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July 22, 2014

Class A No. 10: Creighton Prep

Head coach: Chris Nizzi
Last season: 7-4
Postseason: Creighton Prep has made it to the playoffs every year since 1995 and has been state champion as recently as 2004. The Junior Jays also won Class A state titles in 1980, 1983, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989 and 1999. Prep was also Class A runner-up in 1976, 1977, 1978, 1991, 2000 and 2003. Last year they beat Papillion-La Vista South 23-17 before losing to eventual Class A runner-up Omaha Westside 48-36.
2014 breakdown: Players to Watch | Overview | Offense | Defense | Season Outlook


It's a mixed bag at Prep, where the Junior Jays return six starters on offense and seven on defense but need to replace a Division I college QB and two other all-staters from last year's 7-4 team.

"Our strengths will be in both the offensive and defensive lines but we need to develop some key skill players," says fourth-year head coach Chris Nizzi, who is a Creighton University graduate.

Creighton Prep will compete in the A-3 district along with Bellevue East, Bellevue West, Omaha Central, defending Class A champion Omaha North, Omaha South and South Sioux City.

Creighton Prep Junior Jays

Joe Rodino Defensive Back
Josh Stoltenberg Lineman
Jack McLeay Lineman
Micah Rensch Running Back
Ben McLeay Quarterback


Take quarterback for instance. The Jays have two seniors with minimal varsity experience in Ben McLeay (6-4, 200) and Zac Luckey (5-10, 150). Whoever emerges at QB will throw to a mostly untested set of receivers, though junior Trystan Ducker (6 catches, 144 yards, 2 TDs) has shown big-play capability.

Prep does have a go-to running back in senior Micah Rensch (5-11, 180), who last year rushed for 844 yards and six touchdowns in 2013. Depth at that position could come from senior Matt Copeland (6-0 190) and junior Brandon Bena (6-2, 185).

Leading the offensive line will be senior Jack McLeay (6-1, 255), who was all-district as a junior, and Josh Stoltenberg (6-3, 295), who is getting some FCS and FBS college recruiting attention. Another returning starter in the offensive line is junior Ethan Ruh (6-2, 250) while senior Connor Morris (5-11, 255) and junior Alex Venditte (6-2, 290) are other prospects in the line.


Senior Jeremiah Stovall (5-11, 170), who last year had 82 tackles and 2 INTs, and senior Rodino (5-11, 190), who was all-district last fall, lead a secondary that also returns Tucker and senior Steve Janda (5-9, 175). Senior Logan McNeil (6-0, 185), who last year collected 81 tackles, is back at linebacker.

Four starters return in the Prep defensive line, including Stoltenberg, junior Triston Wilson (6-2, 250), senior Davis Becker (5-9, 205) and senior Mitch Ursick (5-11, 240).

Shoes to Fill

Gone are Division I recruit Easton Stick at QB, record-setting all-state receiver RJ Urzenwoski and all-state linebacker Mike Emodi.

Must Step Up

Prep is going to have to replace a whole mess of outstanding skill players, real playmakers, and how well the Jays do so will probably tell the tale in 2014.

Season Prediction

A quarterback needs to establish himself but if he does the Jays could match last year's six regular season wins.


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