Homer QB Wayne Tremayne (#10) waits for the snap to do some offensive damage.
Not often do I do a short feature on Friday night heroes, but this week has an exception. We just have to turn a bright spotlight on a young man from a very proud football program with a storied football history as well as basketball. Let's get right to it.
***Noah Johnson - Sutton*** 6-1, 205 RB/LB - This guy has been a three starter for the Mustangs at fullback and linebacker. At times the past 2 seasons, it seems like Johnson has become a "lost" figure in a backfield that has had TWO 1000 yard rushers both of those seasons. All-Staters Cole Wiseman and Trae Ramer both eclipsed the 1000 yard plateau in 2012 and 2013. All Noah Johnson did was rush for 600 yards as a sophomore and 950 last season. Sutton came within 50 yards of having THREE 1000 yard runners in 2013.
But this year it's #22's chance to take the "featured back" status at Sutton with a veteran line in front of him. Here is a physical specimen that benches 330, squats 425 and runs a 4.6 forty. So, what did Noah Johnson do in his first 2 games as the featured back? In the opening 40-7 win against Wood River, Johnson rushed for 315 yards on 27 carries. Last week in a 62-20 romp over Thayer Central, the power back ran for 320 yards on 23 carries and scored on runs of 13 ,33 ,35 ,4 and 35 yards. It's a safe bet at this point to say that Noah Johnson's 2 game total of 635 yards leads the state in rushing. To make it more impressive, both teams were keying on the 205 pound senior as will be the case the remainder of the season. How do you like them apples, sports fans!
*Wyatt Tremayne-Homer - This 5-8, 190 QB/MLB does it all for the Knights. Homer is 0-2 to this point but the losses have come to toughies Crofton (35-20) and Tekamah-Herman (35-28). Against Crofton, Tremayne gained 135 yards on 24 carries and scored all 3 touchdowns. He also completed 17 of 27 passes for 188 yards and made 12 tackles on defense. Last Friday vs. Tekamah-Herman, #11 carried the ball 26 times for 179 yards and 2 scores, plus connected on 25 of 39 passes for 208 yards and the other 2 TDs. Tremayne also returns kick-offs and has punted the football 5 times for an average of 44.8 yards a boot. Good Lord! What a player.
*Jake Bos-Columbus Scotus - In a huge 19-16 win over Aquinas in David City, the junior ran for 119 grueling yards on 16 carries and scored on runs of 11 and 2 yards. That's a bunch against that stingy Aquinas defense. This guy is just a pure football player.
*Brad Johnston-Scottsbluff - The Bearcats have 1000 yard rusher Ty Benson in the backfield, but last Friday the 5-11, 190 pound junior RB/DE decided it was time for him to rally his troops past a Hastings team that put unreal numbers up in the first half. Johnston rushed for 131 yards on only 13 carries and scored 3 times as Scottsbluff rallied from a 27-20 deficit to down the Tigers 49-34. Johnston scored on runs of 17, 46, and 5 yards. He has 180 yards in 2 games and averages a hefty 9.5 yards a tote.
*Grand Island Defense - Held Lincoln SE to 169 total yards last Thursday in an impressive 28-7 win at Seacrest Field. QB Pierce Almond threw for a 137 yards in the win.
*Tajuan Phipps-Omaha Northwest - 5-6, 180 pound sophomore burst for 198 yards on 19 carries and scored 2 TDs in the Huskies wild 46-45 loss to Omaha South. In that game, both quarterbacks had banner nights through the air. South's Cory Myers, another sophomore, completed 14 of 30 passes for 276 yards and three scores. His Northwest counterpart, Tajai Graves connected on 11 of his 25 aerials for 192 yards and 2 Tds. Omaha South's Mahoor Arop made the most of his rushing attempts by zipping for 143 yards on just 8 carries and 2 touchdowns.
*Zach Schwindt-Conestoga - This could be the day of the lightweight running back. Schwindt, a 140 pound sophomore, raced for 134 yards on 17 totes against Raymond Central last Friday. The week before vs. DC West he ran for 123-23. Zach has also caught 6 passes this season for 36 yards. Not bad for a team that is 0-2.
*Alex Kunz-Stuart - All-State, all-around football man Kunz rushed for 227 yards on just 13 carries and 3 Tds in the Broncos 42-8 opening game win over Boyd County. Kunz was also 6 of 13 passing for 113 yards and 2 scores and made 6 tackles. The outstanding senior now has 3,293 yards rushing thus far in his illustrious career. What a player.
*Carsten Tietz-Bancroft-Rosalie - Speaking about quarterbacks, Tietz reeled off 281 yards on just 17 touches and rushed for 5 Tds in a 66-36 scoring explosion at Osceola. The week before, Tietz ran 9 times for 164 yards and 3 scores in a 62-14 romp over Winside. Teammate Zeb Greve rushed for 101 yards on 12 carries in that Osceola game, but the kid you may want to keep an eye on is freshman Jacob Zulke. Mr. Zulke carried only 3 times in that Osceola contest but rushed for 42 yards. However, in the season opener against Winside, Zulke gained 89 yards on 16 totes. Next 1000 yard rusher at BR? This week Bancroft-Rosalie is set to clash with Randolph at home....wow.
*Thomas Russell-Millard West - Kirk Peterson turned the 6-0, 190 senior loose to the tune of 204 yards in 27 carries in a 39-33 loss to Millard North. Thomas ran for touchdowns on runs of 36 and 55 yards and caught a 31 yard scoring pass.
*Adrian Kellogg-Millard North - 6-1, 185 pound junior bested Russell's yardage by scooting for 209 yards on only 11 touches in the Mustang's 39-33 over Millard West. Kellogg had scoring runs of 74, 20 and 3 yards in the "W".
*Hunter Smith-Omaha Skutt - In the Sky Hawks 47-3 frolic against Omaha Gross, the 5-11, 190 pound senior scored 4 times on runs of 29, 22, 71, and 23 yards. Yes, Smith is very fast as witnessed by the length of the TD runs. Tough dude too.
*Collin Freeman-Pierce - 5-9, 190 pound pure football player had only 10 carries in the 'Jays 35-8 win over Arlington but they were worth 134 yards and 2 Tds. Last year Freeman rushed for 927 yards and 20 touchdowns. We don't have to tell you how valuable this young man is to this Pierce ball club. Monster on defense too.
*Trevor Matson-McCook - 149 yards on 14 carries in the Bison's 45-0 route of GINW. 147 of Matson's yards came in the first half including TD runs of 11 and 77 yards. He sat out most of the 2nd half with a nose I thought may have been broken but later determined not. That 77 yard run was a thing of beauty. Matson is the Dancing With The Stars king. Kid has terrific moves and terrific feet. Tougher than "you know what" too.
*Joey Hagerbaumer-Twin River - Had 148 tough, grinding yards right into the teeth of that Doniphan-Trumbull defense last Thursday in Silver Creek. The Titans dropped the match 24-14 but gained some respect in that one. Hagerbaumer scored on a 5 yard run in the loss and has 243 yards in 2 games after rushing for 774 a year ago. Joey is a fullback and also an outstanding linebacker.
*Cody Beckman-Bloomfield - Ran for 156 yards on 17 carries and scored on runs of 31 and 62 yards last Thursday in the Bees 62-22 opening win over Niobrara-Verdigre. Beckman also caught a 23 yard TD pass in the contest. Beckman ran for 1,027 yards a year ago and will attempt to gain a bunch Friday against a stout Howells-Dodge defense. Bloomfield has had over 20 thousand yard rushers since I've started the club in 1975.
*Cody Groenwald-Lincoln Northeast - Sophomore calmly strolled onto the field a kicked the wining field goal against Omaha Bryan as the clock expired. Rockets won 23-21 over the Bears, but Bryan QB Jacob Stewert had a banner night passing, hitting 18 of 29 tosses for 240 yards and scored all three of his teams TDs on rushing plays.
*Luke Ericson-Osceola - 6-3, 215 pound QB,a 3 year starter, kind of shouldered the load in that 66-36 loss to Bancroft-Rosalie. Ericson rushed 37 times and gained 178 yards. He made 7 tackles on defense. Ericson is one tough cookie to bring down.
*Lincoln East defense - Got 'er cranked up against a pretty salty Lincoln North Star offense last Friday in a 21-2 win. East held North Star to a total of 110 yards and THREE 1st downs in the entire game and forced 3 turnovers including an 87 yards pick-6 by Bryson Metcalf. I saw North Star play and this team has a nice offense so this is quite an accomplishment IMO.
*Jordan Zautke-Battle Creek - Blasted his way to 177 yards on 19 carries as the Braves humbled a fine Oakland-Craig team 41-6. That Battle Creek line is so potent that they cleared the way for their backs to rush for 350 yards and 476 total yards against an O-C team that held Fremont Bergan to 6 points a week ago. The Braves have 3 O-lineman that weigh over 250 pounds and are human bulldozers. Can anyone beat this bunch in C-2? Battle Creek's "D" held Oakland-Craig's 2 year 1000 yard rusher Nick Arlt to 86 yards on 20 attempts. I might even be able to gain a few yards behind that BC line................or not.
*Daniel Nuno-Wakefield - Playing their 1st 8-Man football game in 25 years, the Trojans dropped a 48-32 opener to Clarkson/Leigh. Nuno must not have minded the little "8-man football refresher course" Jim Clarkson's boys delivered to Wakefield because Daniel rushed for 134 yards on 20 carries. Wakefield QB Alex Conley rushed for 123 yards on 19 carries and scored on runs of 26 and 22 yards and made 10 tackles on defense. That's OK fellas, Jim Clarkson knows that 8-Man game pretty well.
*Ethan Skinner-Hemingford - 2 year 1000 yard rusher and all-stater ran for 126 yards on 28 carries under the afternoon sun last Friday as the Bobcats crushed a good Twin Loup team 60-22. Skinner, who has carried 52 times in a game before, scored 5 times on runs of 3, 3, 8, 15, and a 71 yard kick return. This bunch just might win themselves a state D-1 championship this season. Any doubters out there?
*Carter Zlab-Wilber-Clatonia - Versatile runner ran for 134 yards on 15 carries and scored 2 rushing touchdowns, returned a kick 73 yards for another, caught 2 passes for 26 yards and intercepted 2 passes. W/C defeated Tri-County 42-12.
*Sean Lambert-Fremont - Lambert was a shining star in the Tiger's 52-10 romp over Class A newbee South Sioux City. The 5-11, 190 pound junior had TD jaunts of 43, 4 and 26 yards and the fun hadn't started yet. Lambert electrified 'em by returning a kickoff 95 yards for a score.......then came back for a repeat performance, taking a kickoff 88 yards to the house. Take a bow, Sean!
*J J Oltmer-Humphrey St. Francis - Ran for 132 yards on only 8 carries and scored runs of 9, 31 and 40 yards as the Flyers punished Lyons-Decatur NE 70-14. Oltmer is headed for a third 1000 yard season and the 5000 career yard club. Also a ferocious linebacker who plugs the gaps and chews up running backs and spits 'em out.
*Jesse Faltys-Howells-Dodge - 6,1 200 pounder gained 216 yards on only 8 carries in a 58-24 route of Cross County. 5 of Jesse's 8 carries went for scores on runs of 53, 27, 32, 3 and 67 yards. Man oh man, don't you wish Howells-Dodge still played St. Frans? I miss those classics!
*Tristin Logemann-Fremont Bergan - Freeman caught the Knights at a bad time following that 7-6 loss to Oakland-Craig and Logemann made them pay with 156 yards on 23 totes and 3 touchdowns.
*Cody Feist-Yutan - The 5-10, 170 pound junior RB/LB ran wild in the Chieftains 27-7 win over Elmwood-Murdock. Feist rushed for a whopping 282 yards on 26 touches. That makes 346 yards in 2 games. You're going to keep hearing this guy's name more and more as the season progresses. Very fine player.
*Tyler Brown-Heartland - Ran for 140 yards on only 12 touches as the Huskies romped McCool Junction 66-0. Brown hit the end zone on runs of 38, 11 and 25 yards. This team is good!
*Austin and Preston Schnitzler-Kenesaw - Finally, these two are healthy and making life miserable for defenses. In a 62-22 win over a pretty decent Lawrence-Nelson squad, Austin, a 5-11, 192 pound senior, rushed for 233 yards on 10 carries and scored 4 times. Preston, a 5-8, 180 pound junior rushed for 197 yards on 12 totes and also scored 4 times in the win. After just 2 games, Austin has 399 yards on the ground and Preston is not far behind with 342. Kenesaw will just keep pounding these guys at you all night and it hurts.
*Zach Novak - O'Neill St. Marys - This kid is a smart, heady football player. In a wild 48-41 win over Clearwater/Orchard, Novak rushed for 217 big ones on 31 carries and scored 4 TDs. A week ago he made 18 tackles against Allen. The 5-11, 170 pound runner has 407 yards in just 2 games thus far in 2014.
*Christian Best-Elm Creek - This 5-9, 185 pound RB is a punishing runner. In the opening 60-32 win against Perkins County, Best ran only 8 times but gained 211 yards and scored 5 touchdowns. 5 of 8.....not bad, man. By the way that's 26.4 yards a carry. Best was also in on 7 tackles as the Buffaloes rushed for 436 yards. I want to see this bunch when they meet Blue Hill on October 10th.
*Zach Clark-Loomis - 6-0, 170 pound quarterback ran for 187 yards on just 13 touches and scored 3 times in the Wolves 40-4 win vs. Eustis-Farnum. Clark also made 6 tackles. Yeah that score is right. Another safety and it would have appeared that E/F scored a TD.
Noah Keller and Caleb Krohn-Osmond - Running back Keller rushed for 168 yards on 17 carries, scored 2 times and made 10 tackles in the Tigers 44-12 win over Winside. QB Krohn gained 173 yards on 23 totes, scored 2 Tds and made 8 tackles in the game. Is it my imagination or is there more than just a couple of "Noah Kellers" around in Nebraska high school football? Oh I know, they're all related.
*Colin Wetovick-Cozad - I knew Wetovick would do this. In that 47-0 win at Minden, Colin ran for 195 yards on 13 carries and scored 3 Tds. Wetovick has 276 yards in 2 outings and is headed for a thousand yards and more.
*Christian Lewis - Southern Valley - In a tight 20-17 win over Kimball, Lewis came up huge with 165 yards on only 15 carries. That makes 261 in 2 games for Lewis.
Kellen Overstreet-Hamilton Penny High School (Missouri) - In just 3 games the 189 pound whiz has rushed for 1,149 yards. 1st game Overstreet went off for 437-40, 2nd game 376-34 carries and last week, 336-27. In each game he ran for 5 touchdowns. Last season this outstanding powerful back rushed for an amazing 3, 327 yards and scored 53 Tds. for an average of 9.2/carry. Overstreet already has 6,365 yards in his career and 85 touchdowns. Nebraska recruited him right? Wrong......Craig Bohl landed Overstreet at Wyoming........hello! In the National Underclassman Combine in 2012 in Lincoln, Kellen Overstreet won the MVP award and Strongest Man award as a freshman. Were we not paying attention? Oh well, what do I know.