On Friday, I was in Norfolk, Nebraska, to check out defending Class C1 state champion Norfolk Catholic as the Knights took on St. Paul in the third game of the season. The Knights returned all-state performers OL/DL Joe Teten, RB Dylan Kautz and Husker commit OL/DL Ethan Piper.
After a slow start, Norfolk Catholic turned it on in the second half on their way to a 49-20 victory over the wildcats. Here are my five thoughts from the game.
Piper carries his weight well
The last time I got a weight for Piper, he was listed as 270 pounds. After some checking around on Friday, he is now about 300 pounds. However, he is not carrying a lot of bad weight which is a great sign. Once Zach Duval gets ahold of him in the program, he’s going to have major physical potential.
Kautz is a stud
Senior running back Dylan Kautz is a star for Norfolk Catholic. He has added muscle to his frame from last season which is allowing him to run tougher in between the tackles. That’s a scary thought for Class C1 defenses since Kautz is very quick, too. He ended the game with 160 yards and 5 touchdowns.
Keep an eye on Eli Larson
The St. Paul sophomore running back is going to be an interesting player to watch in the coming years. Larson had a terrific 97-yard kickoff return for a touchdown early in the game. He had two total touchdowns in the game. He’s got great size (6-0, 209) for his age and will continue to get better.
Piper is a versatile big man
One thing that stood out to me about watching Piper play is that he doesn’t come off the field much at all. That’s impressive for any position, let alone someone who plays in the trenches all game. He played well on both sides of the ball, displaying a knack for getting to the second level as an offensive lineman where he played both guard and tackle.
Is defense the move for Piper?
Even though I was impressed with Piper on offense, I still think his best long-term spot is on the defensive line. A year or two with Zach Duval could have him hovering around 6-4, 320 pounds, which would make him a pretty intriguing lineman that could shift to any position along Mike Dawson’s front. Piper has a quick first step off the line on defense which could serve him well in the future.
Greg is the Recruiting Analyst for Hail Varsity and has covered Husker athletics since 2013. He has always had a passion for sports while growing up in the Chicago area. As he got older and had to hang up his cleats and sneakers, he realized his passion for sports went beyond just watching and attending games. He has covered many events from the Rose Bowl to championship boxing matches. If he’s not talking sports, he’s hovering over his grill. He is married to an amazing woman, Kim, and they have a dog that barks when Greg yells at the TV during games.