GRAND ISLAND – One of the most anticipated games of the season comes in week one for two central Nebraska programs.
Grand Island and Kearney kick off the season at the Islanders’ Memorial Stadium on Friday night in a game that both teams hope will serve as a springboard for success.
After making their fifth consecutive playoff appearance, and 14th in 16 years, the Islanders return 11 starters for the 2018-19 season. The Islanders expect to be strong in the trenches with three returners up front in Mateo Martinez, Javier Cruz and Eric Allen. There’s also the added bonus of dual-threat quarterback Cole Evans entering his second year under center after accounting for 22 touchdowns as a junior.
“I think really the grasp of our offense. He totally understands it inside and out. His accuracy as a passer and his presence running our offense has been outstanding,” Grand Island Head Coach Jeff Tomlin commented about his quarterback.
Kearney is coming off one of the most successful seasons in program history, falling just short of an undefeated state title run by losing to Omaha North in the Class A State Final. The Bearcats return just two starters from last year’s team, and have to account for the gap left by standout quarterback Kanon Koster, but that doesn’t have head coach Brandon Cool worried.
“When the calendar turns on January 1st we get ready for the next season. I think that everything occurred in 2017 are great memories….But that won’t help up in 2018. A few kids are going to be more experienced. They are obviously a little bit faster. They’re stronger and that’s what we are going to focus on.”
Kickoff between the Islanders an No. 4 Bearcats is set for 7 PM. News Channel Nebraska will broadcast the game live and stream it online at NCNsportsNow.com with coverage beginning at 6:40 PM.