LincolnPrepSports.com Announcer/Staff Writer
Football season couldn't get here any faster. Why? Simple. It was a quiet summer on the local sports scene, outside of Legion baseball and following the hype of Bubba Starling before he officially signed his deal for $7-million with the Kansas City Royals.
The start of football is when I get back into following sports on a more in-depth basis. In the month since we last called the Area 5 Legion Baseball championship with Pinnacle Bank and Judds Brothers Construction, it's been a "relaxing" time away from the sports scene.
Where do I begin? Shortened fast pitch softball season since most of my teammates on the Peru Fastpitch team in southeast Nebraska were stuck in their homes near Rock Port, Missouri due to the massive flooding on the Missouri River. Counting the three state tournament games in Hastings last month, we played only 10 games the whole year.
I did start a new workout routine.....riding my bike for at least a half-hour a day for two to three miles. Figured it's time for me to start watching my health a little bit since I'm in to my mid 30s. It's something I plan on doing at least three times a week well into the football season and beyond.
Enjoying taking my little boy to his first day of kindergarten this past week. Hard to believe he's six and in school. I'll be saying the same thing when he's a senior in high school.
While all that stuff is good and all, there's nothing like being at a high school football game on a Friday night. Everyone will have their own tailgates set up this week to kickoff the 2011 season in good fashion. On the field, it should be even better.
Friday night marks the second straight year that Lincoln Southeast and Lincoln Southwest face each other to begin their football campaigns. This should be one for the ages.
Southeast won last year's opener in front of a crowd of nearly 7,000 at Seacrest Field. Southwest has waited a year to get another chance at the Knights, but this time the Silver Hawks may have the upper hand with experience.
Southeast returns ten starters from last year's State Playoff run that ended with a semi-final loss to Class A runner-up Millard South. A couple of different things to this year's Knight squad include new head coach Ryan Gottula and a replacement at quarterback for Derrius Vick, who graduated in May and is now playing college football at Ohio for former Nebraska and LSE head coach Frank Solich.
With David Sutton gone from Southeast and now at Nebraska, the tight end spot will be occupied full time by NU recruit Sam Cotton. Fellow Knight and returning all-state pick Robbie LaFour will anchor the line.
Southwest returns quarterback and Kansas State commit Tay Bender, who had more than 1,700 yards of total offense. Running back Jake Jordan will help Bender in the backfield. Brandon Reilly and Danny Suiter will be the duo leading the defense.
While it will be the second game of the season Friday night, the Southwest/Southeast game could be the biggest one of the season. East and North Star open up the season Thursday night at Seacrest Field.
Speaking of East, they return at least ten starters and lettermen from last year's two-win season. With the experience, the Spartans could make a few surprises along the way. Never count North Star out of the equation, either.
Our first broadcast of the season is Friday night with Fremont in town to play Lincoln Northeast over at Lincoln High's Beechner Athletic Complex. The Rockets are also looking to replace Derek Hoodjer at quarterback. Matt Peppmuller could be the guy Northeast goes to for Friday's showdown with the Tigers. The Rockets have athleticism and quickness. Corey Jones could be tough to stop, if he finds an open crease.
Lincoln High will start their new era under head coach Mark Macke on the road at North Platte, which could be a win for the Links if they can handle the Bulldogs early and finish strong.
During the season, we'll be covering Pius X, Waverly, Norris, Lincoln Lutheran and Lincoln Christian, each one of them very capable of being playoff bound. Waverly, for the second-straight year, may have the toughest schedule in the state. First five opponents were playoff teams a year ago.
Fire up the grill! Put the burgers and brats on! It's time to hop on board and hit the road to Memorial Stadium! Good luck to everyone this season, it should be a fun ride.