La Crosse Leopards
Eight Man, Division I
Coach: Jon Webster (13th season, 83-35)
Last season’s record/playoff finish: 5-4, 1-0
Top returning players: Colby Stull, jr., RB/DB; Lucas Webster, sr., OL/DE; Cooper Barriger, jr., TE/LB; CJ Patterson, sr., OL/DE; Haden Sherman, jr., DB/WR; Chet Irvin, so., OL/DL.
Team notes: The Leopards will be making the transition to Eight Man this year.
La Crosse will have to replace key seniors from last year, including Hunter Morgan, Blake Hermann, Kalen Thielenhaus and Michael Showalter.
Lucas Webster, 6-foot-4, 245 pounds, will anchor the Leopards up front. Colby Stull will lead the offense.
"We will have to learn the subtle differences between Eight Man and 11 man. We lost a vast amount of leadership and snaps with the graduating group of seniors. We will lean heavily on Colby Stull as our offensive leader. We will be tested early by some quality teams. We look forward to making the transition to Eight Man football and are excited to compete against traditional league opponents."
Sept. 4 at Victoria
Sept. 11 Hoxie
Sept. 18 at Ness City
Sept. 25 St. John
Oct. 2 at Macksville
Oct. 9 Kinsley
Oct. 16 at Pratt-Skyline
Oct. 23 Kiowa County-Greensburg
Ness City Eagles
Eight Man Division I
Coach: Marc Cowles (19th year, 93-77)
Last season’s record/playoff finish: 8-2, 1-1
Top returning players: Edwin Rodriguez, sr., RB/DB; Matthew Delaney, sr., RB/LB; Ethan Schlegel, sr., OL/DL; Jose Guzman, jr., QB/DB; Taylor Cable, jr., TE/DE.
Team notes: The Eagles won their first seven games last year before finally falling to Hodgeman County in Week 8. They lost a 44-42 heartbreaker to Little River in the second round of the playoffs. Edwin Rodriguez is expected to give the Eagles a big boost after he missed all of last season with a torn ACL. Jose Guzman returns at quarterback, and linebacker/running back Matthew Delaney, tight end/defensive end Taylor Cable and offensive lineman/defensive lineman Ethan Schlegel are also expected to play big roles.
"To be successful this season we need new playmakers to step forward, creating efficiency and consistency on offense," Ness City coach Marc Cowles said. "We need to be able to run the ball so that we can move the chains and control the clock. We also need seniors to step forward and become leaders. As always we need to avoid injuries and we will need some inexperienced but talented young skill players to step up and contribute. Offensive and defensive line play will also be crucial to this team's success."
Sept. 4 at Macksville
Sept. 11 at Hill City
Sept. 18 La Crosse
Sept. 25 South Gray
Oct. 2 at Wichita County
Oct. 9 Hodgeman County
Oct. 16 Meade
Oct. 23 at Spearville
Eight Man Division II
Coach: Travis Starr (16th season, 95-55-1)
Last season’s record/playoff finish: 5-4, 0-1
Top returning players: Nathan Roth, sr., LB; Kaden Foust, jr., QB/DB; Dalton Regan, jr., WR/DB.
Team notes: The Cougars will have to replace two standouts in Bevan Gradig and Seth Hoopingarner. Kaden Foust is back at quarterback for Otis after throwing for 645 yards and rushing for 563 a year ago. Foust also had 53 tackles last year. Receiver/defensive back Dalton Regan had five interceptions last year and had 259 yards receiving last season. Nathan Roth is also expected to play a big role.
The Cougars scored 278 points last year while allowing 186.
"We return several upperclassmen that have varsity experience," Otis-Bison coach Travis Starr said. "We need to fill vacancies left by last year's graduating class along the offensive and defensive lines. Our numbers will be low but that shouldn’t prevent us from competing each night and improving throughout the season."
Sept. 4 St. John
Sept. 11 Sylvan-Lucas
Sept. 18 Central Plains
Sept. 25 at Wilson
Oct. 2 at Tescott
Oct. 9 at South Barber
Oct. 16 Chase
Oct. 23 at Victoria
Eight Man Division II
Coach: Doug Overall (15th year, 121-33)
2019 record/playoff finish: 6-3, 0-1
Top returning players: Trenton Engel, sr., OL/DE; Lucas Klein, sr., TE/CB; Drayden Karlin, sr., TE/LB; Jayvon Pruitt, sr., RB/LB; ; Grant Schoenrock, jr., QB/S; Nate Windholz, TB/C, jr.
Team notes: Grant Schoenrock and Jayvon Pruitt are back to lead the Knights’ offense. Schoenrock rushed for 978 yards and 16 touchdowns last year while passing for 603 yards and 10 TDs. Pruitt ran for 841 yards with 19 scores. Nate Windholz had four interceptions last year.
Trenton Engel is Victoria’s leading returning tackler with 60 stops last year. He also had four sacks.
Sept. 4 La Crosse
Sept. 11 at Chase
Sept. 18 at Trego
Sept. 25 Sylvan-Lucas
Oct. 2 at Central Plains
Oct. 9 Wilson
Oct. 16 at Tescott
Oct. 23 Otis-Bison