1. Fremont Bergan (12-1)
The Knights should be able to sustain the graduation of a Shrine Bowl receiver and two quality linemen, coach Seth Mruz said. They have returning all-staters Koa McIntyre, Jarett Boggs and Gavin Logemann.
2. Oakland-Craig (10-2)
Experienced lines will have these Knights in the mix, too. Grady Gatewood returns at QB. Tavis Uhing becomes the full-time running back.
3. Ord (12-0)
Graduation hit the 2020 state champs hard, but coach Nate Wells thinks the newcomers “have been waiting and are ready to help our team.” Trey Warner and John Deriso are returning two-way starters.
4. David City
The Monarchs reloaded last year and got to the state quarterfinal. Only five positions must be filled. Line development is needed. Strength will be their run quickness, longtime coach Ron Mimick said.
Fifteen returning starters have the Knights set up for more success. Sophomore Carter Janssen could step in at QB while Kade Pieper and Isaac Wilcox are two-way pillars on the lines.
6. Yutan (10-2)
By rotating players last year, the Chieftains have built depth and “a lot of nonstarters got very good game reps,” coach Dan Krajicek said. Jesse Keiser follows graduated all-stater Caden Egr at running back. Paul Kirchman and Isaiah Daniell are QB hopefuls.
7. Hartington Cedar Catholic (8-3)
The Trojans have 12 returning starters, including all-stater Easton Becker at running back and nose tackle and Tate Thoene at quarterback. Jay Steffen, a 5-foot-10, 255-pound junior, is developing into a good lineman, coach Chad Cattau said.
8. Sutton (7-3)
Much of the defense returns, notably 6-1, 235-pound linebacker Matthew Davis. Paxton Olson returns as the leading rusher. Myles Jones gained experience at quarterback because of injuries.
9. Wilber-Clatonia (7-2)
A strong senior class is a plus. Coy Rosentreader is a third-year starter at QB as a junior. Adam Kotas is a force on both lines.
10. North Platte St. Patrick’s (7-2)
Behind an experienced line, sophomore Jackson Roberts has a good shot of again being a 1,000-yard rusher. Jack Heiss is back at quarterback.