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Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve had the opportunity to watch the different football teams around Antelope County as they prepare for the 2016 season. The first thing that stood out to me when I thought back on what I’ve seen was how different each team is. While Neligh-Oakdale, Elgin Public/Pope John, Clearwater-Orchard and Elkhorn Valley are all successful eight-man football teams, they all go about practicing very differently.
That’s why I’ve decided to introduce the first edition of Antelope County superlatives. These are based off of my first thoughts of each team from watching either a practice or simply getting to know the teams. Now, without further ado:
MOST LIKELY TO MAKE YOU NERVOUS WHEN THEY WALK OFF THE BUS: Elkhorn Valley Falcons. When you watch this team, the first thing you’ll notice is that they have some stout fellas on the field. The team has a fantastic weight program and it is clear that coach Brendan Dittmar has made sure his guys have taken advantage of it. For example, Dylan Wilkins, Koby Smith and Ezequiel Pena make up a line that passes the eye test as well as anyone in the county.
MOST LIKELY TO CHUG ENERGY DRINKS BEFORE PRACTICE: Clearwater-Orchard Cyclones. Boy, does this team get you excited for football. They just seem to have so much fun out there. Part of that starts at the top, with head coach Jeff Shabram and assistant coach Dan Roeber. Those two are constantly talking with the players, keeping them motivated, in good spirits and keeping them on their toes. The players just never seem to get tired, either. They are constantly on the go, and they make plenty of noise while doing so.
MOST LIKELY TO MAKE YOU FEEL LIKE YOUR GRABBING AT SMOKE: Neligh-Oakdale Warriors. These guys are quick. There aren’t many guys that will tower over you, height wise, but what they lack in height overall they make up for with speed. No player exemplifies that more than Grant White. His talent has been talked about over and over this offseason, but it’s truly something watching a kid like him get to work. Listed at 5’9”, he’s not going to make opposing linebackers nervous before the snap, but once the play gets going, many of them will struggle not to trip over themselves trying to keep up with him.
MOST LIKELY TO REMIND THEIR COACH THAT HE GRADUATED COLLEGE BEFORE THEY WERE EVEN BORN: Elgin Public/Pope John Wolfpack. Now that’s not a shot a coach Randy Eisenhauer, who doesn’t qualify as old by any means. It’s more a fact that these guys are young. Very young. After losing 10 seniors from 2015, a young team was expected. Coach Eisenhauer will especially look to a strong sophomore class to help fill the losses on the depth chart, including likely starting quarterback Hunter Reestman.
Now, on to this week’s game of the week. As there are no volleyball games this week, we will only be doing a football game for this week.
I, along with much of the Antelope County News crew and News Channel Nebraska, will be on the sidelines as Creighton travels to Neligh-Oakdale Thursday evening to start the 2016 season. It should be a great match up, with both teams potential all-state players all over the field.
Help us decide next week’s games of the week. Facebook us, e-mail me, or simply post in the comment section what game you think we should be at next week and why. We have both football and volleyball next week, so we will be picking one of both.