GIBBON — The Gibbon Buffaloes are looking to erase the memories of last year’s winless football season.
The rebound will be under the direction of co-coaches Steve Yockey and Jeff Montgomery after Mark McLaughlin departed to become the head coach at Platteview.
Yockey and Montgomery are not strangers to the program. Yockey played for the Buffs and Montgomery is a past head coach of the Buffaloes who has been McLaughlin’s offensive coordinator the past few years..
They have a foundation to start the rebuild, including junior Sean Hampton, one of the top running backs in the region last year. He rushed for 1,197 yards and 23 touchdowns.
Quarterback Matthew Weismann, a 5-10, 150-pound junior, also returns. He passed for 1090 yards last year.
Making it go up front is offensive and defensive line standout Chi Onate, a 6-5, 260-pound senior.
Other returning starters are junior lineman Eric Rodriguez, junior lineman Edgar Guevarra, junior wideout/linebacker Danny Escandon, senior wide receiver/defensive back Brien Yeppez, senior lineman Jaime Cuellar, junior defensive back Abel Avila and sophomore linebacker Carlos Tamayo.
Nine other lettermen give the Buffaloes a wealth of experience from a team that suffered six losses by two touchdowns or less.
“We will be young but return a lot of experience,” Montgomery said. “Success early will go a long way for this team.”
Minden opens the season with Minden.
Returning lock, stock and barrel from last year’s team has the Gibbon Buffaloes looking to improve on last year’s 6-23 record.
Gibbon didn’t have a senior on the roster last year. Returning are leading hitter Baylee Rockefeller, a senior, and setters Kaylee Palmieri and Jalyssa Gillming. Palmieri is a senior and Gillming a junior.
Gibbon opens the season Aug. 29 at home against Sumner-Eddyville-Miller
After struggling to get a team on the course last year, Gibbon coach Carolyn Reinertson believes the Buffs will get ahead in the numbers game this year.
“Last year, only three girls were out and all three were new to the sport,” Reinertson said. “Just two of them return … but there has been some additional interest shown so we expect a larger squad.”
The two returnees are junior Daniela Corona and sophomore Andrea Ramirez-Aguilar.
“The two returning players have been very coachable and have shown improvement in their fundamentals. But golf is a difficult game so they just need to stay patient and keep at it,” Reinertson said.
But the rest of the team will be inexperienced.
The Buffs open the season Aug. 29 at the Kearney Catholic Invitational.
Coach Leon Stall, in his 17th year at Gibbon, has the basis for another successful season.
Both Buffalo teams finished sixth in Class D at the state cross country meet last year and return the key elements to that success.
For the boys, senior Nathan Holcomb and junior Kaleb Pickel return. Both finished in the top 10 at last year’s state meet.
Other returning letter winners who ran on the state-meet team are junior Andres Aguilar and sophomores Jose Escandon and Kadin Hines.
The Gibbon girls bring back all four of the girls who scored at last year’s state meet — senior Jade Bentley, juniors Alissa Bailey and Marlene Avina and sophomore Lindsay Wilkens. Also back is letter winner Taylor Schuebauer.
The Gibbon runners have the Fort Kearny Twilight Run Aug. 30 before they host the Ron Priebe Gibbon Invitational on Sept. 5.