BIG NORTHERN WEST
Coach: Mark Helm
Last Year: 3rd Round Playoff Appearance 2A (9-4 OVERALL)
Bad News: Winnebago surprised many teams last year with an upset of Byron and was a team that contended for the conference title. They also made it to the third round of the playoffs. They do lost a good chunk of their receiving core in Jacoby Posley and Dered Polkowski.
Good News: Their rushing game is still intact and should be a force. Fred Mosby returns after rushing for 800 yards last year and also scored 11 TDS. QB Ryan Swigart also returns, and although working with new receivers, brings the experience of a 1000 passing yard season.
The Winnebago/Lutheran rivalry which has recently grown in basketball is also coming to fruition on the gridiron too and their September 27th meeting should be epic.
Coach: Jeff Boyer
Last Year: Big Northern West Co-Champs. 3A 1st Round Playoff Appearance (7-3 OVERALL)
Bad News: Byron was hit hard by graduation. 2400 rushing yards in Zack Pattat and Devin WIlliams have moved on. They also lost their QB Nate Elsbury. Time will tell if its a rebuild or reload situation.
Good News: It's Byron, and the team has a history of making it right. A stacked Big Northern West will test them.
Coach: Mike Lalor
Last Year: 1st Round Playoff Loss in Class 3A (7-4 OVERALL).
Bad News: Stillman graduated their QB and three out of four of the components of a rushing game that accounted for 2300 yards. Thats a pretty substantial hit to the pounding running game that Stillman puts on the field. Competition also rose with the addition of Lutheran into the Big Northern title mix, stacking the Big Northern and making it a competitive 4 team race at the top.
Good News: Leading rusher Zach Hare returns. Although they lost 3 other top rushers, Hare led with over 700 yards and led the team in rushing yards and also led in touchdowns with 15.
Coach: Bruce Baszali
Last Year: Big Northern West Co-Champs 2nd Round Playoff Appearance 2A (9-2 OVERALL)
Bad News: Lutheran will have to move up a class in the playoffs. They also lost the combination of QB Jake Milbourn and WR Tarence Robey who accounted for 800 of Milbourns passing yards and 9 of his 17 touchdown passes. They also lose 3rd receiver Brandon Esparza. The team will also face the multiplier this year and will probably end up in 3A or 4A come playoff time.
Good News: That was about ALL they lost on a team with plenty of outstanding underclassmen. Kendall Lawson steps in after waiting a year behind Milbourn and has big receivers like in Nate Wieting, Luke Anderson, and Austin Sikora, to toss the ball to. and fill the departing seniors shoes. And then big one, most of the time you hear a sophomore is playing varsity there is a question mark. BUT not when that sophomore ran for almost 1900 yards and scored 33 touchdowns as a freshman. James Robinson....you're on again. The Crusaders also return several of their key defenders like Austin Barnhart.