Kearney, Neb. – The Nebraska-Kearney football team started fall workouts on Monday. UNK’s first full-contact practice comes on Friday, August 16, with scrimmages set for Aug. 17, (Saturday), Aug. 24 (Saturday) and Aug. 29 (Thursday). All practices and scrimmages are open to the public. “We had good effort today,” said third-year head coach Josh Lynn. “Because we’re an older team we were able to get in a lot of reps done in a short amount of time … it’s a good review for everyone.” UNK dropped four games by a total of 21 points, including a double overtime setback to MIAA Champion Fort Hays State, 29-26. To record its first-ever winning season as an MIAA member and to send out a 24-member graduate/senior class out in style, UNK hopes to take advantage of six home games. Those battles include tilts with traditional league powers Pittsburg State (Sept. 28), Northwest Missouri State (Oct. 19) and Central Missouri (Nov. 2).
Two-time All-MIAA end Hinwa Allieu.The Loper defense was among the stingiest in the conference in 2018, ranking among the statistical leaders in most categories. UNK held four foes under 17 points, pitched its first shutout as an MIAA member and had five players named all-conference. UNK’s option-based offense managed 28.0 points and 269.0 rushing yards per game in 2018. Nearly everyone returns including the top five backs and starting quarterback Alex McGinnis (Crete). “This is the first time since I’ve been here we’ve had a returning starting quarterback. Being in his second year as a starter, Alex has a lot more confidence. He’s a leader out there and the guys respond to him,” said Lynn. McGinnis talks about wanting to leave his mark.
Senior Darrius Webb (Allentown, Pa.) earned All-Central Region honors last fall after running for 998 yards and 10 scores with four other backs combining for 1,225 more yards and 11 TD’s. McGinnis, in his first year as the starter, completed exactly 50 percent of his passes for six TD’s and 124 yards per game. He also had the second most carries (157) to the tune of 471 yards and six TD’s. “We have a great group of backs and we’re doing some different things in our offense to make sure everyone gets touches,” said Lynn. “It’s a nice luxury to have all these guys here at the same time and it develops competition within the group. You have to come to work every day or you’re probably not going to touch the ball.” B 32165 All-Region back Darrius Webb locking for this powerful ground game is a veteran group including 2017 All-MIAA left guard Josh Stoltenberg (Creighton Prep), senior right guard Kolin Kenton (Lexington) and junior right tackle Corey Hoelck (Giltner), a team co-captain.
The wide receivers will be led by senior Sedarius Young (Orlando) and sophomore Montrez Jackson (Trenton, Fla.). Young redshirted last fall with Jackson earning All-American honors in the high jump as a member of the track team. At tight end/cruiser, two-year starter Alex Harms graduated with junior Kyler Van Housen (Polk) and fourth-year sophomore Zack Blaschko (Kearney) the veterans.
Finally, on special teams, senior Kendall Raschein (Red Bluff, Calif.) is back at punter and kickoffs after earning 2018 All-MIAA honors. He could vie for starting place kicking duties with former junior college teammate Junior Gonzalez (Corning, Calif.) a newcomer to watch. Also, junior Blaine Kennedy (Albion) is back at the important long snapper position. UNK opens the year on September 5 at Missouri Southern State with Central Oklahoma coming to town the following Thursday night.