Area athletes ready to tear up the field

Although we play three different variations of football here in Hamilton County, one big aspect is the same this season across the board for Aurora, Giltner, Hampton and High Plains.
Speed -- and a lot of it.
Aurora’s speed is up and down the entire field, but can be easily traced to Cal Narber at the top of the heap. Narber was unable to see a large portion of snaps at the running back position a year ago because of the surehandedness and prolific running abiltiy from Presten Dibbern.
With that no longer being an issue and Narber being made a more focal point of the offense, he has the ability to rack up a lot of yards this year.
From the action that Narber did see last season, he rushed for 213 yards on 56 touches. He also recorded 77 total tackles and was a big part of Aurora’s secondary.
Earlier in the summer, Narber was clocked by my unofficial time of 4.55. And quite frankly, the guy gets faster with the pads on.
For those who got a glimpse at No. 24 toting the ball on Saturday, you know exactly what I’m talking about. The first play from scrimmage he made a couple guys miss and was off to the races for an 80-yard score.
He tried to do the exact same thing on the ensuing play, but was chased down after garnering over 50 yards.
Narber has an uncanny ability to change direction quicker than most people, making plenty of capable high school athletes look silly. The bad news for opposing teams is if he does make you miss, you’re likely not going to catch him.
Down in Giltner, the Hornets have unfortunately already lost some of its speed and playmaking ability, but still has plenty in the reserve tanks to build lots of anticipation.
Senior Josh Hinrichs won’t be around for the early part of the year after suffering a back injury during the 7-on-7 tournament last month in Aurora.
A real bummer for Hinrichs, who was really looking forward to this season. And why wouldn’t he, after leading the Hornets last year with 700 yards receiving on 50 receptions. The yardage total was nearly double that of the next closest player. He also recorded 10 touchdowns and averaged 14 yards per grab, making him a solid deep threat.
Although Hinrichs is expected to return before the end of the regular season, the Hornets have several athletes to fill the void, including Brodi Hansen at the top of the list.
This dude is just an all-around athlete. He finished second to Hinrichs in nearly all the receiving categories with 356 yards on 40 receptions. His incredibly long stride and impressive wingspan gives him the ability to not only snag almost any ball out of the air, but move very fast without a lot of effort.
New Giltner coach Chip Bartos understands the sheer amount of athletes he has on the team and is already finding plenty of ways to use them from what I’ve observed in some practice scenarios.
High Plains will most certainly be a younger team than they have in previous years, but in talking with the coaches up there, they have been extremely coachable so far.
Undoubtedly the name you’ll read about the most from Storm Nation is sophomore Keaton Van Housen. He exploded onto the scene last year as a freshman with some pretty impressive numbers.
Aside from lining up in the trenches, I’m pretty sure Van Housen played every position imaginable in his first year, including receiver and quarterback. I’m very interested to see how the coaching staff chooses to use him this year. The guy needs to have the ball in his hands as much as possible. He’ll make plays and blow your mind doing it.
I covered High Plains’ first game of the year last season, and the first play I can remember from Van Housen was a jump ball deep down the field as Van Housen outleaped the Heartland receiver and tipped the ball away. It was an incredible display of athleticism.
The six-man game was something for all of us to get used to last year, but by the end of the year the Hampton Hawks were playing some pretty good football. They ended the season by winning two of the last three games and scoring 167 points over that same stretch.
One of the returning players to watch this year from the Hawks is Brady Klute, who was sort of a do-it-all player last year for Hampton.
He completed more than 50 percent of his passes with 851 yards and 13 touchdowns to only four interceptions. He was also instrumental on defense, recording 81 total tackles including 10 for loss.
One of the things I found most impressive was watching his 44-yard field goal sail through the uprights with plenty of room to spare. It would’ve been good past 50 yards.
If we’re being honest with ourselves, the area has some gaps in terms of suiting up the Gavin Rushs of the world. But, you’ll get a show nonetheless with the prolific speedsters Hamilton County has to offer.
RICHARD RHODEN can be reached at

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