Arapahoe's Gentry Anderson (#5) is one of Eight-Man football's premier players for 2018. *(photo courtesy of Gentry Anderson)
This exclusive 8-Man football standouts feature is way overdue. Many of these featured players could play 11-Man football for some high profile teams and fare very well. There have been a few that I recall going straight from the 8-Man game to earn a starting slot on a Class A football team.
In this first 8-Man player blog, I have also included a terrific player from the 6-Man ranks, a style of football far underrated in this state.
So, without further adieu...let’s get rolling.
*Ty Hahn - Johnson-Brock - 6-2, 188, Junior (#7) WR/CB
Simply stated….Ty Hahn is already one of the best all-around athletes in Nebraska. The remarkable Hahn earned All-State honors in both football and basketball as a sophomore and is just getting started.
Last season, Ty Hahn pulled in 59 pass receptions for an astounding 1,147 yards and 24 touchdowns for a Johnson-Brock team that was only 4-4 during the regular season. But the Eagles got hot during the Class D-2 playoffs and won a pair of games before falling to Howells-Dodge 54-42, after owning a nice halftime lead.
The sure-handed Hahn has racked up 92 receptions, 1,732 yards and 35 receiving TDs in just a couple of seasons, and his career is only half over. Hahn, who looked well advanced even as a freshman, recorded eight 100+ receiving games last season, averaging nearly 20 yards a catch in the process.
What makes this lad tick? First of all, 4.47 forty speed, an :11.1 hundred meters time and a 33” vertical leap, sets him apart from much of 8-Man football. Throw in his incredible natural instincts and you have a player that could be a no-brainer All-State pick on either offense or defense.
Did I mention defense? You knew that had to coming. It’s 8-Man football folks, you play both ways. In 2017, Ty Hahn made 119 tackles (54 solos, 5 TFL), pirated 5 passes, one of which was a Pick-Six, recovered a fumble and a returned a kick-off for a score against a tough Nebraska Lutheran team. Hahn even had 75 tackles as a freshman to go with his 585 receiving yards.
There are not very many players, if any, that can single cover Ty Hahn in 8-Man football, and with Johnson-Brock QB Cole Fossenbarger (2,305 passing yards/33 TDs) returning this Fall, the All-State wide receiver may be in line for another thousand yard receiving campaign.
Truly gifted athlete who gives Johnson-Brock a shot at winning a football title in 2018.
*Jared Minnick - West Point Guardian Angels CC - 6-0, 185, Senior (#16) RB/LB
First of all, you have to realize something right off the bat. If you play football for head coach Dave Ridder at Guardian Angels Central Catholic, you have to be mean, tough, and physical. Jared Minnick is the poster boy for that tag at GACC.
Last season, Minnick rambled for 1,669 yards and 30 TDs for the Bluejays offensively and was a monster from his linebacker position, making 47 solo stops,10 for losses, and 63 total tackles. The punishing Bluejay RB ran for 1,329 yards his sophomore season, giving him 3,068 yards in his career, with 50 touchdowns.
There is no doubt that this young man is talented enough to be an All-State selection at either Running Back or Linebacker.
As a ball carrier, Jared Minnick did enjoy great blocking up front, but also created a ton of yards on his own due to his great vision and vicious yards after contact. There just weren’t numerous occasions that saw Minnick stopped by a solo tackle in 2017.
Minnick is strong as an ox and can run away from most defenders, plus has one of the best looking strides I have seen in the 8-Man ranks. Jared takes long steps like a 6-4, four hundred meter track guy and is pulling away long before he reaches the goal line. The kid also owns a nasty straight arm that comes in handy when “brushing” defenders away.
If Jared Minnick has any returning talent surrounding him, beware in 2018. Remember, it was just two years ago that West Point GACC lost to Burwell in the Class D-1 finals at Memorial Stadium with a 1000 yard sophomore back named Jared Minnick.
As I always say, stay tuned.
*Bryce Zimmerer - Creighton - 6-0, 175, Senior (#22) RB/LB
Another tough customer with fine speed and some sharp, quick-plant, cutting ability.
Bryce Zimmerer has enjoyed being coached by the legendary Gene Suhr the past three seasons, but the former Papillion LV great has finally retired from the coaching ranks….and deservedly so.
Bryce Zimmerer exploded out of the blocks for a monster sophomore season, rushing for 1,564 yards and 31 touchdowns. The multi-talented football star was on track to stage a repeat performance last season before suffering a torn ACL 6 and a half games into the 2017 campaign.
Despite the gut wrenching, season ending injury, Zimmerer still managed another thousand yard rushing season (1,136 of them), with 24 TDs and standout defensive performance. Bryce already had 54 tackles, 17 of which were for losses when his season abruptly came to halt.
So, you just saw the bad news concerning Bryce Zimmerer, but now the great news. New Head Coach Zac Kliment (former Gene Suhr assistant) reports that the highly talented Bulldog RB/LB has made an amazing recovery from that ACL injury and appears to be even faster than he was a year ago.
Zimmerer already had great speed, but his quick, spur-of-the-moment cuts help make this lad an elite runner at the 8-Man level. And, like Jared Minnick, Bryce runs with muscle and can power over defenders for those extra yards.
Creighton did lose some good linemen to graduation, but just continue reading below to find out what could make this football team an offensive machine in 2018 if Klimnet can develop an offensive line.
*Derek Wortman - Creighton - 5-10, 150, Senior (#8) QB/RB/CB
This young man pulled off a minor miracle last season for the Creighton Bulldogs. It appears to me that Wortman played or lined up at multiple positions in the early going for the Bulldogs in 2017. He carried the ball from a RB position, flanker and even quarterback.
When starting QB Brayden Zimmerer went down with an injury early in the season (game 3/West Holt?), Derek Wortman stepped right in and filled Zimmerer’s slot without the blink of an eye. By that time (3 games), the junior Renaissance man already had 28 carries for 277 yards and 6 TDs, and one reason for that was the fact Creighton had scored 94, 70 and 50 points in contests, giving Wortman some extra reps.
So it was now Wortman at QB and Bryce Zimmerer in the backfield. More than good enough. But a few games later, Bryce Zimmerer suffers that season ending ACL injury and now it’s just Derek Wortman.
But Wortman leads the Bulldogs to lopsided victories the last 3 regular season games, including an eye-opening 10 of 21 passing for 242 yards, 6 touchdown night against a decent Plainview team.
Brayden Zimmerer returned to his QB position for the playoff opener against McCool Junction, so Coach Gene Suhr decided to move Derek Wortman to Running Back. The result was a loud BANG heard around the state by halftime of the afternoon contest.
Derek Wortman played only one half of football on offense. The result was 15 carries for 232 yards and seven touchdowns. Throw in a 70 yard kick return TD and Derek Wortman had set an 8-Man record with eight touchdowns in a single game…..all in the first half.
The next playoff game saw Wortman tear apart Plainview to the tune of 397 yards rushing on 26 carries an 5 TDs. That’s 629 rushing yards and 13 TDs in a pair of playoff contests.
Eventual State Champion East Butler eliminated Creighton 40-28 the next game, but Derek Wortman had left his mark with 1,245 rushing yards and 26 TDs, 19 of 32 passes for 391 yards and 12 touchdowns with only 2 INTs.
Now….here is what you need to know. A strong and healthy Bryce Zimmerer returns for Creighton this fall. The amazing Derek Wortman will be manning the QB controls.
Scary offense, as I pointed out if new head coach Zac Kliment can put together an O-Line.
Finally, how good is Derek Wortman? Not as big as Bryce Zimmerer, but fast, very shifty, powerful enough to bowl over defenders, and extremely smart on the football field. Look out.
*Trent Reed - Hay Springs - (6-Man) - 5-9, 185, Senior (#33) RB/DB
Trent Reed of Hay Springs will be the King of 6-Man offensive football when play begins in the Fall. Playing for a school and a community that is seemingly light years away from anywhere in Nebraska, the 185 pound Hay Springs Hawk led the entire Nation in rushing among the 6-Man ranks for most of the season, including Texas, where that brand of football is a religion.
Reed would eventually finish 3rd in the country with 2,401 yards in 10 games, finishing behind two Texas studs, who had the luxury of playing 15 and 13 games respectively. The player that won the National 6-Man rushing title, Caleb Lawrence, plays for North Central Texas Academy in Granbury, Texas, a town with a population of nearly 10,000 people. Lawrence’s 100 meters time…..:10.7….Trent Reed’s town has 551 people and his 100 time…..:12.0.
The 2017 season was only 3 and a half games old when Trent Reed had already eclipsed the 1000 yard mark for a 2nd straight year. And there was a 27-19 loss to Cody-Kilgore in there. After 4 games, Reed had hit 1,151 yards. The next game against Fleming, Colorado, Reed bolted for 400 yards, then 215 vs. Minatare and on and on.
In 18 career games, the outstanding Panhandle whiz kid has rushed for thirteen 200+ games, 4,217 yards (11.9/carry), 76 touchdowns and 4,937 total yards on dimly lit football fields where the relentless open prairie winds sometimes howl 50 mph during a game. And it was only last season that Hay Springs could add HUDL. If they hadn’t added the service, nobody in these parts would know how good this kid really is.
Trent Reed and his teammates at Hay Springs made it to the 6-Man semifinals a year ago before running into Joey Imus unbeatable Riverside squad. This year, the Hawks will not have to worry about Imus juggernaut because they have moved up to 8-Man football.
The hard running Reed, who looks to be at a level all by himself, should have his same QB operating the Hawk offense, and that means a smoother transfer of the ball from junior Baiden Planansky to the 2,000 yard man.
Trent’s running style….football field fast, runs very hard with great acceleration at the point of contact, and terrific balance, which keeps him upright to continue his runs downfield. Reed makes good use of a tough stiff arm and has can change easily directions.
After all, he is the King of 6-Man football.
*Gentry Anderson - Arapahoe - 6-0, 195, Senior (#5) QB/FS
My Facebook friend Gentry Anderson has taken over the throne of King of the West in the Nebraska 8-Man football world. Dundy County/Stratton’s Phalen Sanford has now graduated and now it’s Gentry’s turn. But know this, I’m not sure Anderson wasn’t the King of Football in those parts a year ago. The young man is an amazing talent.
Gentry has been a three year starter for Arapahoe and has drawn raves from opposing coaches throughout his entire career. And the standard response from these coaches when I ask the question “What does Gentry Anderson on the football field for Arapahoe?”........”Pretty much anything he wants.”
Arapahoe has gone 17-10 the past three seasons with Gentry at the controls. The Warriors have qualified for the playoffs each year, but have suffered opening round losses on each occasion. Last year’s 58-50 overtime playoff loss to Giltner may have hurt the most.
Anderson and the Warriors had rallied from 14 points down to take the lead over Giltner. They certainly appeared to be headed to their 1st playoff win in 4 years when Arapahoe brought a kick-off back for a score. But an illegal block wiped it out, and the teams would head to overtime tied at 50.
The heartbreaking thing for Arapahoe was that Gentry Anderson had suffered a knee injury in the meantime and would miss the OT period. Giltner scored first in the OT period, then stopped the Warriors a couple of yards short on their possession.
Game over. Season over.
The rest is history, and I recently heard Gentry Anderson’s injury is completely healed and he’s ready to roll for his senior season.
Gentry Anderson has amassed 5,835 total yards over is 27 game, three year career. A thousand yard rusher in each of his past two seasons, the Warrior field general can also get it done through the air.
Thus far in during his illustrious career, Gentry has completed 50% of his 282 passes for 2,362 yards and 36 touchdowns with only 7 interceptions. On defense, he has 131 career tackles, 5 INTs and 2 recovered fumbles.
My take on Gentry Anderson….Complete football player who can run or throw. Strong arm capable of flinging it 40 yards downfield with good accuracy. Very fine option quarterback who is not afraid to pitch it.
Not a speed burner, but can bite off big chunks of real estate with his runs. No sharp cuts, just smooth direction changes when needed and a nose for a straight line to the end zone.
Anderson is about as experienced as a high school player can get and is truly a dangerous, dual-threat quarterback that can keep defenses back on their heels for 48 minutes. One of 8-Man football’s finest players.