JOHNSON – The hype around the Johnson-Brock football team is real, but don’t ask the Eagles about it.
Third-year head coach Mitch “Crocodile Dundee” Roberts, that’s what his players call him because of his bucket-style hat he wears during practice and promptly removed before our interview, says they haven’t been buying into the high praises from preseason magazines like the Huskerland Prep Report. In fact, they haven’t even discussed it.
Huskerland Preps Publisher Bob Jensen calls the Eagles one of the most intriguing teams in Class D2 and highlights senior Cole Fossenbarger and junior Ty Hahn as “possibly the best quarterback and receiver in the class.”
Johnson-Brock returns six seniors and great speed and size, according to Roberts. He says last year’s playoff run, that saw the Eagles advance to the Class D1 quarterfinals, provided a lot of confidence heading into the new season.
“Those guys are hungry. They want to get back there. They had the big stage in football, they had the big stage in basketball. So, a lot of that confidence and experience coming together. They’re ready to really go for it this year.”
Injuries halted Johnson-Brock’s run in the state playoffs in 2017. 6’1″, 185-pound senior running back Dylan Rowe, who rushed for 343 yards and 7 touchdowns, was injured in week three and did not play the rest of the season. 6’2″, 250-pound senior Seth Moerer returns to the offensive line after missing the majority of his junior year. Both were healthy and practicing on Thursday.
Roberts believes if they can stay healthy they’re just as good as anybody in the state and they’ll need to stay healthy being in the new Class D2-1 district, which also features eight-time state champion Falls City Sacred Heart and Diller-Odell.
“You have to be challenged at some point during the year to find things that you need to fix, where your team really stands and what you can change. We’ll just put the best team out there every week. We have some tougher games, but I think we’re going to be just fine and we’re going to get ourselves set into a good position.”
Seniors Hunter Oestmann (RB/LB) and Shane Westhart (C/DL), and sophomore Kaden Glynn (QB/WR/LB/DL) are each expected to contribute on both sides of the ball.
Johnson-Brock begins the season on the road at Elmwood-Murdock next Friday at 7 p.m.
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