1993 and 1994 were the years owned by the Hastings Tigers!
1. Jeff Herdzina-Columbus Scotus.....2,181
2. Mike Hancock-Wahoo................1,868
3. Eric Walther-Hastings Adams Cent..1,862
4. Sean Daly-Kenesaw.................1,827
5. Billy Legate-Clearwater...........1,693
6. Josh Cobb-Wallace.................1,685
7. Darrin Latin-Thedford.............1,864 Soph.
8. Rusty Lashley-McCook..............1,632
9. Steve Sullivan-Allen..............1,587
10. Brock Eichelberger-Beemer........1,587
They turned the stallions loose in 1993, as 93 backs rushed for over a 1000 yards in Nebraska high school football. Class B Champ Columbus Scotus boasted the State Rushing Champion in Jeff Herdzina, who ran for 2,181 yards. Herdzina also led the state in scoring later that 93/94 athletic season in Soccer if I recall correctly. There were some future Cornhuskers on this list too. Many of you will remember Billy Legate, of course. Big old Josh Cobb of Wallace also suited up for the Huskers, and Joel Makovicka notched his second thousand yard campaign for East Butler. Ty Goode of Lincoln SE went on to play for the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame, and there were a couple of absolutely outstanding underclassman/future Big Red guys waiting in the wings.
Brian Shaw of Sandy Creek was getting untracked with his 1,238 yards and that was just the tip of the iceberg. Ahman Green must have like his new school and running mate as evidenced by his 1,202 ground yards at Omaha Central. He was joined by Damion Morrow, who notched his second 1000 yard season (like Green) and ran for 1,088. There was also a superb runner in the making at Aurora named Aaron Collingham. The Sophomore rushed for 1,079 yards, but would be much more to come in the next two seasons, and a marvelous, shifty, powerful back also burst on the scene at Madison. His name, Charles Wilson, and his yards, 1,379. Tell you what, 1993 may have been the most talented group of underclassmen 1000 yard rushers I have ever had. Other names on the list that were 11th graders and stars in the making were Nate Froeschl-Falls City Sacred Heart, Sam Itaaehau-Valentine, Jeff Small-Fullerton (1,122), Charles Kniefl-Newcastle (1,300), and Chris Carpenter-Falls City SH (1,450). A couple of other Sophomores that are also worth mentioning were Derek Hutchinson-Cedar Rapids (1,313), and Kelly Jurgens of Odell (1,350).
Tiny Nebraska Deaf, a now defunct school, had their only 1000 Yard Rusher in history when Willie Calloway ran for 1,497 yards. I remember going all the way to the Big "O" to walk down in that little valley and watch Willie play on a brilliant afternoon in October. All my life I had wondered how Nebraska Deaf called signals. They were 6-Man, you know, so there was a Center and 2 Ends in the line. Both Ends turned their heads in toward the QB, who tapped the Center on the inside thigh with the back of the hand, and Willie Calloway was on his way. I also remember how very well I was treated by that school and a prince of the man in charge, Mr. Bob Kellogg. To this day I still wish I had a Nebr. Deaf football shirt. That kind of hospitality will never be forgotten and Willie Calloway and Nebraska Deaf and the Black and Orange will always linger in my memory. Poor school very rarely won a game, but I'll never forget watching Willie. They were 45 pointed by Benedict that sunny afternoon, but it didn't matter. Somehow I knew that I would never see them play again. Last I knew the building was used for storage by the OPS and the silent sign language that graced those halls back in that day was silenced for real shortly thereafter.
In the Championship games, Hastings high school was set to launch of the the most magical 2 year football runs in their long history. The Tigers have never enjoyed that kind of success since and the kids of this day and age would probably not believe you if you relayed the tales of these two seasons at HHS. The Tigers sent Chuck and the boys from Lincoln Southeast home with a runner-up trophy by whipping the Knights 14-7. Hastings did it with players like QB Bo Buetenback and DB Cori Dreher who were both Super-Staters, and rightly so. Total team effort there in Tigerland. In "B", it was Herdzina and his Scotus buddies laying the wood to Adams Central 42-24 in a game I watched. What a RB match-up with he and Eric Walther! In C-1 Ronnie Mimick got the gold this time and made good for the loss to Battle Creek in '92. The Monarchs skunked Norfolk Catholic 12-0. Class C-2 went to Cambridge, who also righted the loss in '92 to Bloomfield by rolling Hebron 35-0. The Trojans had Kraig Young (1,510). Always loved it because Danny Keiser had his troops stop to practice on the field I took care of in GI on the way to Lincoln for the Title games. We treated them like a king.
In D-1 in 1993, North Loup-Scotia laid one of the most shocking losses on Ken Cook and his Adams football team ever. The Wildcats went down to Adams and kicked rear and took names from the opening kick-off on their way to a 47-6 runaway.
NL-S had Jeremy Shoemaker (1,202) to lead the way. In D-2, Sacred Heart won again with a convincing 66-34 "W" over Clearwater and Legate. FCSH had two 1000 yarders, but still didn't match the THREE they had the season prior, but the incredible winning streak continued for the Irish and their 5th straight title. In the 6-Man Title clash, two schools not that far apart played and Spalding Academy came away with a 54-20 rout over Cedar Rapids.
1. Brian Shaw-Sandy Creek........2,121
2. Cory Eikmeier-Dodge...........1,975 Soph.
3. Shawn Dennis-Bloomfield.......1,845
4. Mike Mahony-Spalding Academy..1,834
5. Tyler Mitchell-Superior.......1,816
6. Mike Roland-Beemer............1,711
7. Brian Clark-Omaha Bryan.......1,657
8. Jeff Small-Fullerton..........1,614
9. Ahman Green-Omaha Central.....1,591
10. Charles Wilson-Madison.......1,579
Well, those magnificent underclassmen I told you about in '93 surfaced with a sonic boom in 1994. One of the finest all-around athletes I EVER watched, Brian Shaw of Sandy Creek was the State's top ground gainer. Shaw ended his career ranked number 12 on the Career Rushing List with 5,260 yards and is still #14 on the list today. Pretty salty for a kid who only gained 1,401 yards his first 2 seasons. Ahman Green ended his career with 3 thousand yard seasons, as did running mate, Damion Morrow. We all know where Green has gone since. As good as this backfield was, the stigma of not being able to win a State Title still hovered over the halls of I-Back High.
The RB's kept getting stronger and the lines bigger and stronger as the list again hit the 90 mark. Charles Wilson of Madison had another stellar season with his 1,579 yards. Sacred Heart's Nate Froeschl and Chris Carpenter notched their third consecutive year over a thousand yards as the Irish once again enjoyed phenomenal athletic success under the unparalleled guidance of Doug Goltz. What a master!
In Class A, out state Nebraska again flexed it muscles when Norfolk hitched the ponies and won the title by beating the Bunnies 27-19. Talk about an All-Star backfield in Class A! That may have benn one of the best of all time. Curtis Miller, Kyle Eberhardt and Chad Bell (1,454) were about as good as it gets, man oh man. Hastings dropped down to Class B and never missed a beat, if fact they "beat up" a group of Bison from McCook 56-16 in that title game. C-1's hardware was once again claimed by Ron Mimick and his David City Aquinas team. In the BEST high school football game I ever, ever witnessed in my life, the Monarchs beat Bob Schnitzler's Battle Creek Braves in 2 Overtimes 29-28. Talk about wishing for a game film.....oh baby, I'd pay dearly for one now. Of course, BC had Tom Uhlir (1,174) and Aquinas......naaah, they hadn't had a 1000 yard man in 12 years....didn't need one now.
In the C-2 championship contest it was the most lopsided Finals in history. No offense to Laurel-Concord, but I shutter to think what Ed Thompson, Kraig Young and the Trojans could have scored if they had remained in the game. The 73-28 final tally was bad enough and trust me, Laurel was a very nice football team in '94. In the 8-Man world, a young man burst on the scene, led by a huge bunch of German lads and Dodge was beginning a 3 year run of being untouched. Sophomore Cory Eikmeier ended up just 25 yards short of 2000 as the Pirates outscored Overton 52-33. I wonder how many knew what lay ahead for Eikmeier? Unreal. In D-2, Falls City Sacred heart won it's.........SIXTH State Championship in a row with yet another laugher of a Title game. The Irish blasted Elgin 58-24 and appeared invincible. The rough, tough rodeo dudes from Arthur showed Hildreth who were the "real" Greyhounds in a 72-42 6-Man Championship win.
Cori Dreher of Hastings was on Super-State again, only this time occupying the WR slot. Tim Ridder of Prep was an outstanding offensive lineman, as was Burke's Adam Julch. The guy that Cutis Miller took the snaps from, Cam Christensen was on that team, as were Bell and Eberhardt. Just for good nmeasure, Ben Buetenback of Hastings made the elite team as a DB in '94. How good was Miller to beat him out when Bennie made it a year before? Cambridge QB ace Ed Thompson made the team, as did a pretty fierce defensive player, Auburn's Chad Kelsay. Of course Ahman and Morrow were in the offensive backfield with Miller. The "other" back in that dream backfield......Bryan's Brian Clark, who wasn't too shabby himself with his 1,657 yards. One great year of high school football in 1994, I'd venture to say.