Photo by Jeff Yoder
Your Prep Sports
Football season officially arrived for area teams on Monday with the first day of fall practice.
Season openers for all seven squads in the Your Prep Sports area are still more than two weeks away but its not too early to take a sneak peek at some of the top area talent that will be on display this fall.
Here are 11 players that are worth watching this fall starting with openers on August 24.
Mabry is always worth watching but keeping track of the recent Army commit on the field can be a challenge.
The 6-foot-2, 190-pounder has the ability to line up all over the field on defense and is constantly around the ball, evidence of his 56.5 tackles a year ago that included a team-high 31 solo stops.
Mabry floats between linebacker and safety and had 3.5 tackles for loss, including 1.5 sacks to go with an interception last season.
An exception athlete, Mabry could be in for an increased role on offense this season as well after rushing for 39 yards and three touchdowns on five carries last season.
Finding Flansburg isn’t a problem, at 6-foot-1, 235 pounds he has a tendency to stick out at middle linebacker. It’s blocking the Iowa State commit that proved problematic for opposing teams.
Flansburg ranked second on the team with 42 tackles, including 24 solo stops and five tackles for loss last season in his first varsity season.
He doubles as an imposing lead blocker or ball carrier after his 24 offensive touches resulted in nine touchdowns last season.
In a disappointing 2-7 season for the Little Hawks DePrenger provided a bright spot leading City High in tackles.
The 5-foot-11, 150-pound DePrenger had 50 solo stops on his way to a team-leading 64.5 tackles, nearly double the total of any other City High player from a season ago.
DePrenger expects to have an even bigger impact this season after rushing for 104 yards on 18 carries a year ago.
Already a two-year starter Stein will step into a leadership role on a young Regina team that returns just a handful of full-time starters from last year’s 1A runner-up squad.
An athletic 6-foot-2, 220-pound two-way lineman, Stein made 30.5 tackles and had 3.5 sacks as a junior and should anchor a rebuilt Regina offensive line.
Bollers got his feet wet at the varsity level last season and spent the offseason racking up an already impressive list of scholarship offers from Power Five programs.
Now the 6-foot-4, 225-pound athlete gets a chance to show the combination of athleticism and power that make him one of the most sought after sophomores in the state.
Bollers caught 16 passes for 135 yards and had 15.5 tackles and three sacks as a freshman.
Part of a Solon linebacker unit that ranks among the best in the state Bock led Spartans with 45 solo tackles and 71.5 total stops last season.
A versatile athlete, the 6-foot-1, 215-pound Bock did a little bit of everything for the Spartans as a junior.
In addition to leading the team in tackles Bock was the third leading rusher and receiver after catching 21 passes for 295 yards and three touchdowns and running for 215 yards and two scores.
The South Dakota State commit also had two interceptions, recovered three fumbles, was 9-of-14 on PAT attempts and averaged 39.7 yards per punt.
In his first full season of varsity action Cornwell rewrote the West Branch passing record books setting single season school records for completions, attempts, passing yards and touchdown passes.
The 6-foot-2, 185-pound Cornwell threw for 2,125 yards and 20 touchdowns in 10 games while completing 64 percent of his passes.
A versatile athlete Cornwell proved to be a dual threat, running for an additional 264 yards and eight touchdowns.
Expect Gaudet to become the go-to receiver for the Trojans after snagging 42 passes for 634 yards and four touchdowns in an impressive varsity debut season a year ago.
At 6-foot-2, 215-pounds Gaudet possesses a combination of size and speed that makes him a chore for opposing defenders.
A two-time state wrestling qualifier, Milder had a breakthrough season on the gridiron as a junior last fall.
Milder had 65 solo tackles among his team-high 67.5 stops from his linebacker spot and added 2.5 sacks. The 5-foot-10, 180-pounder also rushed for 156 yards on 26 carries.
McComas will look to build on a strong junior season in which he led City High in tackles for loss and sacks while ranking third on the team with 30.5 tackles.
A sturdy 6-foot-1, 235-pounder, McComas had six tackles for loss and three sacks a year ago and gives the Little Hawks some needed bulk up the middle of their defense.
An injury derailed the first season as the feature back for Lukavsky but the bruising runner still managed to rush for 712 yards and 10 touchdowns despite missing most of the final four games.
Back to full strength the 6-foot-2, 210-pound Lukavsky provides balance and versatility for a West Branch offense that features one of the top passers in Class 1A in senior quarterback Beau Cornwell.
Lukavsky rushed for 100 yards in four of the first six games last season and also caught 17 passes for 162 yards and three touchdowns.