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August 16, 20121. Howells-Dodge. Wow, 15 state championships between these two historic programs, all of them in the last 18 seasons. Don't be at all surprised if they make it one-for-one as a consolidated program, led by Iowa recruit Nathan Bazata.
2. Guardian Angels CC: The Bluejays reached their second consecutive state final, losing to Elgin/Pope John in the final. This year's team led by best 1-2 offensive punch in the class, senior RB Nate Hass and junior QB Eric Wietfeld.
3. Twin Loup: This newly configured program features Loup County and last year's Class D-2 state champion Sargent. What makes the Wolves double tough will be an outstanding line, led by senior all-stater Ryan Mosier.
4. Elgin/Pope John: Last year's D-1 champs will again be strong on defense and will feature a power running game led by senior fullback Blake Anderson.
5. High Plains Community: Storm turned some heads last postseason by upsetting Pender and will be better yet in 2012, led by senior all-state QB candidate Tanner Fate.
6. Creighton: Bulldogs were torn apart by injury in 2011 but if healthy - and we talking about all-state RB Jacob Morrill - they again assume their usual role of state title contender.
7. BDS: Storm will be led by all-state QB candidate Ryan Tegtmeier and all-state lineman Dylan Lauenstein.
8. Freeman: Falcons broke through with a playoff win and look to maybe better than, led by senior all-state candidate Austin Ruskamp.
9. Bloomfield: Moving up from D-2, the Bees feature a strong senior class led by senior all-state candidates Chet Beckman and Alec Wilson.
10. Exeter-Milligan: Also moving up from D-2, the Timberwolves reached last year's quarterfinals and could do the same in D-1 this fall. Big man on campus is junior all-state candidate Nolan White.