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Falls City Sacred Heart vs. Parkview Christian, 9/15/17

Falls City Sacred Heart's Drew Bippes (10) changes direction on Parkview Christian's Romeo King (22) and Matthew Case (14) earlier this season.

Diller-Odell

Mascot: Griffins

Class D-2, District 1

NSAA enrollment: 25

The coach

Chris Schluter

At present school: Eighth year

Career record: 28-32

Season outlook

The Griffins had a nice bounce-back season in 2017, returning to the playoffs, and finding success with several running backs. William McLaughlin returns after rushing for 377 yards and seven touchdowns, and quarterback Ryan Arnold has the ability to run and pass. Bryston Warren, the team's top returning receiver, gives Arnold a go-to option in the passing game. The team must replace its top tackler from last year — Tyson Landenberger — but Warren and Jesse Scheele return after recording some high tackle numbers last year. "The biggest improvement we need to make is our team's physicality and ability to play with bigger teams," coach Chris Schluter said, adding he sees the team going in the right direction in the weight room.

Returning starters

Offense: 5

Defense: 5

Bryston Warren, DB/TE, 6-3, 190, Sr.

Ryan Arnold, QB/DB, 6-1, 180, Sr.

Jesse Scheele, OL/DL, 6-2, 200, Sr.

William McLaughlin, RB/LB, 6-0, 180, Sr.

Austin Jurgens, OL/DL, 6-2, 210, So.

Spotlight player

Ryan Arnold returns under center after throwing for more than 1,000 yards and nine touchdowns last year. He also had three interceptions from his safety spot.

Fast fact

Bryston Warren picked off four passes, caused three fumbles and recovered two fumbles last season.

The trophy case

Playoff appearances: 11

Last appearance: 2017

State titles: 0

The schedule

Aug. 24, Southern, H

Aug. 31, Blue Hill, H

Sept. 7, Lawrence-Nelson, A

Sept. 21, Pawnee City, H

Sept. 28, Johnson-Brock, A

Oct. 5, Falls City SH, H

Oct. 12, Parkview Christian, A

Oct. 19, Meridian, A

District games in bold


Falls City Sacred Heart

Mascot: Irish

Class D-2, District 1

NSAA enrollment: 18

The coach

Doug Goltz

At present school: 32nd year

Career record: 298-51

Season outlook

Sacred Heart followed its 2016 state-title run with a state semifinal appearance last fall. The Irish must replace nine seniors, so there are many holes to fill, including a revamp of the lines. Sacred Heart will be low on depth, but quarterback Drew Bippes is among the more experienced quarterbacks in the state. Sophomore Del Casteel showed strong attributes — strength, explosiveness, physicality — during his first season of high school ball. Jake Hoy, who started the second half of last season, is expected to take on a bigger role at wide receiver. Junior Branson Darveau is expected to be a key cog on defense after emerging at linebacker position last year. Tanner Cromer, Jarrot Simon and Austin Sells are among those expected to compete for starting roles.

Returning starters

Offense: 3

Defense: 3

Drew Bippes, QB, 6-0, 160, Sr.

Sloan Leonard, DL/OL, 6-1, 215, Jr.

Jake Hoy, E/DB, 5-10, 155, Jr.

Branson Darveau, LB/OL, 6-0, 200, Jr.

Del Casteel, RB/LB, 5-11, 200, So.

Spotlight player

Drew Bippes is among the top eight-man quarterbacks in the state. He can make plays with his legs and arm, and is also a very good punter.

Fast fact

Sacred Heart hasn't missed the playoffs since 1986, marking a string of 31 straight postseason appearances. It's the longest active streak in the state.

The trophy case

Playoff appearances: 34

Last appearance: 2017

State titles: 8 (1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 2013, 2016)

The schedule

Aug. 24, Lourdes CC, H

Aug. 30, Lawrence-Nelson, H

Sept. 7, Omaha Christian, A

Sept. 21, Meridian, A

Sept. 28, Parkview Christian, H

Oct. 5, Diller-Odell, A

Oct. 12, Pawnee City, H

Oct. 18, Johnson-Brock, A

District games in bold


Johnson-Brock

Mascot: Eagles

Class D-2, District 1

NSAA enrollment: 26

The coach

Mitch Roberts

At present school: Third year

Career record: 11-9

Season outlook

Johnson-Brock returns a lot of talent from last year's squad that made a nice run through the playoffs, so there's a lot of confidence in this group. The Eagles' spread offense is highlighted by QB Cole Fossenbarger and receiver Ty Hahn. Fossenbarger threw for 2,305 yards and 33 scores and rushed for another 479 yards last season. Kaden Glynn, a sophomore, played wideout and took some snaps under center last year. Hunter Oestmann provides balance with his ability to run the ball. The Eagles are also strong in the trenches. Shane Westhart starts at center, and he recorded 104 tackles last year. Seth Moerer, who missed most of last season with injury, will help anchor the lines. A regular-season finale against Falls City Sacred Heart will be among the state's top eight-man games this season.

Returning starters

Offense: 4

Defense: 4

Ty Hahn, WR/LB, 6-2, 185, Jr.

Cole Fossenbarger, QB/DB, 6-0, 150, Sr.

Hunter Oestmann, RB/LB, 5-10, 160, Sr.

Shane Westhart, OL/DL, 6-0, 180, Sr.

Seth Moerer, OL/DL, 6-2, 250, Sr.

Spotlight player

Ty Hahn is one of the top multi-sport athletes in the state, but he's looking to play football at the next level. He racked up 1,147 receiving yards and hauled in 24 TDs last year, while also registering 119 tackles and five interceptions.

Fast fact

After first-round playoff exits in 2015 and 2016, Johnson-Brock last year advanced to the state quarterfinals for the first time since 2009 and the third time since 2005.

The trophy case

Playoff appearances: 11

Last appearance: 2016

State titles: 0

The schedule

Aug. 24, Elmwood-Murdock, A

Aug. 31, Mead, H

Sept. 14, Lawrence-Nelson, H

Sept. 21, Parkview Christian, A

Sept. 28, Diller-Odell, H

Oct. 5, Pawnee City, A

Oct. 12, Meridian, A

Oct. 18, Falls City SH, H

District games in bold


Meridian

Mascot: Mustangs

Class D-2, District 1

NSAA enrollment: 31

The coach

Clint Jones

At present school: 13th year

Career record: 34-69

Season outlook

Meridian made big strides last year, nearly matching its win total from the prior three seasons combined. It included a playoff berth, and now the Mustangs are looking to carry that momentum into 2018. They must replace Tybor Smith at running back, but other skill-position players return, including tight end Garrett Klipp. Backs Kolby Schafer and Wyatt Haverluck return with starting experience, and Micah Noel, a three-year starter, anchors the offensive front. Klipp and Noel will also look to set the tone on the defensive side. Damian Cervantes is another returning starter at defensive end, giving the Mustangs a potent defensive front.

Returning starters

Offense: 7

Defense: 7

Garrett Klipp, E/DE, 6-2, 195, Sr.

Micah Noel, G/DL, 5-11, 200, Sr.

Damian Cervantes, E/DE, 5-10, 220, Sr.

Steven Disney, G/DL, 6-0, 230, Sr.

Wyatt Haverluck, FB/LB, 6-0, 195, Jr.

Kolby Schafer, RB/S, 5-9, 165, Jr.

Zach Kerwood, C/DL, 5-10, 250, Jr.

Hector Nunez, G/LB, 6-0, 185, Jr.

Spotlight player

Garrett Klipp, a first-team all-district performer, provides the Mustangs a big presence at tight end and defensive end. He's a three-year starter and tough to block one-on-one.

Fast fact

All six teams in District D2-1 reached the playoffs last year, including Meridian.

The trophy case

Playoff appearances: 9

Last appearance: 2017

State titles: 0

The schedule

Aug. 24, Blue Hill, A

Aug. 31, H-TR-S, H

Sept. 14, Tri County, H

Sept. 21, Falls City SH, H

Sept. 28, Pawnee City, A

Oct. 5, Parkview Christian, A

Oct. 12, Johnson-Brock, H

Oct. 19, Diller-Odell, H

District games in bold


Pawnee City

Mascot: Indians

Class D-2, District 1

NSAA enrollment: 29

The coach

Scott Brumbaugh

At present school: 3rd year

Career record: 75-44

Season outlook

T.J. Mawhiney's return under center will spark Pawnee City this year, though the Indians must replace their top three receivers from a year ago. Sabian Adams will likely see his role increase at wideout after catching 14 passes a season ago. Fullback Dalton Kramer, running back Mason Lierz and tight end Colby Robinson were hampered by injuries last year, and their returns will provide a boost, especially at linebacker (Lierz and Kramer play at the position). The offensive and defensive lines are anchored by 320-pound Marcus Gray, who brings with him plenty of strength.

Returning starters

Offense: 5

Defense: 5

TJ Mawhiney, QB, 6-1, 165, Jr.

Skylar Clark, OL/DL, 5-11, 240, Sr.

Marcus Gray, OL/DL, 6-2, 320, Sr.

Shamar Willey, TE/LB, 6-0, 165, Jr.

Sabian Adams, TE/DE, 6-1, 220, Sr.

Spotlight player

Dual-threat quarterback T.J. Mawhiney passed for 1,014 yards and 15 touchdowns, and rushed for 442 yards and seven touchdowns as a sophomore last year.

Fast fact

Mawhiney, who threw 150 passes last year, only threw three interceptions.

The trophy case

Playoff appearances: 9

Last appearance: 2017

State titles: 0

The schedule

Aug. 24, H-TR-S, A

Aug. 31, Southern, A

Sept. 7, Tri County, H 

Sept. 21, Diller-Odell, A

Sept. 28, Meridian, H

Oct. 5, Johnson-Brock, H

Oct. 12, Falls City SH, A

Oct. 18, Parkview Christian, H

District games in bold

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