11 Your Prep Sports Area Football Players to Watch this Season


Photo by Jeff Yoder

Ryan Murken

Your Prep Sports

Football season in finally here. Almost.

The first games of the season are still more than three weeks away but football practices start for teams across the state today.

Before the season gets rolling Your Prep Sports take a preliminary look at what should be another strong season for area teams.

Here are 11 player that are worth watching this fall when the curtain raises on the 2019 season for area teams on August 30.

TJ Bollers

Junior, Clear Creek Amana

Just halfway through his prep career Bollers has become a nightmare for opposing offenses and one of the top recruits across the Midwest.

A 6-foot-3, 240-pound defensive end Bollers is a four-star prospect ranked by ESPN as the 202nd best junior in the country and has collected a bevy of impressive offers from around the country.

Iowa, Iowa State, California, Michigan, Michigan State, Nebraska and Wisconsin are just a few of the schools vying for Bollers’ services.

Last season Bollers ranked fifth on the team with 45.5 tackles from his defensive end spot and led the Clippers with 13 tackles for loss and four sacks.

A versatile four-sport standout, Bollers also caught 18 passes for 169 yards and two touchdowns last season. 

Cam Miller

Senior, Solon

Miller is poised for the best season of his career in his third year leading the Solon offense.

The 6-2, 205-pound signal caller has thrown for nearly 3,500 and 51 touchdowns in two seasons as the Spartans’ starting quarterback while completing better than 59 percent of his passes.

A North Dakota State recruit, Miller has directed Solon to back-to-back one-loss seasons and is 20-2 in his career as a starter.

Miller threw for 1,627 yards and 26 touchdowns last season and rushed for another 183 yards and three scores.

Tanner Lukavsky

Senior, West Branch

After an injury limited Lukavsky during his sophomore season he showed what he could do as the feature back in the West Branch attack ranking in the top 10 in Class 1A in rushing yards, touchdowns and yards per carry.

Lukavsky ran for 1,309 yards and 18 touchdowns last season while averaging a Class 1A-best 10.2 yards per attempt.

The 6-foot-2, 220-pound Lukavsky also caught 27 passes for 358 yards and three scores and ranked second on the team with 48 tackles from his linebacker spot.

Lukavsky had 14 tackles for loss, four sacks and two interceptions last season returning both for touchdowns.

Marcus Morgan

Junior, West High

Morgan flashed impressive potential in his first varsity season directing West High to an 8-1 record in nine games as the Trojans’ starting quarterback.

A four-sport standout, that completed an all-state baseball season this summer Morgan picked up a football offer from Iowa State after throwing for 1,875 yards and 15 touchdowns with just three interceptions last season.

The 6-foot-3, 180-pound Morgan also rushed for a team-high 376 yards and two touchdowns.

Tonka Hickman

Senior, City High

Hickman will look to build off a solid junior season in which he rushed for 832 yards and seven touchdowns in his first year as the Little Hawks’ feature back.

The 5-foot-11, 186-pound Hickman showed a nice blend of speed and power as a junior averaging nearly five yards per carry.

Hickman will also be a key factor for City on defense after ranking fifth on the team with 29 tackles and collecting an interception last season.

Max Tafolla

Junior, Liberty High

Liberty High brings back virtually everyone from its varsity debut season last fall and Tafolla figures to be a centerpiece on the Lightning defense after an impressive sophomore season.

An imposing figure at 6-foot and 210 pounds Tafolla ranked third in Class 3A with 64 solo tackles from his middle linebacker spot last season on his way to a team-high 76 stops.

Tafolla had 13.5 tackles for loss and three sacks among his 76 tackles, leading the team in both categories.

On offense Tafolla rushed for 415 yards and four touchdowns.

Alec Wick

Junior, Regina

Already a two-year starter Wick will be a difference maker on both sides of the ball for the Regals after leading Regina in receiving yards and ranking third on the team in tackles as a sophomore.
The 6-1, 180 Wick established himself as one of the most productive pass catchers in Class 1A last season snagging a team-high 59 passes for 746 yards and two touchdowns.

In his first two seasons Wick has caught 88 passes for 1,093 yards and made 49.5 tackles and picked off four passes returning two for touchdowns.

AJ Coons

Senior, Solon

One of the top pass catchers in the state last season Coons is coming off a season in which he ranked sixth in Class 3A in receiving yards and fourth with 12 touchdown grabs.

Coons caught 48 passes for 815 yards last season and has 71 grabs for 1,367 yards over the past two seasons combined.

A matchup nightmare at 6-foot-4 and 200 pounds, Coons averaged 17 yards per catch last season and has averaged better than 19 yards per grab in his career.

The South Dakota State recruit also made 10 tackles and picked off a pass as a defensive back last year.

Tate Crane

Senior, West High

Crane figures to become a fixture in the West High passing attack after ranking third on the team with 27 receptions last season.

A versatile receiver with a long frame the 6-foot-3, 185-pound Crane caught 27 passes for 326 yards and three touchdowns last season.

The only one of the top five pass catchers returning for the Trojans this season Crane should be in for a big season.

Ashton Cook

Junior, Regina

An injury limited Cook last season in his first year as the Regals’ full-time starter but the junior quarterback is ready for a breakthrough this season.

Cook completed 62 percent of his passes last season while throwing for 1,270 yards and nine touchdowns despite missing four games with an injury.

The 6-foot-4 Cook closed his sophomore season with back-to-back 300-yard passing performances throwing for a combined 719 yards and six touchdowns in games against Jesup and Dike-New Hartford.

Jeff Bowie

Junior, West Branch

Bowie became one of the most sought after recruits in the state this spring following a sophomore season in which he led the Bears with seven sacks.

A 6-foot-5, 240-pound offensive tackle and defense end for West Branch, Bowie has seen his recruitment soar over the past months earning offers from Iowa, Iowa State, Nebraska, Minnesota and Virginia Tech among others.

Bowie made 31.5 tackles from his defensive line spot last season including 11.5 for loss.

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