The first official practice day of practice for the 2022 fall sports season was Monday. Here is the practice report for Gretna with notes and observations from the Dragons first official practice.
Well, if you’ve followed Gretna football for the last three years and even prior to that you know the 2022 Dragons feel pretty good about the quarterback position. Oklahoma State commit Zane Flores returns for his senior season after leading the Dragons to the 2021 Class A state title. Flores passed for 2,885 yards, 26 touchdowns and seven interceptions last season. Without a doubt he will look to improve on his 70% completion percentage from 2021. If that happens the Dragon offense will be pretty hard to stop. There is nice depth behind Flores. No he’s not Flores but junior Alex Wilcoxson is tough, competitive, a good athlete and seems to have a strong understanding of the offense.
The defensive front is the strongest unit on that side of the ball. Senior Korver Demma led the team with seven sacks in 2021. Demma’s relentless motor should put him in line for double digit sacks in 2022. Opposite Demma in the Dragons 3-4 defense will be senior Harrison Weber. Weber will play a much bigger role in 2022 than he did in 2021, but he certainly looks up to the challenge. Mason Goldman returns and likely will play along the defensive front as well as start at left tackle on offense. Another name that should provide some depth on the defensive line is senior Micah Holsten. Holston has dealt with injuries that last two seasons, and if healthy he could see some significant playing time at the nose guard position.
Whenever two of your top three outside receiving targets from a 12-1 season return you have to feel pretty good. Joe Roll returns and will be Flores’ favorite target. The senior receiver was second on the team in receptions (53) and led the team in receiving yards (877) and touchdowns (8). Senior wide receiver/tight end Caleb Schnell will be a key cog in the offense in 2022. Schnell had 33 catches for 529 yards, good for second on the team in 2021. Senior Tyson Bogonowski should fill a void left by Thomas Sillman and Brayden Chaney’s graduation.
Running back is certainly an unknown, not because there is a lack of talent but replacing Mick Huber and his versatility will be a task. Huber rushed for 1,034 yards and 11 touchdowns. He was exceptional in the high powered Dragon screen game with 34 catches and 354 yards receiving. Junior Isaiah Weber looks to be next up at running back and he is talented. Almost a clone of Huber, Weber will likely be the top back for the Dragons in 2022. Senior Riley Egenberger will get his chances at running back as well.
Linebacker is a bit of an unknown. The loss of Huber and his 101 tackles is clearly a big void. Weber will likely step into a bigger role on defense than he had last season where he had 35 total tackles. Ethan Stuhr was third on the team in 2021 with 67 total tackles. Egenberger, senior Justin Meyers, and junior Alex Rungee are a few names to watch at linebacker in 2022. In Rungee’s case a hybrid safety/linebacker.
Defensive back isn’t a mystery but it is an unknown. Losing Chaney and his return ability in the kicking game certainly hurts. Losing him as a corner and replacing him won’t be that easy. Blayke Moore does return for his senior season and finished second on the team in total tackles last season. Junior Joey Vieth and Wilcoxson saw playing time in the back end of the defense last year and will be two that will need to step into bigger roles. Vieth remaining healthy in 2022 will be a big key for the Dragons. In nine games last season, he had one interception and 14 total tackles.
Coaches Corner: Gretna Football Coach Mike Kayl.