Friday night lights are back as the 2019 prep football season is underway. After last year, when the area saw several seniors lead the way, there looks to be a changing of the guard as the local teams will have some new faces leading the way this season.
Below is a look at four area prep football players who are capable of having big seasons and leading their teams to deep postseason runs.
Zander Flucas (Mayer Lutheran)
There might not be a more feared runner in the area. After carrying the load in the backfield last season, Flucas is poised for another big season for the Crusaders, as they will rely on him once again.
Despite being limited to start the season, Mayer Lutheran’s Flucas had a monster season for the Crusaders last year. In just eight games, Flucas ran for almost 700 yards, while racking up nine touchdowns.
Flucas had his biggest game come against the Bethlehem Academy Cardinals, in which he rushed 25 times for 194 yards and four touchdowns.
With his speed, power, and vision, Flucas is a must-watch player this season. Look for the Crusaders to rely on Flucas heavily this season at running back, and for good reason, as they need to replace 12 offensive starters this season.
Noah Bush (HLWW)
When the ball is the hands of Noah Bush, watch out. With his speed and athleticism, Bush is certainly one of the more exciting players to watch on the field.
Bush has grown into a bigger role each of the past two seasons for the Lakers. With him back again this year, HLWW could be leaning on him to carry the load in the backfield and as a receiver.
Last season, Bush was second on the team in rushing yards with 160 on 30 attempts. He also averaged a team-best 5.3 yards per attempt. Through the air, Bush led the Lakers with 416 yards receiving on 25 catches while finishing with four touchdowns.
Look for Bush to carry the load in the passing game, while also lining up in the backfield to give him even more chances to make a play for HLWW.
Austin Crown (Mayer Lutheran)
Another key player the Crusader have returning this year is Austin Crown. Last season, Crown was the No. 2 option in the passing game. With Mitchell Thiesfeld gone now due to graduation, Crown could slide into the No. 1 role despite playing mostly inside at tight end
Last season, Crown finished with 26 catches for 593 yards and nine touchdowns. He had four games with two touchdowns, including hauling in two scores against United South Central. In that game, Crown finished with three catches for 128 yards and two touchdowns.
Whether it’s sealing blocks for running backs or catching touchdowns, Crown will be an important player for the Crusaders this season. The senior tight end was a big threat in the red zone, and brought his best in big games. With a big number of key players gone from last year, Crown will be leaned on even more this season.
Zach Jackson (LP/HT)
For the first time in four years, the Lester Prairie/Holy Trinity football team will have a new quarterback under center. With Michael Ziermann gone, the starting quarterback position is open for the taking.
Zach Jackson has filled in for Ziermann in spots over the past three seasons, but it could be Jackson’s job for good now.
The junior also emerged as a legitimate receiver last season for the Bulldogs. Jackson hauled in some big catches in key spots for LP/HT, helping them the reach the Class A state tournament a season ago.
Whether Jackson lines up under center or out wide, he’ll be an interesting player to keep an eye on this season.
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