Wilber-Clatonia's Tanner Zlab runs for huge real estate against Aquinas.
(*photo courtesy of Journal-Star)
*Jac Bailey-McCool Junction - 1.263 Jr. - Alright, this kid is the real deal. Bailey is a solid 6-1, 185 pounds of dynamo and is not only a punishing runner, but is a head hunter that loves to crunch people when he plays defense. The Mustangs last qualified for the playoffs in 2008 when Bailey was a frosh but this season they have young youngsters that grew up playing green a year ago. In a rugged D-1 class that includes teams like West Point CC, Creighton and the likes, Jac Bailey is still one of the best football players around and only a Junior. EVERY one of his 1,263 yards last season was earned, friends. Look for big things in 2011 from Bailey.
*Tanner Zlab-Wilber-Clatonia - 1,235Yards - Mr. Zlab is faaaasssst and then some. He and quarterbacking brother Foster Zlab will give the Wolverines one of the top teams in C-2 this Fall. Zlab was so skilled as a sophomore, he only missed the 1000 yard mark by a mere 10 yards. Junior Foster can keep defenses on their toes with his passing (649 yds/7 Tds in 2010) so the running lanes will open up for Tanner this Fall. Tanner also pirated 4 passes on defense last year. With Freshman bro, Carter Zlab joining the Wilber-Clatonia fun this season, the brothers Zlab may become a household name in C-2. Oh yes, Tanner Zlab was an all-state linebacker last season too.
*John Jeffers-Ogallala - 1,215 Yards - One of the Best-of the-West for certain. Built low to the ground at 5-6 and a buck 50, Jeffers can hide behind his lineman and blow by some defenders in a heartbeat. Jeffers is surprisingly difficult to bring down for his weight and can blast up the middle if called upon to do so. He has a very good classmate calling signals in the Indian's backfield in Garrett Folchert and has lineman like Michael Gill, Ty Lanka, Jake Schilz, and Carston Victory (great name) blocking for him. Ogallala will be very good again and Jeffers will benefit by having one of C-1's best O-Lines.
*Mikah Fullner-Wisner-Pilger - 1,186 - Here's the story on Fullner. He didn't have much help last season with a young surrounding cast, but if you place this 6-2, 190 pounder 10 yards deep and feed him the pigskin 25 times a game behind a line like Cambridge or St. Pats has, he gains 1800 yards+.
Well, Wisner-Pilger doesn't have a line that skilled yet, but they will be much improved which will enable Fullner's rushing total in 2011 to be pretty scary. This is one of the best backs in C-2, believe me.
*Alec Galvin-Burwell - 1,176 Jr. - This guy is a scooter. He lettered as a freshman on a team that was outstanding and had some great performers ahead of him. The 'Horns are coached by one of the best in the biz in Luke Gideon, and Burwell seems to always have a back that can "go". The Longhorns also always seem to "graduate everybody" but Gideon never fails to come up with a team that can compete in the ultra tough D-1 class. The shifty Galvin is another runner that can join the elite "3-year 1000 yard class" and has the talent to do it. He need some blocks though.
*Andrew Pierce-East Butler - 1,151 - How would you like to be on a team that played pretty decent against 2010 State Champ West Point CC for a half, won all of your games excepting that one and NOT be eligible for the playoffs? That was the plight of Pierce and his teammates last season and when you go 7-1 and can't play anymore, it hurts When neighboring Prague joined forces, it put the Tigers over the 8-man 82 player limit and that was that. But this season the Tigers are eligible and Pierce and his outstanding buddy, Scott Paseka will be ready to compete. Pierce (a converted receiver) is only around a 150 pounds, but he plays the game tough like all the other East Butler players that preceded him. Look for a big season for Andrew Pierce and the Tigers.
*Jacob Morrill-Creighton - 1,143 Yards Sophomore - Morrill is special. He is only the 5th freshman in history to rush for a thousand yards. I knew he was mature when he winked at the camera during the introductions at the State Finals....didn't thin k I caught that, did you Jacob. Creighton lost some key players from last year's D-1 runner-up squad, but the Bulldogs will still have one of the top O-Lines in D-1 this season. Cale Dohmen (220), Levi Nielsen (240), and a lean, mean Aaron Von Seggern will be a good front for Morrill. Also remember that Jacob Morrill was good enough to START at linebacker as a freshman. No argument about how complete a football player this lad is and Creighton will have his services THREE more seasons unle3ss he decides to turn pro.............just kidding.
*Isaac Aakre-Millard North - 1,107 Jr. - All this youngster did in 2010 was replace a returning quarterback that was a 1000 yard rusher the season before (2009). That's how skilled Freddy Petito knew Aakre was when it came to playing QB. All Aakre did was lead the Mustangs to the State Class A football title in 2010 and did it in cool fashion. Millard North returns enough fire power in 2011 to be pre-season rated number 1 in most polls I've seen and young Aakre is one of the reasons why. If you are close to the MN program at all you know how many reps these Mustang quarterbacks take in practice just to get the timing down..... I'm guessing somewhere close to the gazillion times Freddy told me do.
*Luke Dlouhy-Deshler - 1,100 - Another one of the "little" guys that does it all for his team. As a sophomore, Dlouhy had 823 of his team's 1,242 rushing yards. Last season, in addition to running for 1,100 ground yards, Dlouhy (5-9, 150) even passed for 355 yards and scored 16 touchdowns. The Dragons are in a brutal district with Johnson-Brock, BDS, and Friend, so you know Dlouhy must be excellent to have the kind of numbers he's had the past 3 seasons )2,462 yards rushing).
Wednesday we'll capsule the final nine returning 1000 yard rushers for 2011.