NEBRASKA CITY – Clay Carlton wipes the dew from the grass off his shoe, takes a sip of what he calls “some good coffee,” and begins to conduct drills with his offensive and defensive lines on muggy Thursday morning in Nebraska City.
The third-year head coach is making the lineman a focus this season to replace two starters from last fall. If the Knights want to compete for another district title and qualify for the playoffs, like they think they can, it’ll come down to the underclassman who fill those roles.
“We got size. A lot of it is they’re young and inexperienced. Getting them to be physical and learning schemes is going to be important for us. They’re by far the key to us being great this year. If they can step up and be players for us, we’re going to be pretty tough.”
Junior Damon Honeysuckle (6’0″, 190 pounds) is the lone returning starter in the offensive and defensive lines. He finished with 40 tackles and six tackles for loss on a Knights team that finished last season with a 6-4 record, beat Diller-Odell for the district championship by stopping a two-point conversion towards the end of the game, and secured a playoff win.
Skill position players, such as seniors Colter Fulton, Andrew Aldana, Cristian Watkins, Johnny Heng and Thomas Carpenter, will be a strength of the team, according to Carlton.
“That’s been a strong suit for us. We’re excited about them. Hoping we can find a way to get them the ball in space so they can make plays.”
Carlton will feature two new members on the coaching staff. John Borer is the team’s new defensive coordinator, taking over for Matt Novak who accepted a new position at Blair High School. Mike Kearney returns to coach running backs and linebackers after a year away.
Lourdes Central Catholic will open the season on Aug. 24 when they travel to Falls City to play Sacred Heart at 7 p.m. News Channel Nebraska will broadcast the game live on B103 (103.1 FM and b103.fm).
Lourdes Central Catholic at Falls City Sacred Heart
When: 7 p.m. Friday
Where: Jug Brown Stadium, Falls City
Radio: 103.1 FM, b103.fm
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