www.johnsonpublications.zenfolio.com Brooke Robertson | Johnson Publications

Members of the 2018 Perkins County football team are (front row, l-r): Carson Thelander, Hayden Foster, Triston Hite, Bryder Hickey, Erik Snyder, Matthew McClung, Shawn Lyon and Jeb Kohl. Back row: Tanner Burge, Alex Patrick, Chase Johnson, Emilio Perez, Brandon Knoles, Ashton Meyer, Austin Meyer and Huntin Taylor. Coached by Jonathan Hunt, Ryan Boldt, Shayne Hite and Kriss Krutsinger.

Plainsmen football starts here Friday vs. Dundy County

First-year Head Coach Jonathan Hunt will lead the Plainsmen onto Haenfler Field Friday night to open the 2018 football season.

The Plainsmen get a home game to open the season, playing host to the Dundy County Tigers. Game time is set for 7 p.m. 

Hunt’s team stands 16 strong, which is down in numbers from previous seasons. Nonetheless, Hunt holds great confidence in the 16 on his squad. 

Hunt said they all want to be a part of the team and have shown a great ability to work together as a team during preseason practice. 

He expects these kids “to do some special things” this season.

While this may be Hunt’s first head coaching assignment, he’s no stranger to the coaching profession. 

From the time he was 4 years old, he tagged along at practice with his dad, who has 25 years of coaching experience. Stops in his career included Wallace, Boone Central and O’Neill, which is where Hunt played for his dad.

As a UNL senior last year, he secured an assistant football coaching job with Crete High School. He helped coach the line and linebackers and gained some valuable experience. 

He student taught in Crete in the second semester and helped coach basketball. He will be an assistant for the girls program this coming season.

Dundy County Friday

Hunt said he’s watched a lot of film over the summer to learn more about his players and evaluate upcoming opponents.

Not unlike the Plainsmen, the DC Tigers lost some key players to graduation. Hunt said it makes preparation for the first game a little difficult. 

The Plainsmen will have some holes to fill as well but Hunt feels his team is on track.

This year’s squad includes three seniors—Tanner Burge, Emilio Perez and Jaxon Livermore. Hunt said he’s looking to his seniors for leadership and to serve as examples to the younger players. 

Perez, at 6-5 and 220, will be a dominant force in the line on both sides of the ball. 

He will be joined by junior Matt McClung and sophomore Brandon Knoles on both offense and defense. 

Hunt said he’s looking to Perez to help mentor some freshman linemen who show some real potential. 

With 16 players, Hunt said everyone’s going to see action at some point along the season. 

Sophomore Bryder Hickey and freshman Hayden Foster will play the end positions in a variety of offensive sets. 

Right now, Hunt says he’s going with freshman Triston Hite at the quarterback position. 

Despite the numbers, Hunt feels they are deep position-wise because numerous players can play multiple positions. 

For instance, Burge could find himself at fullback, tight end, quarterback or halfback.

One of the weapons back from last year’s squad is the speed possessed by junior halfback Alex Patrick. 

Hunt said his speed adds another element that teams have to defend against.

Defensively, Hunt said his probable starters on offense will double up on defense. 

There are always a lot of questions marks for both teams in the first game of the season. Execution can also be an issue. As the season progresses, so will his team, Hunt said. 

He said his squad has really embraced the tradition and reputation of Plainsmen football.

The Plainsmen are not eligible for the D1 eight-man playoffs, based on enrollment numbers. 

Hunt said they addressed that issue as a team early on and it hasn’t been mentioned by them again. 

Hunt said his players know they still have something to prove to themselves, which provides the motivation to put in the hard work necessary to be successful. 

Hunt will joined by assistants Ryan Boldt, defense; Shayne Hite, special teams; and Kriss Krutsinger, linemen.

Players on this year’s roster include:

Seniors—Tanner Burge, Jaxon Livermore, Emilio Perez.

Juniors—Alex Patrick, Matt McClung.

Sophomores—Bryder Hickey, Brandon Knoles.

Freshmen—Jeb Kohl, Triston Hite, Erik Snyder, Shawn Lyon, Hayden Foster, Ashton Meyer, Austin Meyer, Huntin Taylor, Chase Johnson. 

The Grant Tribune-Sentinel

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