Class A No. 9: Omaha Burke

With nine starters returning, five of them on defense, Burke will be aiming to improve upon last year's solid 7-4 season, which included a playoff win.
"Senior leadership is the key to a successful season and our players have worked very hard, and continue to work hard, to prepare themselves for competition in a very challenging district and schedule in general," ays ninth-year head coach Paul Limongi, who has a 53-32 record, including a state playoff final, at Burke. "We hope to continue to get better every day and be playing our best football at the end of the season."
Omaha Burke Bulldogs
An explosive athlete, senior Nate Tate (44) will play a key role in the Burke success story for 2014.
There is plenty of solid experience in the Burke offensive line, led by senior Andy Pistillo (6-1, 255), a returning all-district selection, and also including senior Tyler Egnes (5-10, 210) and senior Evan Schlogenhauff (6-1, 230). Expect senior letterman Caleb Wade (6-1, 240) to make a play for one of the remaining spots in the line.
Junior Jackson Abramo (5-11, 165) and sophomore Hunter Monroe (6-4, 185) are the leading candidates for the starting quarterback position and seniors Malik Thompson (5-10, 190) and Garrett Campbell (5-9, 185) and junior Cameron Brewer (5-7, 170) figure to play at running back.
Seniors Josh Holcomb (5-10, 180), Tre Hymer (6-6, 190) and Austin Daniels (5-11, 180) will provide the foundation for the Burke receiving corps.
Seniors Nate Tate (5-11, 200), who last year had 64 tackles including six for loss, and Thompson, who added 30 tackles including three for loss, lead the Burke linebacker corps with seniors Hymer, Braden Collins (5-11, 215) and Austin Kimnach (6-0, 190) lettermen who will add depth at that position.
Holcomb, who last year had 21 tackles and two INTs, and Daniels return as a starters in the secondary, with Abrabo in the mix for playing time, depending on how the QB race goes. Senior Lamont Sims (5-11, 240) is the lone returning starters in the defensive line, where Pistillo (2 sacks) played some, and senior letterman Alex Terry (6-1, 300) will also play.
Shoes to Fill
Gone are leading rusher and 2013 all-stater Logan Gier, starting quarterback Alex Curbeam, all-state receiver and DB Trey Carr and leading tacklers Robbie Simpson and Rodney Williams.
Must Step Up
The line seems in good shape and Burke always plays dependable defense. Getting a quarterback in place, and helping him be productive, could be the difference between five wins and nine. Really could.
Season Prediction
Look for Burke to win six or so in the regular season and make the playoffs.