocour, Maur Hill (2nd); Brayden Summers, Jefferson North (1st).

Line — Cole Harris, Maur Hill (1st); Jacob Schrick, Jefferson North (2nd); Carson Williams, Jackson Heights (2nd).

Kicker — Felix Metz, Oskaloosa (2nd).

Specialist — Jeremy Carlton, McLouth (2nd).

Defense

Line — Riley Watkins, Jackson Heights (HM).

Linebacker — Samuel Larson, Jefferson North (1st); Gabe Soto, Horton (2nd).

Cornerback — Breydon Baragary, Pleasant Ridge (2nd); Anthony Cahill, Jefferson North (1st); Nathan Peltzer, Maur Hill (2nd); Cooper Williams, Jackson Heights (1st).

Safety — Holliday, Jackson Heights (1st); Triston Hopkins, Oskaloosa (2nd).

Specialist — Faulk-Tindal, Maur Hill (2nd); Robertson, Jefferson North (HM).

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