Gibbon's Bradyn Snell, Class C-2's premier Quarterback.
2015 Nebraska Prep Running Backs to Watch - Class C-2
by Bobby Mills (1000 Yard Guy)
Although there are only 2 returning 1000 yard rushers in this class, there are plenty of top notch running backs that grace this 11-Man group of schools. One Class C-2 school in particular, with THREE backs on this list, will strike fear into the hearts of opponents this fall. Onward and upward folks........................
Class C-2 Returning 1000 Yard Rushers:
*Wyatt Pankowski-Bridgeport (#14) - 6-3, 220, (Sr.) - 1,201-210, 13 TDs.
No nonsense runner that relies on his power to smash over defenders. Former lineman has been a model of consistency, rushing for over a 1000 yards in both his sophomore (1,164) and junior seasons (1,201). Pankowski ran for 12 Tds two seasons back, and 13 last year and has put on about 10 pounds each of the past three seasons, getting stronger as he goes. This has to be a concern to the opponents on Bridgeport's schedule.
Speaking of Bridgeport's schedule, the purple clad Bulldogs couldn't be stuck in a tougher district year after year. Rubbing elbows with North Platte St. Pats, Cambridge, Hershey, Kimball, makes it awful difficult for Pankowski and his buds to make the playoffs, much less play deep into the postseason.
As I mentioned before, no frills surrounding big Wyatt's running. Just getting that full head of steam and following his blocking is what he's all about. Pankowski is difficult to bring down if he gets that 220 pounds rolling. This fall he should have blockers with Two 300 pounders in his offensive line and a tough little fullback (5-9, 162 pound Lawrence Schneider) leading the sweeps. Sounds ironic a 160 pound fullback leading blocking on a power sweep for a 220 pound I-Back, but whatever works, and it must be working for Pankowski to have back to back thousand yard rushing seasons.
More than legit All-State candidate whose rushing total could swell to 1,500 plus this fall.
*Cody Feist-Yutan (#24) -5-10, 178 (Sr.) - 1,081-141, 12 TDs
How about this guy? Runs for over a thousand yards in 2014 and offense isn't even his cup of tea as far as I'm concerned. Don't misunderstand me here, Cody Feist is a terrific running back, far above the norm, but defense is where I think this dude thrives.
Last season there was only ONE game Cody Feist did not have double digit tackle numbers. This kid made an unbelievable 80 unassisted stops from his middle linebacker slot and these were against teams like Aquinas, Fremont Bergan, Elmwood-Murdock and Freeman. You just know this is where #24 wants to be on Friday nights. Last season, he led Yutan with a whopping 120 tackles. Even as a sophomore, Cody Feist was in on 93 stops, of which 59 were solo tackles. That's a 139 solo crunches in just 2 seasons. He also pirated 3 passes a year ago.
On offense, Feist loves the jet sweep to the right side. Kind of a slider/glider but can make a slick plant and phantom cut, leaving defenders with empty arms. Follows his blockers well and has breakaway speed if he gets to the corner. Intelligent runner who knows the quickest route to the end zone.
Cody Feist is a leader on defense that would be a welcome addition to any defense in ANY CLASS for sure. Very good shot at All-State if Yutan can nail down a playoff slot this fall.
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...And......the best of the rest:
*Derek Renner-Battle Creek (#30) - 5-11, 180, (Sr.) - 850-113, 16 TDs
Renner made his presence known 2 years ago as a sophomore when he rushed for 305 yards and 6 touchdowns in four playoff games for the Braves. After totaling 519 yards two years ago, the long striding Renner followed it up with an 850 yard junior season while splitting time at RB with 1,395 yard runner, Jordan Zautke.
On offense, Derek Renner seems to appear about 4 inches taller than he really is. Not lightning fast, #30 still runs with those long 400 meter runner type strides and has superior balance, shedding tacklers as he goes. Renner scored a TD in 10 of Battle Creek's 12 games a year ago and has been a part of the Braves run to the Class C-2 semifinals the past 2 seasons. This year he takes over the role of Go-To running back.
The past 2 years, Battle Creek has sported one of the most vicious offensive lines in the state in C-2, but this fall the Braves return only 3 starters on each side of the ball. That's the bad news, the good news is that Renner's O-Line will be mostly seniors who had plenty of experience during Battle Creek's splendid 11-1 season.
On defense, Renner led the Braves secondary from his strong safety position with 43 tackles and picked off 5 passes during the 2014 campaign.
*Ryan Schlueter-Centennial (#12) - 5-7, 160, (Jr.) - 819-140, 7 TDs
Schlueter really came on the last 3 games of 2014 (as a sophomore), rushing for 505 yards and 6 scores for the Broncos. Anyone that can thrive in C-2 at 147 pounds is pretty tough. On defense, Ryan was in on 53 tackles for Centennial, who missed the playoffs for the 1st time in 6 seasons under head coach Evan Klanecky. The 2015 Broncos will depend on underclassman to fill the voids, but Schlueter, who is "up" to 160 pounds, should have no trouble thriving after playing at 147 a year ago.
*Hoss Smith-Oakland-Craig - 5-11, 184, (Jr.) - 817-152, 9 TDs
Played for 8-Man football for Ansley-Litchfield the past two seasons and helped get that team to the playoffs in 2014. Moves to 11-Man, C-2 football after his father Jeff Smith recently accepted the superintendent job at that school.
Hoss Smith will immediately make an impact on defense, especially if the Knights choose to place him at linebacker. The youngster was an absolute stud at that position, often times rushing from a 3 point stance in the D-Line. Smith was All-District as a freshman, as well as a year ago, and just flat out understands the LB position. Extremely strong upper body with built in football instincts you just do not find in most young players. Hoss will have no problem whatsoever adapting to the 11-Man game.....None.
On offense, he has good speed and uses his strength to get yards after contact. He'll have some blocking at Oakland-Craig and will eventually ease the pain the Knights are feeling after losing one of the best C-2 backs ever in Nick Arlt to graduation. Players like Arlt come around only once in a lifetime in a school the size of Oakland-Craig.
*Braden Schuppan-Doniphan-Trumbull (#42) - 5-7, 140, (Sr.) - 803-97, 6 TDs
Another tiny back like Centennial's Schlueter a year ago, Schuppan is up to 5-11, 170 pounds this fall and the Cardinals are far more experienced than 2014 when they were coming off a State C-2 Championship. Despite that inexperience, Braden Schuppan was named all-district after rushing for 803 yards and scoring 6 Tds, making 42 tackles on defense, breaking up several passes, and of all things, blocking Three field goal attempts.
Schuppan is lightning fast, hitting the line quick as a wink, and has legitimate breakaway speed. Number 42 has the strength to drag defenders for extra yards after contact too. Schuppan should pair up with returning QB Tate Mazour and RBs Tom Pfeiffer and Chet Quist to give the Cardinals a dangerous offense with brisk speed.
*Noah Pelan-David City Aquinas (#8) - 5-10, 170, (Sr.) - 797-102, 13 TDs
"Just" another magnificent cog in that incomparable Aquinas offense under the direction of Head Coach Ron Mimick, the best there is. Pelan, whose father is on that super Monarch staff, is one of the Wingmen that just dizzies defenders with their speed and elusive shiftiness. And by the way, Mr. Pelan is around a 4.36 forty yard quick. Mr. Pelan is also very strong and has jetpack springs in those legs of his.
Pelan is swift, scoring 13 TDs, making 54 stops on defense with 8 of those for losses. #8 picked off a pass, broke up a couple of passes, caused a fumble, recovered a fumble.......just another day at the field for an Aquinas player.
Pelan is super talented, and the trouble for opponents is this......there are several others that are a mirror image of this dude. Simply......that's Aquinas football. No other program like it.
*Lane Napier-David City Aquinas (#25) - 5-8, 160, (Jr.) - 740-130, 13 TDs (*All-State-2014*)
Good grief, this guy did a ton of things and was only a sophomore last season. Napier really came through as a ball carrier in games like St. Cecilia, Battle Creek, and Cedar Catholic. And those 3 were the final THREE of the 2014 season for the Monarchs. There was 65 carries for 416 yards and 5 touchdowns worth in that critical 3 game span, along with 24 tackles, 4 of which went for losses, and a caused fumble. Again, just another day at the Aquinas office. Napier made 94 tackles from his linebacker slot, and in that Coach Tony Smith defensive tradition, 75 of those were assists. If back in their heyday, Penn State was tabbed "Linebacker U., last season Aquinas Catholic surely was the "Linebacker U. of Nebraska high school football.
*Dayton Sealey-Hastings St. Cecilia (#42) - 6-0, 190, (Sr.) - 704-92, 8 TDs
You know, my dear friend and high school football teammate Carl Tesmer spreads around that football at St. C's. If not for that, Dayton Sealey would have easily been a 1000 yard rusher.
Very strong, and very fast, Sealey is a terror to bring down with his legs churning for those yards after contact. He has track and football speed, which when combined, is lethal. All-State football and basketball material, Sealey and his Bluehawk buddies just may be headed with a head-to-head meeting with Aquinas on the artificial turf in Lincoln in late November.
Good bloodlines here.
*Grant King-Stanton (#30) - 5-7, 170, (Sr.) - 698-110, 10 TDs
Terrific middle linebacker for the Mustangs as well as a nice RB. King made 59 tackles a year ago and 38 of them were solo stops. On offense, King runs out of that very tight Stanton wing formation, ala Crofton, and with 17 letterman returning this fall, King's yardage production should increase. Also doesn't hurt to have an all-state candidate blocking for him in 6-4, 230 pound Blake Huisman.
*Thomas Spilinek-Arcadia/Loup City (#19) - 5-10, 165, (Jr.) - 641-78, 5 TDs
Crazy story about this kid. Last season, 6-Man Arcadia and 8-Man Loup City merged for football and ended up playing the 11-Man game in Class C-2. In this case 6 and 8 didn't equal 14.........OK, anyway, Spilinek played RB for Loup City as a sophomore but was moved to guard when the two schools joined forces last season.
Thomas stayed at guard through the Rebels first 4 contests, but when running back Robert Ritz went down with an injury, Coach Mike Scott returned the 165 junior to the backfield. Spilinek responded with 124 yards on 18 carries as his team surprised Ravenna 29-14. Spilinek went on to rush for 641 yards in only 5 games from his fullback position while adding 5 touchdowns.
Thomas Spilinek's lowest output was a 91 yard/10 carry effort vs. Centura. All the rest were 100 plus rushing games. After helping the newly formed 11-Man Rebels to a 5-4 season a year ago, Spilinek returns for another go-around in 2015.
*Connor Kranda-David City Aquinas (#3) - 5-9, 145, (Sr.) - 620-55, 10 TDs
Kranda is the 3rd cog in the Aquinas backfield, lining up at one of the wing positions. A year ago Kranda scored every FIFTH time he touched the football, averaging 11.2 yards a pop. As a receiver, Connor caught only 5 passes, but 3 went for touchdowns, averaging nearly 25 yards a catch.
On defense at free safety, the speedy Kranda has wicked pursuit, making 60 tackles. #3 also picked off a pass, recovered 2 fumbles and broke up 6 passes.
As I stated prior to this about the previous two Monarch players, just another day at Aquinas office for these boys. Such a program, such a coaching staff! I'm counting the days until that Aquinas/Scotus matchup at Pawnee Park September 4th.
*Tyler Oehlerking-Elmwood-Murdock (#6) - 5-10, 170, (Sr.) - 620-89, 7 TDs
Oehlerking labored for an inexperienced Elmwood-Murdock team a year ago that finished 3-6 and missed the playoffs for the first time in 15 years under Coach Leigh Schmale. That just doesn't happen at EM and don't expect it occur in 2015. Ain't gonna happen.
Tyler will be the main man in an experienced backfield, sparkling from his wing and flanker slots in that Knight offense. Oehlerking amassed nearly 900 yards of rushing and receiving last year and with 15 returning starters, it's only going to get better come late August.
*Hunter Fischer-Hastings St. Cecilia (Sr.) - 6-0, 200, (Sr.) - 618-55, 6 TDs (*All-State-2014*)
Mean Motor Scooter on defense. Fischer's 148 tackles placed him right smack dab in the middle of that Class C-2 All-State defense last year. If this guy was the main ball carrier on offense, a thousand yard rushing season would be a cinch, but Carl Tesmer doesn't need him to do that with Sealey and quarterback Grant Schmidt back there.
Look for huge things from Fischer this fall as St. Cecilia will be headed for a meeting with Aquinas somewhere deep in the playoffs.......perhaps for all the marbles in Lincoln.
*Bradyn Snell-Gibbon (#15) (QB) - 5-10, 160, (Sr) - 602-110, 13 TDs
2 year starter at QB and a good one at that, completing nearly 58% of his throws for over 1,900 yards. Last season, in addition to running for 602 yards and 13 scores, the shifty Snell completed 95 of his 169 passes for 1,263 yards and 18 big touchdowns. He also kicked 20 of 28 extra points for super Coach Mark McLaughlin's Buffaloes.
Bradyn Snell operates out of that shotgun offense, taking the direct snap and is soooo dangerous when he decides to take off running for the simple reason he makes that decision so quickly. Blessed with great speed and fluid moves, Snell is a seasoned veteran who has the luxury of 7 returning starters on either side of the ball. Also returning are some very skilled receivers as well as a tough-as-nails line led by 2014 all-stater, Ozzy Rodriquez (5-11, 265).
Snell is just plain scary with is throwing accuracy, instant decisions and shifty running, and with Wood River transfer Tanner Gideon coming into the backfield this fall, super wide-out Korbin Hynes catching passes (among others) and an absolutely top notch coach in Mark McLaughlin, Gibbon is going to be a force to be reckoned with come August 28th.........count on it. You heard it here and it's certainly no secret among high school football coaches in C-2.
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.........keep an eye out for these backs:
*James Schroll-North Platte St. Patricks (#25) - 5-9, 170, (Sophomore) - 591-121, 9 TDs
FRESHMAN a year ago averaged 10 carries and game a 5 yards a pop for a C-2 powerhouse. Also returned 9 kick-offs for a 33 yard average and brought one back of those to the house against Oakland-Craig. Are you kidding me.....a Freshman? It can happen at St. Pats, ya know. Kevin Dodson is the head coach and how good was he when he tore up the field for the Irish. Nuff said.
*Cohen Lewendowski-Arcadia/Loup City (#28) - 5-10, 162, (Sr.) - 509-99, 7 TDs
*Tanner Peterson-Sutton - 6-2, 190, (Jr.) - 485-62, 7 TDs
*Garrett Leach-Sutton - 5-10, 170, (Jr.) - 436-42, TDs
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..........Up Next, Class D-1, 8-Man Football's returning 1000 yard runners and best of the rest.