Clarkson-Leigh's Tommy McEvoy (#34/red)is the leading returning 1000 yard rusher in Class D-2, scoring a touchdown every 5th time he carries the football.
*Tommy McEvoy-Clarkson-Leigh - 6-2, 190, Junior (1,708 yards) - “Touchdown” Tommy McEvoy pretty much ripped it up on both sides of the ball as a sophomore, especially offensively. Nobody did it better in all of Nebraska High School football than Class D-2 All-Stater Touchdown Tommy when it came to the Touchdown Frequency Per Carry category.
The Clarkson/Leigh flyer scored a touchdown every 5th time he carried the football in 2018. Tommy carried the ball 151 times and scored 30 touchdowns, averaging 11.1 yards a pop. McEvoy averaged rushing 3 TDs every game for the 5-4 Patriots of very fine head coach Jim Clarkson. By the way, those four losses by Clarkson/Leigh came at the hands teams with a combined 30-11 record.
Not many sophomore running backs earn All-State honors, but Tommy McEvoy was a no doubter in my mind. Smooth as silk with a quick first step, the 190 pound speed demon can get to the outside in a hurry or blast through an opening at the line of scrimmage, and once past the wave of defenders, Touchdown Tommy is long gone.
McEvoy has a unique, knifing foot plant that is so sudden, that he can change his direction in an instant. And in that instant, the McEvoy jets kick in and No. 34 is streaking downfield with defenders in his rear view.
If there exists a long distance touchdown threat in the state, it has to be Tommy. The last seven games of Clarkson/Leigh’s 9 game slate, McEvoy averaged 228 yards and 4 touchdowns per game with at least one scoring run of 56 yards or more in each contest. And that friends, is simply pure football speed.
On defense, young McEvoy was simply a tough customer to deal with, recording 78 tackles with exactly half of those being solo stops. The hot pursuing McEvoy also pirated two passes a year ago (one a Pick 6) and returned a fumble for another score against Omaha Christian.
You know, some guys just have a nose for the football, and it actually appears to me that young Tommy McEvoy watches his own offensive film highlights to learn how to turn the tables and stuff a top notch running back with all the sweet moves.
Just a guess on that one though, but there is no need for guessing when it comes to the abilities of this dude, and Tommy McEvoy may just be scratching the surface too.
*Taylor Wemhoff-Humphrey St. Francis - 5-10, 165, Senior (1,353 yards) - Every coach and fan in the world of Nebraska Eight Man football knows Humphrey St. Francis just simply reloads each year, which is difficult for a smaller school to pull off. But super Coach Eric Kessler does it year in and year out for the Flyers and Taylor Wemhoff is a prime example.
In Bob Jensen’s 2018 Huskerland Prep Report pre-season magazine, the bible of Nebraska prep football, it stated that “junior Taylor Wemhoff will also be a factor in the running game.” Then of course, the dude proceeds to rush for 1,353 yards. Ho-Hum. Par for the course at the St. Frans Football Factory.
When the time arrives for any St. Francis player to take over the featured running back role, that athlete is more than ready for it, thanks to the superb coaching skills of Eric Kessler, who has carried on the rich tradition of Humphrey St. Francis Flyer football to the tune of 146 wins and only 24 losses.
There have been sophomores in the past that have been ready to assume the coveted role and that’s usually due to not only tradition, but to family traditions (aka Wegener etc).
I’m telling you No. 2 Taylor Wemhoff, can do it all man. The Flyers are not fancy on offense, none of that hurry-up stuff, just a nice Power I or split backfield setup and wicked, powerhouse blocking by the boys, excuse me, men up front in the trenches. Now don’t get me wrong, Taylor Wemhoff is a sensational runner, making his own way after the initial up-front blocking, but those fellas in that Flyer O-Line are incredible at creating man size openings and Wemhoff would be the first to tell us that..
I stated Wemhoff can do it all, and you might ask Falls City Sacred Heart about that. Last year in the D-2 quarterfinals at Jug Brown Stadium in Falls City, Wemhoff put on a show that will be difficult to repeat. The “Flyin’ Flyer took two kick-offs to the house, quickly answering touchdowns Sacred Heart had worked so hard to get. Taylor also nearly broke a punt return for another touchdown, giving St. Frans great field position for another critical drive at the time..
Wemhoff finished that game with 114 yards rushing, including a 57 yard scoring jaunt, and caught a 32 yard pass from All-State quarterback Trevor Pfeifer, giving his team a needed lift at the time.
Taylor Wemhoff can really plant and change directions in a hurry, and once No. 2 is in the open field, you’d better have a defensive back with State Track hundred speed if you expect to run him down. Another reason for Wemhoff’s elusiveness in open spaces is his ability to angle away from his pursuers, and that, friends is the sign of an intelligent football player.
No other way to put it than this. Taylor Wemhoff and this Humphrey St. Francis football team will be down right scary in 2019.
*Jackson McIntyre-Central Valley - 5-10, 175, Junior (1,172 yards) - Here, Ladies and Gentlemen, is your “Jaxson Kant-Renaissance Man” of Class D-2. Among many other things, Jackson McIntyre is Coach Jess Rother’s quarterback, and is also the player that comes closest to Touchdown Tommy McEvoy to touchdown frequency per carry.
McIntyre, the smooth sailing track and field sensation, scores every 5.7 times he rushes the football, and that just is a tip of the iceberg when it comes to the ways McIntyre can reach the end zone.
Last season alone, the ultrarapid Cougar Athlete made 19 trips to the endzone via the rush, caught a touchdown pass, returned a pair of punts for scores, and brought back a kick-off for a touchdown against powerful Clearwater-Orchard.
When all the smoke cleared on the 2018 season, Jackson McIntyre had rushed for 1,172 yards on just 109 touches, completed 36 of 76 passes for 516 yards and 12 TDs with just 4 INTs, racked up 518 return yards for a total of 1,740 All-Purpose for the 6-3 Cougars, and we haven’t even talked defense yet, which is definitely a strong point for Jackson McIntyre.
As a freshman, McIntyre made is presence felt immediately. In a 2017 season opening 54-18 loss to a powerful Fullerton squad, the hard hitting 165 pounder made 15 stops. McIntyre followed that with 16 crunches in a loss to Stuart (I saw that one), 12 against Anselmo-Merna, then another 16 tackle performance versus Pleasanton. Talk about a “hello, allow me introduce myself as I drill you into the ground” entrance for Jackson.
The Central Valley standout went on to record 83 tackles (43 solos) in 2017, then followed that up with 82 last Fall with 58 solos. The dude is just insanely athletic and was from the get-go, and don’t think several schools from the Central Nebraska area were not trying to influence a young Jackson McIntyre as to where to attend high school a few years back. The kid is that talented, but why not play for a head coach named Jess Rother, who was a two time 1000 yard rusher for Wolbach back in the early 90s?
As I stated earlier, one of Jackson McIntyre’s biggest trump cards is his Track and Field abilities….11.2 hundred man, 51 flat in that 400 meters, so not many defenders will ever see anything but Jackson’s backside when he hits open spaces. The lad is also as tough as nails for a 175 pounder and most importantly, has a huge football heart like countless other 8-Man football farm and ranch kids.
*Ryan Lauby-Overton - 5-10, 180, Senior (1,135 yards) - Just so you know, 1000 yard rushers and 20+ points per game basketball stars seem to come in pairs at Overton high school. How nice, right? Twice the bang for the buck at the home Glen Snodgrass built. Very cool.
So in 2018, a 9-2, Class D-2 state quarterfinals Overton football machine boasted a pair of thousand yard rushers. There was the 5-10, 175 pound muscle bound junior Ryan Lauby and the smaller guy that often times hid off the offensive tackle’s right hip, the 5-6, 160 pound senior Caleb Moore.
So, Moore ended up gaining exactly one more yard (1,136) than his backfield buddy Ryan Lauby, when the 2018 season was in the books, but it is the brutal running Lauby that picked up the slack in the playoffs when defenses began to put the clamps on Caleb Moore.
Moore reeled off seven 1000 yard rushing games during the Overton regular season for Coach Paul Heusinkvelt, and was sitting at an impressive 914 rushing yards with 8 TDs before the playoffs. Meanwhile, Ryan Lauby finished the regular season with 695 yards, but had 14 TDs.
When the playoffs rolled around, the bullish Lauby had to step up big time, especially the last two games. I’m not sure whether Moore was injured or what, but Ryan Lauby gained 440 yards, scored 7 touchdowns and made 25 tackles during that three game span that finally ended when the Eagles fell to state finalist Mullen 52-36 in the D-2 quarterfinals.
Being short and to the point, Ryan Lauby is tougher than a one-earned alley cat on both sides of the ball. A brutal blocker, the Screaming Eagle is also a like a runaway Sherman Tank when he gets a football in his hands. On more than one occasion, Lauby rolled a defender like a nickle cigar on his way to the end zone. Add in 97 tackles on defense, 9 TFL, 2 INTs and a recovered fumble and you have an big time All-State candidate for the upcoming 2019 season.
Overton graduated Caleb Moore and sensational quarterback Braden Kizer, but Coach Heusinkvelt has capable replacements to plug the holes, including his son Elijah at QB, so Overton may not miss a beat in 2019, especially with Lauby back for his senior season.
Okay, if some of the players I have mentioned in the past (Tinker-Pierce) have eaten a dozen 10 penny nails for breakfast, I’ll guarantee Ryan Lauby just uses those for an afternoon snack.
*Sam Heapy-Medicine Valley - 5-11, 175, Senior (1,027 yards) - Pretty nice all-around athlete for Coach Scott Johnson down at Med Valley. Sam Heapy would be your quarterback for the red and blue Raiders and a Dual Threat man at that. Last season, Slippery Sam ran for 1,027 yards and a dozen scores and completed 57% of his 83 aerials for 660 yards and another 8 touchdowns.
This Medicine Valley team was pretty solid last season and much better than their 5-4 record would indicate. They lost to playoff teams Wauneta-Palisade, Mullen, Sandhills-Thedford and Garden County,whose combined record ended up 34-8. Mullen was a state D-2 finalist and Sam Heapy and the Raiders nearly beat the Broncos who escaped with a 42-40 regular season win.
Heapy played a big role on defense too, making 28 tackles and picking off 5 passes. Sam’s 5 INTs tied him for 3rd place in all of Eight Man football a year ago too. Very clear that this young man is a force to be reckoned with on both sides of the football.
Two years ago, Sam gained some valuable QB experience in Medicine Valley’s semifinal deep playoff run, throwing for 351 yards an 7 touchdowns. Only South Loup prevented the Raiders from getting to Lincoln in 2017. Heapy was also a starter in that Raider defensive backfield, where he made 26 stops and posted 2 INTs.
Hey, it appears to me that Slippery Sam Heapy may have worked hard in the weight room during the off season down there in Curtis (weight gain, muscle). The dude is a good 300 Yard Intermediate hurdler, qualifying for the state track meet back in May, and is obviously a good field general at that QB slot.
Very confident in the pocket as a passing QB, Heapy gets rid of the ball in a hurry or knows in a jiffy whether to take off running. And when Heapy does run the football, he picks up big chunks of real estate with his slippery moves and above average speed.
Another huge plus for his kid is the rich tradition Medicine Valley enjoys on the football fields. The Raiders have rung up a 71-37 record the past 11 seasons,winning 10 playoff games during that period.
They have also boasted some great runners like Landon Lenz (1,903 yards in 2017), Hunter Timmons (1,053 in 2011), Mike Jones (1,405 in 2002), the terrific Trenton Lenz (1,416 in 1994 and 1,457 in 1993), Daniel Woodburn (1,374 in 1999) and thee “Original” Touchdown Twins (literally), Matt (1,310) and Mitch (1,221) Hansen, one of only two sets of twins to rush for a 1000 yards in Nebraska prep football history. Matt and Mitch pulled off that feat in 1980 by the way.
Look for Sam Heapy to have another 1000 yard season, increase his passing stats, and lead the Raiders to another playoff spot.
….Up next...Class D-3, Six Man Football 1000 Yard Rushers