One of the best Class A rivalries opens the season again as Kearney hosts Grand Island in a rematch of a first round playoff game from last year. The Bearcats, behind head coach Brandon Cool, enter the season ranked ninth by the Omaha World-Herald and the Islanders, under 15-year head coach Jeff Tomlin, are slotted 10th.
Kearney turned the tables last year in the rivalry as had GISH had won four of the past five outings. The Bearcats won at Memorial Stadium in the opener 26-14 and then took a 17-0 win at Foster Field in the playoffs.
The Bearcats will build around quarterback and all-state basketball player Kanon Koster who threw for over 1,400 yards last season and ran for nearly 500.
Grand Island brings back four starters on offense and five on defense led by two-way running back/linebacker Jaryn Francl. They will break in junior Cole Evans — a run-pass threat — at quarterback.
Plan on seeing these teams stick around for awhile in Class A. They have combined to miss the playoffs just three times since 2002 and the Bearcats 2006 state title is the only one outside of Lincoln or Omaha since 1994.