After finishing 6-3 last season the Wolves return four starters on both offense and defense.
"We will have a couple of seniors and a junior in the backfield and will have to replace a couple of graduated linemen," says third-year head coach Joe Kupper. "We will need some younger kids to step up and become competitors."
Junior QB Mike Buiton (5-9, 160) returns after a big 2013, one in which he threw for over 1,400 yards, as do senior running backs Conner Walker (6-1, 180) and Austin Helmer (5-10, 170). Sophomore Gage Christensen (5-9, 155) will also get some carries.
Sophomore center Gus Delatour (5-9, 175) is the lone returning starter in the line though sophomore Ben Miles (6-0, 275) will also help along the line of scrimmage.
Helmer is a returning first-team all-stater, leading all of Nebraska six-man in tackles in 2013, and the versatile Walker is a returning second-team all-stater, also at linebacker. Miles is a big-time run-stopper in the middle of the defense.
The Cowboys enjoyed a big 2013, going 8-2 and reaching the state playoff semifinals, and now return five starters on defense and four on offense.
"We need our defense to be the strength of our team, like it was last year, and we will get some help from some of last year's freshmen who gained valuable paying time," says sixth-year head coach Chris Bode.
The offense will revolve around senior running back Clay Goodwin (5-11, 165), who last year rushed for 663 yards and nine touchdowns, with sophomore Cade Cody (5-7, 180) another option in the running game. Senior Dustin Gourd (6-1, 165) and incoming freshman Arvidas Henry (5-9, 145) will battle for the starting QB position with incoming freshman Dawson Gourd (5-11, 155) also expected to contribute in the backfield.
Outstanding senior Casey Lamle (6-3, 200) will lead the offensive line, a unit that will also return senior Wyatt Galloway (6-2, 155) and sophomore Jayden Schmit (6-3, 200),with incoming freshman Augie Galloway (5-10, 185) also expected to play in the line.
Lamle, Goodwin and Cody (6 FR) will among the team's defensive leaders.
After going winless in Class D-2 last season the Dragons drop to the six-man ranks and will have a new head coach, UN-Lincoln graduate Carson Klute.
"Our strengths are going to be good numbers, senior leadership and a returning starter at quarterback but we will also be young and inexperienced and new to six-man," says Coach Klute. Last season the Dragons played in a nearly impossible situation, starting the year with 10 players and finishing with nine while playing an eight-man schedule.
The Dragons return a good one in senior QB Ashton Oakman (5-8, 145) and senior Laethion Brown (6-0, 180) is not only a strong runner but also a strong leader. Junior Noah Mosier (5-5, 175) returns as the team's fullback with senior Hayden Loontjer (6-5, 175) back at receiver. Senior Jared Pohlman (6-6, 245) anchors the offensive line with senior Garett Mees (5-10, 140) a veteran at tight end.
Sophomore Heath Finke (5-3, 135) will help at receiver and incoming freshman Tate Mosier (5-10, 135) is also expected to play.
Mosier, Oakman and Mees return at linebacker with Brown the leader of the defensive line and Finke a veteran at safety.
Also new to the six-man game the Cardinals return five starters on both offense and defense from last year's team which finished 3-5 against a Class D-2 schedule.
"We have several two-year starters and I feel that is going to help us be very competitive," says third-year head coach Dusty Gaston. "Once again our weakness will be a lack of depth as our numbers are very low."
Senior Austin Meyers (5-11, 195) gets first crack at the starting QB position while senior Kasey Schwenk (5-10, 200) and junior Tyrone Brave (6-0, 195) give the Cardinals a pair of powerful running backs. Senior Alex Lawson (5-9, 190) gives the team experience at tight end and senior Joe Soncsen (5-9, 210) will lead the offensive line.
Schwenk, an all-district player in 2013, will lead the defense.
Seventh-year head coach Charles Jones returns four starters on both offense and defense from last year's 2-6 team.
"We will have a core of veteran players, including eight lettermen, but we will still lack depth and will need young players to fill some key positions," says Coach Jones, a 1994 graduate of Chadron State College.
An all-stater as a sophomore, Dalton Littell (5-9, 150) returns at quarterback after missing six games in 2013. Junior Jace Walther (6-1, 180) is a returning starter at running back, senior Austin Phillips (6-2, 165) is back at receiver and senior Dakota Werkmeister (5-11, 175) is the lone returning starter in the offensive line.
Littell will play linebacker and line up behind a veteran D-line that returns Phillips and Walther at end and Werkmeister at nose guard. Sophomore Bryar Gerlach (6-2, 180) will help on both sides of the ball and junior Cayln Werkmeister (5-6, 140) and Chase Lenz (6-0, 150) are lettermen who should earn playing time. Senior Luke White (5-7, 140) is a letterman who will play in the secondary.
On their own after leaving a cooperative with Stapleton the Longhorns are back in business but will return just one player with starting experience and a new coach in Robert Mitchell.
Senior lineman Dane Daigger (6-1, 170) and junior back Peyton Barner (5-11, 160) will be team leaders with juniors Garret Ryland (5-9, 150), Will Stickney (5-11, 210) and sophomores Kyon Neal (5-8, 150) and Colby Crow (5-11, 140) lettermen who will provide the foundation for the team. Neal will most likely serve as the team's quarterback.
McPherson County also benefits from the arrival of six newcomers, including senior ends Cameron Fagan (6-2, 180) and Wiley Munson (5-8, 150), sophomore back Dillon White (5-10, 155) and freshman end Jared Schultis (5-8, 130) and freshman backs Josh Holm (5-6, 125).
A new cooperative including Cedar Rapids and Spalding, the Chargers will be coached by Joe Imus and return five players with starting experience on defense, four on offense.
"Our biggest strength is that we have a nice combination of experience, size and speed but in order to have a successful season we need to stay healthy, build some depth and make a smooth transition to six-man."
Senior Collin Martinsen (6-1, 190) is an outstanding athlete and has two years experience as starting quarterback; he'll be joined in the backfield by junior Jake Kennedy (5-11, 170) and sophomore Noah Valasek (5-9, 140) at running back. Senior Jacob Pritchard (6-0, 165) and junior Tanner Hudson (6-4, 190) are returning starters at tight end.
Here's the team they are all chasing, the unbeaten 2013 state champions, who will be in good position to defend their title thanks to the return of three all-staters among the six starters on defense and five on offense.
"We lose two very good players but we return several talented players and, barring injury, hope to be in the mix at the end of the season," says Duane Arntt, who enters his 12th year as a head coach. He's 19-2 in his previous two seasons at Silver Lake. "Five teams drop from eight-man to six-man for this season, so there is going to be good competition statewide. We will need to keep our focus and maintain a high level of work ethic."
Generally considered the best player in six-man, senior QB Seyler Monroe (5-11, 160) leads a sparkling backfield that also includes seniors Journey Ericsson (5-7, 165), a returning all-stater on offense, and Quentin Journey (5-9, 165) at running back.
Senior Blake Meyer (5-7, 155) and sophomore Dakota Jameson (5-9, 160) are returning starters at end while senior Cody Hohlfeld (6-1, 195) anchors the offensive line. Junior lettermen Cole Shurigar (5-9, 195) and Levi Plambeck (6-0, 210) figure to move into starting roles in the line.
Journey is a returning all-state defensive end and will lead a D-line that includes Jameson and Hofeld, with Shurigar and Plambeck next in line. Ericsson, Monroe, Meyer and senior Tyler Knotts (5-8, 150) combine to give the team a brilliant secondary.
After reaching last year's state playoff semifinals, reeling off a sparking 9-1 record in the process, the Warriors return four starters on both sides of the ball.
"We return the core of our skill players and that will be helpful but we have to replace some of our defensive linemen and stay healthy if we are going to be successful," says head coach Barry Swisher, a 2002 graduate of Hanover (Ind.) College.
The centerpiece to the Warrior attack is senior QB Nathan Woodrum (5-10, 180), the 2013 six-man player of the year. Joining him in the backfield is senior running back Jeremiah Fink (5-9, 165), with senior Trevor Ginkens (5-10, 170), junior Jerry Guitierrez (5-3, 120) and sophomore Joel Parker (5-7, 145) other veterans in the backfield.
When Woodrum throws he's usually looking for junior all-state end Garrett Ellis (6-0, 165).
Senior Kyle Westover (6-4, 250), a second-team all-state pick in 2013, anchors the line with senior letterman Riley Ellis (6-1, 175) among those expected to play.
Nathan Woodrum and Fink return at linebacker, with Westover leading the D-line and Garrett Ellis the team's safety.
No longer part of a cooperative with Spalding High, the Shamrocks return to the world of six-man football where the program had great success in the 1990s.
Head coach Troy Kleffner will be able to lean on a one of the better athletes in six-man football, junior receiver Tanner Hudson, who last season grabbed 38 receptions for 627 yards and seven touchdowns. He'll move to quarterback for 2014.
Also returning is another talented receiver, senior Bronc McKay, who last year caught 24 passes for 406 yards and three TDs and another outstanding all-around athlete, senior Joe Glaser (5-9, 150); they will split running back duties.
Junior Brock Leslie is the team's leading returning tackler (80) and also led the team with four fumble recoveries while senior John Bernt is another playmaker, recovering three fumbles last season.
Eighth-year head coach Jereme Jones returns five starters on defense and four on offense from last year's 3-5 team.
"I believe we built a good foundation last year and we are looking forward to this season," says Coach Jones, a 2002 graduate of UN-Lincoln. "Our lines should be stout with four proven upperclassmen and we have a quarterback who is young but finished last year strong. We need to establish a bell cow running back and we need to be better at tackling in space but we have a strong potential for success."
Senior Drake Shanle (5-11, 160) leads a veteran line that will include senior Jason Osantowski (5-10, 150) and junior Bryce Hoffmeister (5-9, 190) and junior center Blake Merrell (6-0, 175). Shanle and Merrell are particularly good pass catchers, a must for six-man linemen.
Sophomore Jonah Micek (5-8, 120) started two games late last year and passed for 302 yards and four TDs. Returning running backs include junior Brandon Miller (5-11, 150) and sophomore Keenan Rasmussen (5-4, 120), with sophomore Bryaden Olson (5-8, 120) also in the mix.
Osantowski (72 tackles, 12 TFL) and Hoffmeister (66 tackles, 20 TFL) lead the defensive line with Shanle and Merrell also returning while Miller (48 tackles), Rasmussen (65 tackles) and Micek will man the secondary.
Three starters are back on both sides of the ball for the Broncos, the 2012 state champs who finished last season 1-7.
"We will have a very inexperienced team again this year but we have very coachable kids who work hard," says co-head coach Joseph Frecks, who shares the top job with Randy Geier. Frecks is in his third year at the school while Geier, who has won 156 games in his career, as spent six years at W-P. "Our strengths should be in the offensive and defensive lines and we will be looking for kids to become leaders at the skill positions."
Seniors Gage Crowell (6-1, 175) and Chris Carl (6-0, 190) return to anchor the line while junior Chase Rathe (5-11, 145) is back as the team's QB. Sophomore Brody Nordhausen (6-0, 150) will be the team's running back and junior Joseph Sramek (5-10, 150) will be the team's fullback.
Dropping from eight-man, the Falcons will feature a veteran lineup that includes six returning starters on both offense and defense from a team that finished 1-7.
"It will be a challenge, moving from eight-man to six-man, but we are excited the upcoming season," says head coach Gabriel Eberhardt, a graduate of Concordia University. "We return a lot of experience and a big senior class to provide our team leadership."
Senior Marshall Jelden (5-10, 140) and sophomore Lance Aspergren (6-0, 160) will battle for the starting quarterback position and the Falcons get a huge boost with the return of senior running back Ivan Damit-Og (5-9, 155), an 800-yard rusher as a sophomore who last fall was out for cross country. Senior Ramsey Hunt (5-10, 185) returns from a torn ACL and is expected to have a big year.
Seniors Dalton Penny (5-11, 170) and Tristen Farley (6-5, 175) are veteran receivers, with seniors Dax Fouts (6-0, 190) and Lucas Pistulka (5-10, 190) having experience at tight end. Junior Parker Sturgis (6-2, 245) and sophomore Jackson VanLaningham (5-10, 185) will lead the line
Farley (55 tackles) and Aspergren (53 tackles) will be among the leaders on the defensive side of the ball.