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With football teams hosting their team camps and officially starting practice on Aug. 6, football is officially back.
Each week leading up to the start of the season we’ll take a look at one unit on the offensive and defensive side of the ball to preview Mid-Prairie, Highland and Lone Tree football.
The first offensive installment will take a look at how all three teams bring back a ton of experience at the quarterback position as they look toward a playoff path.
An injury thrust Brad Tornow into the quarterback spotlight for Mid-Prairie last year. That’s accelerated his improvement and will to succeed according to his coaches.
The Golden Hawks will start the year with Tornow at quarterback. Tornow filled in at backup last season after an injury.
“I feel a lot better that he got some game experience last year and kind of got thrown in the fire,” Mid-Prairie coach Pete Cavanagh said. “He’s a year older, wiser and stronger and that helps him obviously.”
Tornow was 26-47 last season, throwing for 348 yards, one touchdown and five interceptions.
Cavanagh said the improvement he’s seen from Tornow is measurable and his time at the Simpson College team camp and preseason camp has shown he’s ready to take over for the Golden Hawks.
“Brad has had a great preseason,” Cavanagh said. “Our wide receiver corps as a unit is going to be pretty solid and that will help as well.”
Grant Boyse, who Cavanagh said will be playing wide receiver, is slotted as the backup to start the season.
Mid-Prairie is coming off a 3-6 season in 2017.
Accounting for nearly 1800 yards and 16 touchdowns last year, Trey Lasek comes back for his senior year ready to take the Huskies to the next level and the Highland offense is undergoing some changes to make Lasek even more successful.
“We’re going to work around him and the offensive playmakers we have. We have Bailey Donovan back as offensive coordinator this year and I think he has some great ideas on that,” Highland coach Scott Morel said.
He said just being another year more mature and another year stronger has benefitted Lasek and that his second year as starter for the Huskies is set to be even better.
“I think it makes a huge difference, just being able to read the defense and see what it is going to give him,” Morel said. “Going into this second year I think he’ll just have a ton more confidence in everything he does."
Lasek was a dual threat in 2017 with 561 yards and eight touchdowns on the ground and 1218 yards and eight touchdowns through the air.
His completion percentage was about 40 percent with Lasek completing 79 of 201 passing attempts last season. With the Huskies returning their top targets on the receiving end, that number should go up during the 2018 season.
With a year of experience and the Huskies dropping to Class A and out of the toughest district in Class A, the Huskies could make some noise this year coming off a 2-7 campaign in 2017.
Harmon Miller had a 16-2 touchdown-to-interception ratio during his sophomore campaign. Now back for his junior year, Miller is hoping to take the next step and lead the Lions back to the playoffs.
“You can tell he has more confidence in his abilities and his timing with his receivers than this time last year,” Lone Tree coach Aaron Bohr said.
Bohr said this year they’ll use that experience to be more aggressive on offense to let the ball get into the hands of their playmakers.
“Harmon has good size, can move around well and has as strong as an arm you will find in 8-man,” Bohr said.
Miller’s passing load was very consistent from game to game last season, with Miller throwing between nine and 14 passes during the regular season. He was 70-132 on the year with 1182 yards of passing. Miller also had five rushing touchdowns on the year.
Avery Knock and Alex Viner have both taken snaps at the backup spot to start the season.
The Lions were 8-3 last season.