The fall sports season began August 9, with the first official practices for fall sports teams.
Elkhorn South (10-2) finished the season runner-up in 2020. Some key contributors, particularly on the offensive line have graduated. For the Storm it’s next man up, so who is the next man up?
Here are notes and observations from Elkhorn South practice on Tuesday.
By now everyone should know the name Maverick Noonan (6-4, 225). Noonan, a junior, is relentless as a pass rusher and can chase down plays from virtually anywhere on the field. In Elkhorn South’s 3-4 defense he plays at defensive tackle or the five technique. Look for Noonan to be used in creative ways as the season progresses. It looks as though he will play both ways this season as the starting right tackle on offense. Another name to watch as a pass rusher is sophomore Henry Prochazka (6-3, 200).
The running game is strong. Cole Ballard (6-0, 185) returns for his junior season as does speedy junior back Ben Warren (5-8, 160). Ballard is a tough runner that has the speed to break big plays, he is also a threat in the Storm passing game. Warren has blazing speed and is a threat to break a long run virtually every touch he gets. Senior receiver Blake Daly (5-10, 165) led the team in receiving last season and can contribute in the run game as well as a kick/punt returner.
Will Skradis (6-2, 180) looks as though he is the starter at quarterback after splitting time with the graduated Dilan Krause last season. The feel is though he has established himself as not just the starting quarterback but the leader of the offense. A good athlete, he can hurt defenses with his legs and in the passing game.
The offensive line clearly lost a lot of talent from last season but it isn’t necessarily a rebuild. Three players saw significant playing time in 2020 return as anchors up front. Senior Center Josh Fee (6-1, 260) and left guard Chase Emsick (6-4, 300) have the majority of the experience. At right guard senior Gabe Witten is a physical player that saw time last season. Left tackle Noah Bustard (6-2, 220) is a junior and will step into a bigger role in 2021.
How many touchdown passes or tackles will senior Koy Wilke (6-4, 210) get this season is unknown. One thing is for sure he is a significant red zone target that could get double-digit touchdown receptions in the Storm offense. Defensively Wilke will play a big role at outside linebacker. Wilke and Daly will be the go-to targets in the passing game. Who joins them at receiver could be a number of options. Speedy junior Corbin Ford (6-0, 175) has garnered Division I interest after a strong summer on the camp circuit. When he’s not kicking, senior Carsen Crouch (5-10, 160) could be an option at receiver along with senior Chase Anderson (6-2, 175).