Entering his third year as Liberty North's head coach, Greg Jones feels the Eagles are ready to take another step forward.
The Eagles have tallied two 4-6 seasons in Jones first two campaigns since arriving from Kearney, including a step up in the Suburban League and also to Class 6. But Liberty North returns a veteran cast on offense for 2019.
Senior quarterback Jake Van Dyne (6-foot-4, 200) returns after throwing for 1,859 passing yards and 14 touchdowns.
“We thought he got better as the year went along, and had a tremendous summer,” Jones said. “He’s got a lot better since this time last year. He’s improved his knowledge of the offense, reading defenses and growing as a leader of the team and offense.”
Also returning is senior running back Keshawn Turner (6-foot-2, 210). As a junior, he rushed for 1,039 yards and nine scores, a year after racking up 782 yards and nine touchdowns.
“Keshawn has been a workhorse for us and great for us to have back there,” Jones said.
Senior running back Keshawn Turner has racked up over 1,800 yards and 18 TDs in his previous two seasons. (Photo: KCSport.net)
Junior Zac Willingham-Davis (6-0, 200) also comes back after rushing for 184 yards as a sophomore.
Senior Luke Mathews (6-foot-1, 170) brings speed and size to receiver.
Up front, Alex Geisert (6-foot-4, 270) returns at guard, while junior Noel Rodriguez (6-foot-4, 335) brings a massive body up front. Senior Shane Rance (6-foot-7, 275) also is a beast, and has “worked extremely hard in the offseason for a good senior year. We’re excited about him.”
Defensively, Garrett Linn (6-foot-2, 205) returns at defensive end, as well as halfback on offense with 377 receiving yards and two scores.
“He scored a 30 on the ACT and has all the Ivy League schools looking at him,” Jones stated.
Senior Grant Wood (6-0, 215) also saw time a year ago. Rodriguez also may cross over to play both ways.
Andrew Stephenson (6-foot-2, 205) returns at middle linebacker, after notching 62 tackles a year ago.
The secondary will be the Eagles’ strength entering the year, as senior Chase Jones (6-0, 185) tallied 65 tackles at strong safety. “He’s been starting since he was a sophomore, and is a good, good football player,” Jones said.
Fellow senior Austen Hoss (6-foot-1, 170) also will play at free safety, where he racked up 58 tackles, six passes defended and two interceptions in 2018.
Dymond Preaster (6-foot-1, 160) will play at cornerback, after starting every game as a sophomore and notching 24 tackles.
In addition to a tough league schedule, Liberty North enters its second season as a Class 6 school in the playoffs.
“The thing of Class 6 is, it’s a different beast – you’re not playing any slouch teams,” Jones said. “It’s not always a matter of how good you are, but how good others are. But we’re going to be better in some areas than last year, and need to get better in others, and be ready to go.”