In predicted order of finish
1996 record: 11-1, NEB-11 champions, lost in state semifinals
Coach: Don Beazizo
Years coaching, record: 5th, 24-16
Starters, lettermen returning: 2, 7
Base offense, defense: Run and shoot; 4-4
Top returners: Chris Wilson, sr., 6-3, 235, OT (All-State); Dallas Koepke, sr., 6-2, 295, OG; Chad Dinkins, jr., 5-11, 175, QB; Danny Hanks, jr., 6-0, 180, slot back.
Newcomers: Dorian Russell, soph., 5-7, 160, WR; Aaron Baldwin, jr., 5-8, 180, FB; Steve Davenport, jr., 6-2, 175, C. Quick kicks: The Northest B-11 split to follow the Bi-County and Panorama basketball alignment and the Tigers open with Bi-County favorite Reardan.
Coach’s comment: “Even though we lost a lot of players from last year we will be in the hunt for a title in our new league.”
Outlook: The Tigers are the class of the new league and even though inexperienced, they have the good feeling left over from a run to the final four that will carry over.
1996 record: 2-7, 7th
Coach: Kevin Jacka
Years coaching, record: 2nd, 2-7
Starters, lettermen returning: 18, 15
Base offense, defense: Double wing; 4-4
Top returners: Jason Stricker, sr., 5-11, 190, RB/S; Henry Stevens, sr., 5-10, 185, RB/LB; Jeff Ayers, jr., 5-11, 250, G/LB; Cameron Ralph, jr., 5-11, 170, QB/LB; Tim Nortz, jr., 5-5, 175, FB/LB; Paul Staley, jr., 6-1, 290, C/DT; Chris Carlson, sr., 6-0, 190, LB/G; Jeff Hodge, jr., 6-3, 195, DE/TE.
Newcomers: Rashaad Crawford, jr., 6-3, 301, OT/DT; Nick Hall, sr., 6-0, 180, DE/OT; Saleem William, jr., 5-9, 170, RB/ CB.
Quick kicks: The Chargers only had 17 players last year, but Jacka starts his second year with 32 players out.
Coach’s comment: “We actually look like a football team. There were times last year we had more coaches on the sidelines than kids.”
Outlook: Still lacking in experience, the Chargers have good size with seven players at 220 or better and a number at 180 and up. They expect to contend for the 1-1/2 playoff berths available to the league.
1996 record: 4-2, 7-4, third in NEB-8, lost in state semifinals
Coach: Fred Vogel
Years coaching, record: 31st, 195-124
Starters, lettermen returning: 3, 11
Base defense: 4-3
Top returners: Tell Hamilton, jr., 5-9, 145, QB (all league DB); Paul Gifford, jr., 6-0, 175, RB; Corky Kramer, sr., 5-9, 180, C; Josh Tinker, soph., 5-10, 185, G; Jake Sattleen, soph., 5-9, 170, DB.
Quick kicks: Daniel Hills, a two-way end and all-league kicker, and Joe Waldman, an end, quarterback and linebacker, transferred.
Coach’s comment: “We have excellent skill players, if we can block, we will be able to run and pass.”
Outlook: Despite moving up from 8-man, Cusick has high hopes. The Panthers’ weakness is depth, especially on the offensive line. With only two seniors, the Panthers may be a year away from the playoffs.
1996 record: 0-7, 1-8, last in NEB-11
Coach: Don Almquist
Years coaching, record: 1st, 0-0
Starters, lettermen returning: 6, 11
Base offense, defense: I; 5-3
Top returners: Jason Borseth, LB/RB; Tim Farris, S/RB; Mike Krabbenheft, OL/ DL; Ryan Krabbenheft, OL/DL; Josh MacArthur, WR/DB; Cody Carlson, QB/ DE; Sheridan Pyeatt, RB/LB; Ronnie McKertic, DB/WR; Steve Halstead, OL/ DL; Jason McCoy, LB/DL; Shawn Davis, TE/LB.
Newcomers: Jeff White, 5-9, 160, LB/ WR; Jim Huffins, 5-11, 175, TE/DE; Chad Haney, 5-11, 200, E/DE; Corey Damron, 5-5, 130, RB/S.
Quick kicks: First-year coach Don Almquist had 37 players turn out, the most in 15 years for the Rangers.
Coach’s comment: “Great kids, a lot of enthusiasm and hustle. We will be competitive with all.”
Outlook: The Rangers have 16 seniors, but 10 are playing football for the first time. That may not get the team to the playoffs, but the coaches are pleased kids are starting to turn out and that bodes well for the future.
1996 record: 1-6, 2-7, ninth in NEB-11
Coach: Don Nelson
Years coaching, record: 4th, 7-22
Starters, lettermen returning: 3, 6
Base offense, defense: Wing T, 5-3
Top returners: Caleb Edwards, jr., 5-10, 154, SE/DB; Michael Karl, sr., 5-9, 202, LB; Shane Phillips, sr., 5-11, 190, T. Newcomers: none listed. Quick kicks: The Cougars have almost as many freshmen (4) on their roster as seniors (5).
Coach’s comment: “(We’re) very young, 15 sophomores. New league should be fun.”
Outlook: The Cougars are too young to contend, but as they get experience they could be dangerous late in the season and in future years.