We spotlight our 14th player to be inducted into the Nebraska Eight Man Football Coaches Association Hall of Fame, Mr Paul Kosch, Humphrey St. Francis High School. More on Paul below his bio.
PAUL KOSCH – HUMPHREY ST. FRANCIS H.S.
In the mid-1990’s, Paul was a play-making option quarterback who helped lead the Flyer Program to elite-status in the Eight-Man ranks. He was the signal caller for St. Francis’ first-ever state championship football teams in 1995 and 1996. In the process, Paul helped cement that program as one of the premier Eight Man Football powers in the state. From 1994 to 1997, he guided them to 3 state playoffs appearances (including 2 Class D-2 State Titles) and was chosen 1st Team All-Cornhusker Conference 3 times, 1st Team All-State 2 times, and was also selected Honorable Mention All-American by the USA Today. He was twice named captain of the D-2 All-State football team and was later selected to play in the 1998 Eight Man All-Star Game. During his prep career, Paul was a three sport/4-year letter winner in football, basketball, and track. After high school, he continued his career as a walk-on wide receiver at the University of Nebraska. The NEMFCA is honored to welcome him into the Eight Man Football Hall of Fame Class of 2019.
If you are familiar with Paul Kosch and his junior and senior football seasons, it makes sense why the man was not only a All-State selection, but a NEMFCA Hall of Fame selection as well.
Head coach Glen Koski really had the Flyers in high gear by the time Paul Kosch was a junior QB and field general in 1995. St. Francis had a terrific offensive line, a very physical, stellar defense, a punishing running back in senior Duane Kosch, and of course Paul.
The Flyers swept to the Class D-2 state championship, closing out the dream season with 31-7 win over Butte. Duane Kosch was the big cog that afternoon, rushing for 143 yards and 3 TDs. Paul had a pretty 71 yard scoring gallop in the game. As for that physical defense, players like Ryan Preister (over 160 tackles), Dusty Kessler and Brad Reents made it difficult for St. Francis opponents to score in ‘95.
So Duane Kosch ended up running for 1,807 yards and Paul added another 924 as an option QB, throwing only when he had to, although he did end up with 432 passing yards as the Flyers ended 1995 with a 12-1 mark losing only to Wausa the 2nd week of the season.
Humphrey St. Francis obviously lost Duane Kosch and leading tackler Ryan Preister to graduation, but still returned a decent nucleus in 1996 to try an defend that D-2 title.
Here’s where the Paul Kosch 1996 story gets good. The Flyers cruised along through the season undefeated and relatively healthy entering the semifinal matchup with rugged Falls City Sacred Heart. Paul Kosch had been money the entire season a quarterback.
The Flyers survived with a 33-26 win over Doug Goltz and company, but it took a 1 yard run by RB Mike Babel with 55 seconds left in the game to do it. But the game was brutally physical and St. Francis lost Brian Ternus, a starting offensive/defensive end with a broken leg, plus starting I-Back/safety Dusty Kessler, who went out with a badly banged up knee.
Pretty tough for an 8-Man team to lose a pair of key players going into a state championship game, plus the fact that the Flyers were facing a rematch with a Butte team that had beefed up at every position since losing that ‘95 title game.
Pressure right smack dab on the shoulders of Paul Kosch.
So, all Paul Kosch did in that 1996 D-2 Championship, is orchestrate the perfect game, even having to overcome the loss of his 974 yard RB Mike Babel after the 2nd series of the game.
Paul ran for 139 yards, scored on a dazzling 76 yard quarterback option TD run, and directed his St. Francis team to a 37-20 win over Butte at Memorial Stadium in Lincoln.
The All-State Paul Kosch ended up rushing for 1,365 yards in ‘96, added 566 passing yards and most importantly of all, turned in spectacular senior season dealing with some new faces.
There were many other factors that made Paul Kosch a worthy Hall of Fame candidate, but in my book, that 1996 season fashioned by the talented senior field general, not only sealed the deal for Kosch, but also set a shining example for future St. Francis players to follow.
And, quite frankly Paul Kosch could very well have been a big reason that the beginning of an ERA of very elite football for the Humphrey parochial school was born and has continued to the present day.