Teams Make Final Preparations for the Northeast Nebraska All-Star Football Classic

NORFOLK – Friday was walkthrough day for both the Red and the White teams, which served as their first chance to get on the field turf at Memorial Field. Players say getting back into football shape was an adjustment.

“It took a few days,” said Red Team quarterback Walker Raabe of Pierce. “I took a few weeks off ever since high school ended, just getting my feet back underneath me and relaxing.”

Not all players have as big of an adjustment. O’Neill’s Jason Hahlbeck was in last week’s Shrine Bowl and his offensive coordinator on the White Team was his head coach in high school, Brock Eichelberger.

“It’s been a little bit different, but the basics are what I grew up on,” said Hahlbeck.

Players say beyond getting out and hitting each other, it’s been exciting to get to know players that had been rivals for so long.

“You look at them and all you can think about is that play where they were holding you,” said Cedar Catholic’s Stephen Hillis, who will be playing for the Red Team. “You think to yourself, ‘I hate that kid!’ But then you realize it’s over so you think it’s alright.”

Still, there is the contact…and players say that first big hit this week was a wake-up call.

“We were running a pass play and no one was open so I tried to scramble,” said Raabe. “One of the linemen from Creighton clocked me in the back of the head and knocked me to the ground. I asked him the next day if he remembered that hit and he said ‘Yeah! That hurt!'”

The game will be played on Saturday at Veterans Memorial Field in Norfolk on Saturday with kickoff set for 1 p.m.

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