The Columbia Eagles are blessed with speed, skill and 20 returning seniors, but it’s a returning group of five senior offensive linemen that has headcoach Scott Horner excited for 2015.
The Eagles (8-2 in 2014), knocked out of the Class 4A playoffs by Althoff in each of the last two seasons, lost two weapons to graduation in All-Area running back Lou Isringhaus and All-Area quarterback Jacob Hill.
The all-senior line, most of whom are two-year starters, includes left tackle Auggie Hengel, left guard Jake Stone; center Dakota Meyers; right guard Connor Little and right tackle Corey Hornbostel.
Horner has several options at quarterback. Senior Drew Huebner is the strongest passer and figures to get the first shot, while junior Greg Long and sophomore Jordan Holmes are both smaller playmakers.
Senior Kenny Fields takes over for Isringhaus at running back. Fields averaged more than nine yards per carry last season.
The top receivers are senior Lamont Read and senior three-year starter Chris Wagner. Sophomore Mitch Daniels and senior Jonathan Holmes are also in the mix along with Jordan Holmes and Cameron Touchette.
Junior Cole Napier takes over at tight end.
Junior linebacker Owen Suedkamp, who had 94 tackles and a sack as a sophomore, will return. Sophomore Colton Byrd will man an outside linebacker slot.
Little has dropped 20 pounds, adding quickness and strength. The defensive line also includes Hornbostel, senior Jacob Topliffe and junior Andrew Jackson.
Jonathan Holmes returns at safety, with Wagner moving from cornerbck to outside linebacker. Long and Read will play cornerback along with Jordan Holmes.
— Norm Sanders
at Red Bud