Elkhorn South has firmly established themselves as one of the perennial teams to beat in Class A. Here are notes and observations from Ashland-Greenwood practice on Monday August 15, 2022.
Maverick Noonan, clearly the senior, is a known for the Storm. It’s also a pretty sure thing that the defensive line is a known for the 2022 Storm. Noonan is the headliner but senior Noah Bustard and his 300-pound hang clean and 35 ACT score returns. Junior Henry Prochazka is a year older, stronger and the experience he gained last season will certainly help with the pass rush. The name to keep an eye on is junior Ashton Murphy (6-5, 235). He along with Noonan will play on both sides of the ball but that defensive front is clearly the one of if not the best units on the team.
Cole Ballard is back for his senior season at running back. The Elkhorn South running game has been dominant in the last decade. That is no difference with Ballard toting the rock. Look for his senior season to be even better than his junior season where he rushed for 1,208 yards and 23 touchdowns.
At linebacker the Storm return senior Shawn Clark in the middle along with senior Ralph Keen. That duo at or near the top in Class A. Prochazka, technically an outside linebacker is clearly going to have an impact. Junior Landon Wemhoff could have a big year at an outside linebacker position along with senior nickel Mason Cain.
Will Skradis was a two year starter at quarterback. He graduated. The unknown is the lack of varsity experience at the position. Junior Carson Rauner is the front runner to be the starter with sophomore Madden Riggs making a push for playing time. Rauner is a good thrower outside of the pocket, just how much they use him in the run game like they traditionally have with quarterbacks is to be determined. Riggs throws a nice ball but the lack of varsity playing time is a concern. He’s young but has the tools to be a good quarterback when and if called upon.
There is depth and athleticism in the defensive backfield. The unit is unknown due to a bit of a lack of experience. Ballard is the leader of the backend of the defense from his safety position. It’s almost like having a coach on the field. A breakout player to keep an eye on is senior Jackson Moeller Swan. He is long and physical and should really solidify the left corner position. Senior Josh McWilliams contributed last season on both sides of the ball and will step into a bigger role in 2022. Moeller Swan and McWilliams along with Ballard will also have big roles in the passing game on offense.
The offensive line lost three starters to graduation. The unknown is just how much players like Noonan, Bustard and Davis can play both ways. Clearly the offensive line has been a strong point for the Storm in recent years.