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Five Inductees to be Honored - UNK Hall of Fame

Kearney, Neb. - Five former student-athletes will be inducted into the University of Nebraska at Kearney (UNK) Athletic Hall of Fame during ceremonies on homecoming weekend this Sept. 15-16.

The 2017 Hall of Fame members are wrestler Dr. Bryce Abbey, Class of 2004; basketball player Mike Hancock, Class of 1998; volleyball player Erin (Gudmundson) Haussermann, Class of 2006; basketball player Allison (Kruger) Monson, Class of 2004; and football player/track athlete Travis Vallin, Class of 1991.

The group will be honored at the Athletic Hall of Fame Banquet on Friday, Sept. 15, in the Ponderosa Room of the Nebraskan Student Union, beginning at 5:30 p.m. Tickets are $40 per person, and reservations for the evening can be made on the UNK Alumni Association website (www.unkalumni.org/homecoming) starting Aug. 1, or by contacting the Alumni office at (308) 698-5271.

On Saturday, Sept. 16, the class will also be recognized at half time of the homecoming game vs Northwest Missouri State University. That contest kicks off at 2 p.m.

Dr. Bryce Abbey is one of six UNK wrestlers to be a four-time All-American. Competing at 125 pounds throughout his career, he placed fourth, third, third and fifth at the NCAA Championships.

Winning two RMAC (Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference) and West Region titles, he also became UNK's all-time leader in career wins. His total of 134 broke the record of 121 that had stood for over a decade. Currently, only two-time Olympian, Tervel Dlagnev, has more wins (167) than Abbey.

The 2002 RMAC Freshman of the Year, Abbey was part of four teams that placed in the Top 10 at the NCAA Championships. That included in 2003 when UNK notched its first-ever national runner up finish, scoring 73.5 points in West Virginia.

Abbey also helped the Lopers win four straight RMAC/West Region titles and the 2003 National Duals in Ohio. To win national duals, UNK beat rival Nebraska-Omaha, 24-14, in the finals.

Off the mats, he was a four-time Wrestling Coaches Association All-Scholar team member, making the first-team three times. In 2005, Abbey became the first Loper wrestler to be awarded an NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship.

Abbey currently is an assistant professor and employee and wellness director in UNK's Kinesiology and Sports Sciences Department. He holds two degrees from UNK (B.S. in Exercise Science and Master's in Education) and a Ph.D. in Human Sciences from UNL.

He and wife, Erin, live in Kearney with their son, Kade, and daughter, Sloane.

Erin (Gudmundson) Haussermann was a dominant middle blocker for Loper volleyball teams that reached three consecutive Elite Eights from 2003-2005. Those squads went 109-10, ran off 40 straight wins in 2004 and 66 consecutive home victories.

In 2005, UNK hosted the Elite Eight in front of record-breaking crowds and finished as National Runner Up. Haussermann was tabbed the AVCA (American Volleyball Coaches Association) Division II Player of the Year that fall, capping a career in which she smashed home a school-record 2,189 kills. The total bested the previous record by almost 500.

UNK's only three-time volleyball All-American, Haussermann still holds school records for career kills per set (4.35) and block assists (415). Hitting .370, she had a career-high 27 kills in a 2005 national quarterfinals win over Truman State.

A rare four-time, first-team All-RMAC selection, she was the 2002 RMAC Freshman of the Year and the Player of the Year in 2004 and 2005. Haussermann also made the All-RMAC Tournament team three times, earning MVP honors in 2005.

An all-around star athlete at Kearney Catholic High School, Haussermann also displayed those skills at UNK as she placed 11th at the 2003 NCAA Indoor Championships in the high jump. She still ranks sixth (5-6.75) on the Loper all-time top 10.

She currently owns her own dog grooming business in Centennial, Colo. Haussermann lives in Greeley with her husband, Jon, a former Loper wrestler. They have three children; Ian, Declan and Cora.

Mike Hancock remains the most prolific three-point shooter in UNK men's basketball history sinking 285 from 1995-98. Only one other Loper has managed to make 200 threes in a career.

The guard also set the UNK standard for three-pointers made in a season (92/1997-98) and game (nine). The game record, since tied, came in a 103-102 win over Fort Hays State where Hancock sunk nine of 12 shots. A year earlier in the Health & Sports Center, Hancock and UNK ended the Tigers' 49-game winning streak, 96-84.

Currently eighth on the career scoring list (1,796), Hancock still holds the school record for steals in a career (271). Only one other Loper has reached 200 steals.

A two-time All-RMAC selection, Hancock made the RMAC All-Tournament team three times, including in 1998 when he was named MVP. In that season, UNK won the event for the first time, beating Fort Hays State in the semifinals and Colorado State-Pueblo in the finals.

Part of three NCAA Tournament squads, Hancock also recorded 395 assists in his career, fifth most in school history.

Holding a B.S. degree from UNK, he has worked at Inspro Insurance for the past 16 years, currently serving as vice president. Hancock and wife, Tammy, live in Wahoo with their four children; Owen, Addysen, Griffin and Jaxson.

Allison (Kruger) Monson is one of only two UNK women's basketball players to be a two-time All-American. Also a two-time RMAC Player of the Year, Monson battled through injuries to score 1,682 points (13.7 avg.) and grab 788 rebounds (6.4 avg.) between 1999-2004.


She currently ranks third in career scoring average and field goal percentage (53.2), fourth in total rebounds and sixth in blocks (91). A two-time CoSIDA Academic All-District selection, Monson twice was named first-team All-RMAC and to the RMAC All-Tournament team.

Over five seasons, which included a medical redshirt, she was a part of five NCAA Tournament teams, 122 wins and four RMAC Championships. Monson also helped UNK push its home court winning streak to 87 consecutive games, still an NCAA Division II record, as she hit a last second shot to beat Missouri Western State for win 75.

After graduating with a B.S. in Education, Monson remained in basketball, serving as an assistant coach at Wayne State College (WSC) and the University of South Dakota before becoming head coach at Division II-member Southwest Minnesota State University (SMSU). She helped WSC win two league titles and twice reach the NCAA Tournament.

Currently serving as SMSU's compliance officer and director of student-athlete academic affairs, she holds a Master's in Sports Management from Wayne. Monson lives with her husband, Scott, in Marshall.

Travis Vallin was a standout on the football and track teams from 1987-1990. He remains one of the most prolific receivers and return man in Loper football history as well as being a track record holder.

On the gridiron, Vallin was part of the transition not only from NAIA to NCAA Division II but also from an offense that started to emphasize the pass more. He and fellow Hall of Famer, Doug Banks, were a big reason for the switch. Vallin ended his career with 108 receptions for 1,866 yards and 13 TD's. At the time of graduation, he ranked second only to Banks in career receiving yards.

Averaging 21.8 yards per catch in 1989, Vallin helped the Lopers win six games in 1987 and 1990. His senior campaign, UNK's first in Division II, saw victories over South Dakota State, West Texas A&M and Northwest Missouri State.

Bringing back 60 kickoffs for 1,381 yards (23.0 avg.) in his career, Vallin amassed 162 return yards and a touchdown in the 1990 win over the Bearcats. This versatile skill set led him to a free agent deal with the NFL's Cincinnati Bengals.

On the track, the 1987 USA Today Male Kansas Athlete of the Year still holds the Loper record in the 400 hurdles (51.95), set at the 1991 NCAA Outdoor Championships. He also ranks eighth at 400 meters (48.36).

Vallin earned NAIA All-Americans honors in the 400 hurdles by finishing sixth in 1989. He then became UNK's first-ever male D2 outdoor All-American as he finished third in the 400 hurdles in 1991.

In the classroom, he was named a 1989 NAIA Scholar Athlete. Earning an Airway Science Management degree, Vallin was the Colorado Aeronautics Director for 20 years. He now is Principal Owner of Jviation, an airport engineering firm in Denver.

Vallin and his wife, Deb, live in Watkins, Colorado. Son, Tyler, plays football at Colorado Mesa with daughter Kayla being a former basketball player at Kansas Wesleyan.


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Home Federal - State Tournament 2017

The Home Federal senior American Legion baseball team will take their 43-9 record to the National Division state tournament starting Saturday, July 22nd. All games will be played at Sherman Field. Grand Island will matchup with Omaha Burke Saturday at 1:00 PM. Other first round matchups include Lincoln Southwest vs Elkhorn at 10:00 AM. Hastings vs Papillion La Vista at 4:00 PM, and Lincoln Northeast vs Millard West at 7:00 PM. All Home Federal games will be on KRGI AM 1430/106.9 FM and www.krgi.com. View both National and American division brackets below. 

 

National Division - Lincoln 

L.Southeast - Elkhorn - O.Burke - GI 

Hastings - Papillion LV - L.Northeast - M.West 

 

American Division - Millard 

L.East - Papillion LVS - Creighton Prep - Gretna

Kearney - O.Skutt - B.West - M.South 

 

 


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Lee Named to Unitas Golden Arm Award Watch List

Nebraska junior quarterback Tanner Lee is one of 47 quarterbacks named to the 2017 Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award watch list Wednesday morning. The Golden Arm Award is presented at the end of each football season and the winner is selected based on accomplishments on and off the field. Candidates must be a college senior or fourth-year junior on schedule to graduate with their class.

 

The 6-4, 220-pound Lee is entering his first season of action at Nebraska after beginning his college career at Tulane, where he started for two years. Lee emerged as the projected starting quarterback after a strong showing during spring practice.

 

A native of Destrehan, La., Lee made 19 starts in 2014 and 2015 at Tulane. In 2015, Lee started nine games at quarterback and threw for 1,639 yards and 11 touchdowns, while completing 52 percent of his passes. Lee threw for better than 200 yards four times on the season, including a season-high 277 yards against Maine. Lee threw for a career-high four touchdowns in a win over UCF.

Lee started all 10 of his games as a redshirt freshman in 2014. He completed 185-of-336 passes for 1,962 yards and 12 touchdowns. All of Lee’s passing numbers set Tulane freshman records. Lee threw for a season-high three touchdowns against Tulsa, Southeastern Louisiana and Houston. Lee threw for a career-best 301 yards on a 25-of-43 effort at East Carolina, and surpassed 200 passing yards in four other games.

 

Lee is one of three players who will represent Nebraska at Big Ten Media Days in Chicago next Monday and Tuesday.

 

This year marks the 30th Anniversary of the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award and The Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Educational Foundation. Nebraska great Tommie Frazier won the Unitas Award in 1995.

 


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Two Huskers Named to NABC Honors Court

Lincoln – Tanner Borchardt and Michael Jacobson were recognized for their efforts in the classroom Tuesday, as both players were named to the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) Honors Court.

The honor is presented to players who are a junior or senior academically at an institution and posted a GPA of 3.20 or better at the conclusion of the 2016-17 academic year. It is the first honor for both players, as Nebraska had two of the nine honorees across the Big Ten Conference during the 2016-17 season. Nebraska has now had nine NABC Honors Court selections in Tim Miles’ five seasons at Nebraska.

Borchardt is a two-year letterwinner who walked on to the Husker program after an open tryout in 2015. He played in eight games in 2015-16 before rejoining the team in February of 2017. He provided depth in the Husker frontcourt and saw action in the Huskers’ win over Penn State. In the classroom, he was an Academic All-Big Ten honoree and is a three-time member of the Nebraska Scholar-Athlete Honor Roll.

Jacobson wrapped up his two-year career at Nebraska in 2016-17, averaging 6.0 points and 6.2 rebounds per game. He was second on the team in rebounding and ranked 10th in Big Ten play in rebounding in conference action. In the classroom, he was an Academic All-Big Ten selection in 2017 and made the Nebraska Scholar-Athlete Honor Roll all four semesters at Nebraska.


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Freshmen Give Huskers Top 20 Class

Nebraska's first freshman signing class under Coach Amy Williams was ranked as the No. 20 group in the nation by espnW in its final rankings of the 2017 high school seniors on July 13.

Taylor Kissinger, a 6-1 guard/forward from Minden, Neb., and Kate Cain, a 6-5 center from Middletown, N.Y., make up the only two 2017 high school seniors in Nebraska's freshman class of 2017-18, but both were ranked in the ESPN Top 100.

Kissinger was ranked as the No. 38 overall player in the nation by espnW and was a three-time All-Nebraska and Super-State selection at Minden High School. Despite battling injury as a senior, Kissinger averaged 24.2 points and 9.0 rebounds per game on her way to being named the honorary captain of the Journal Star's Class C-1 team. A four-time Class C-1 all-stater, Kissinger also overcame injury as a junior to average 28.8 points and 8.2 rebounds per game in 2015-16. Although she missed 27 total games with injury in her final two high school seasons, Kissinger finished her prep career with 1,751 points, 611 rebounds, 310 assists and 202 steals.

Cain, Nebraska's most recent addition who joined the Huskers in mid-June, was ranked No. 82 in the 2017 senior class by espnW. A first-team All-New York performer as a senior at Pine Bush High School, Cain was ranked as the No. 10 post player in the nation. She averaged 25.2 points, 12.3 rebounds and 7.9 blocks per game as a senior, after averaging 24.3 points, 15.0 rebounds and 8.0 blocks per game as a junior.

While Williams' first Husker class is ranked solely on its two freshmen, the Big Red will also be bolstered by a pair of transfers who sat out during the 2016-17 season. Senior guard Janay Morton will have one season to help Nebraska on the court after three solid years at Eastern Michigan. As a junior at EMU in 2015-16, Morton averaged 13.5 points, 3.4 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 2.8 steals per game. In her three years at Eastern Michigan, the 5-10 guard from Brooklyn Park, Minn., totaled 1,341 points, 359 rebounds, 249 assists and 223 steals over 103 games with 94 starts. Morton was a third-team All-Mid-American Conference selection as a junior and a member of the MAC All-Defensive Team. She was also a member of the MAC All-Freshman Team in 2014.

Sophomore Bria Stallworth will get her first taste of Big Ten basketball after earning a spot on the Atlantic 10 All-Rookie Team at UMass in 2015-16. The 5-6 guard from Chicago averaged 13.2 points, 2.4 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 0.9 steals over 30 games with 26 starts as a freshman at UMass. She led all A-10 freshmen in scoring and assists in 2015-16.

The Big Red also hope to be boosted by the return of sophomore Rachel Blackburn. The 6-3 forward from Leavenworth, Kan., redshirted during the 2016-17 season while recovering from multiple surgeries. As a freshman in 2015-16, Blackburn started 10 games and averaged 4.2 points and 4.8 rebounds in 17 minutes per game as Nebraska's top post defender, despite being limited by injuries throughout the season.

Nebraska was one of only two Big Ten women's basketball teams to earn top 20 rankings from espnW. Northwestern, which lost five seniors to graduation, had its freshman class ranked No. 18 in the nation with three top 100 newcomers.

Tennessee, UConn, Texas, Louisville and Stanford accounted for the nation's top five incoming freshman classes, while UCLA, Baylor, Texas A&M, Georgia and defending national champion South Carolina rounded out the top 10.

Nebraska will tip off its 2017-18 season with an exhibition game against Minnesota State-Mankato on Sunday, Nov. 5 at Pinnacle Bank Arena. The Huskers will play host to SIU-Edwardsville in their regular-season opener on Saturday, Nov. 11 in Lincoln.


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Nebraska Football Fan Day to Include Movie Night

Nebraska fans will have an opportunity to double their fun on Saturday, July 29, at Memorial Stadium. In addition to the Huskers’ annual Fan Day, the Nebraska Athletics Department will debut the new HuskerVision North screen by having a Family Movie Night at Memorial Stadium.

Nebraska Football Fan Day presented by U.S. Cellular will be held from 6-8 p.m. at Memorial Stadium. Fan Day is annually the best opportunity for fans to meet and greet the Nebraska football players, coaches and staff before preseason practice begins the following day on Sunday, July 30. For the second straight year, the 2017 Fan Day will again be two full hours.

Following the completion of Fan Day at 8 p.m., fans will be asked to allow players and football staff to leave the field to continue their schedule for the day, while fans will be temporarily moved to the West Stadium stands to allow workers to remove the tables and tents from the field prior to the movie beginning on the new HuskerVision screen in North Stadium at approximately 8:30 p.m. Fans will be asked to exit Memorial Stadium following the conclusion of the playing of the movie. Fans coming for the movie can bring blankets and strollers for the event, but chairs are prohibited.

The new HuskerVision boards are currently in the final stages of installation and the July 29 events will be the first opportunity for fans to view the new boards in action. The North Stadium board has been upgraded from 20-millimeter to 10-millimeter pixels, providing clearer and crisper video. In addition, two new boards on the northeast and northwest towers feature 10-mm pixels wraparound screens, giving fans in North Stadium the ability to see the HuskerVision screens. All six of the HuskerVision screens inside Memorial Stadium will have 10-mm pixels, giving fans throughout the stadium a great view of the action. In addition, the ribbon boards on the east and west balconies were replaced with 16-mm displays that run the full length of the balconies and an additional ribbon board was added on the east balcony.

During the movie night, fans may sit in the designated sections of the Memorial Stadium stands to stay cool or sit on the playing field. Pepsi products, water and Gatorade will be available for sale, while free popcorn will be provided for the movie at the conclusion of Fan Day while supplies last. Because of the football practice on Sunday, no food will be allowed on the stadium turf, and no outside food or beverage can be brought into the stadium for Fan Day/Movie Night.

Fans will be able to enter Memorial Stadium through four gates for Fan Day/Movie Night. Fans may use Gates 3 (SW), 11 (NW), 15 (NE) and 24 (SE), with gates opening at 6 p.m. The majority of players and coaches will be seated at various locations on the field, with true freshmen located in the stands in the West Stadium. Assistant coaches will be seated with their respective position groups, and a more detailed map will be available on Huskers.com soon.

Nebraska fans are asked to respect players and coaches, as well as other fans by limiting their autograph requests to one item per player or coach. Any apparel items fans are wishing to have autographed should be in hand, rather than being worn. These policies will help accommodate as many fans as possible within the Fan Day time window.

Also as a reminder, autographs obtained for players and coaches are for personal use only. Any re-sale of an autographed item is prohibited and re-sale of an item with a student-athlete’s signature could jeopardize the player’s eligibility.

Autograph cards with a full 2017 roster, unsigned Coach Mike Riley autograph cards and other items will be available for fans at the gates. Free 2017 posters will be available from the Husker Team Shop tent on the field, and 2017 media guides will be available for purchase as well during Fan Day.

Parking will be available for fans in lots on campus around Memorial Stadium. Fans can park for free in the Champions Club lot, 14th& Avery parking garage and Lot 5 northeast of Memorial Stadium. Fans will have access to restrooms on the ground level, near gates 2, 15 and 24. Fans will not have access to the Osborne Athletic Complex. Water, Pepsi products and Gatorade will be available for sale from individuals moving around the field during the event.

A limited number of season tickets for the 2017 football season remain, and fans may also purchase single-game tickets for the 2017 season. To order tickets, visit Huskers.com/tickets or call 1-800-8 BIG RED during regular business hours (8 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday-Friday).


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Pierson-El Named to Hornung Award Watch List

Nebraska senior receiver De'Mornay Pierson-El has been named to the watch list for the 2017 Paul Hornung Award presented by Texas Roadhouse.

The Paul Hornung Award is in its eight season and is given annually to the most versatile player in college football by the Louisville Sports Commission. This marks the second time Pierson-El has been named to the Hornung Award Watch List after also being on the preseason list before the 2015 season.

In addition to being one of Nebraska's top returning receivers, Pierson-El possesses electrifying play-making ability as a punt returner. The 5-9, 195-pound Pierson-El is an excellent fit in Coach Mike Riley's versatile offense, and the Maryland native has also been used as a running threat. Pierson-El had a productive 2016 campaign both as a receiver and return man, but was still slowed by a major knee injury he suffered during the 2015 season. In 2017, Pierson-El hopes to recapture the game-breaking style that earned him All-America honors as a punt returner as a true freshman in 2014. Pierson-El was named a second-team All-America selection and a freshman All-American by several organizations. He was a second-team Football Writers Association of America honoree, becoming the first Husker freshman to make the FWAA All-America team.

Pierson-El enters his senior season with 686 receiving yards and is in position to join the Huskers' 1,000-yard receiving club. He also has 812 career punt return yards to rank fifth in school history and just 188 yards from becoming the third player in NU history with 1,000 punt return yards. Pierson-El has eight career returns of at least 25 yards.

Watch lists for major college football awards will continue to be announced for the remainder of this week.


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Gates Named to Outland Trophy Watch List

Junior Nick Gates took the first step toward adding to Nebraska’s nation-leading Outland Trophy total on Thursday, when he was named to the 2017 Outland Trophy Watch List Watch List.

Gates, a 6-foot-6, 295-pound offensive tackle from Las Vegas, Nev., has anchored the Husker offensive line at tackle the past two seasons. Gates started all 13 games last year, when the Huskers lead the Big Ten in fewest sacks allowed with 15. Gates also helped the NU offense post four 200-yard rushing efforts in 2016 and two games with at least 550 yards of total offense. For his efforts, he was selected as a third-time All-Big Ten performer by the conference media. As a redshirt freshman, Gates started all 10 games he played in 2015, earning a spot on BTN’s All-Bowl Team for his effort against UCLA. He was also named to the Big Ten All-Freshman team by ESPN.com and BTN.com.

A total of 81 players are on the initial Outland Trophy Watch list, which is presented to the top interior lineman in college football. Gates is one of 11 Big Ten players on the initial list, as the 11 Big Ten honorees tie for second among all conferences.

Eight Husker players have combined for a nation-leading nine Outland Trophies over the years, including two-time winner Dave Rimington. Ndamukong Suh was the Huskers’ most recent Outland winner, bringing home the trophy in 2009.

The Outland Trophy finalists will be announced on Nov. 21, with the winner announced on the Home Depot College Football Awards show on Dec. 7. The Outland Trophy presentation banquet, sponsored by the Greater Omaha Sports Committee, will be held on Jan. 10, 2018 in Omaha.


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Brown Named to Groza Watch List

Lincoln – University of Nebraska place-kicker Drew Brown was one of 30 kickers named to the Watch List for the 2017 Lou Groza Collegiate Place-Kicker Award Wednesday morning.

 

Brown, a senior from Southlake, Texas, earns his second Groza Award watch list nomination of his career, as the three-year starter comes off his most accurate season in 2016. Brown was 12-of-14 in field goals, including a career-long 51 yarder against Purdue, and perfect on all 38 extra-point attempts to garner All-Big Ten honors from the conference media. Brown also booted 30 of his 63 kickoffs for touchbacks as a junior.

 

During his sophomore campaign, Brown connected on 21-of-27 field goals, as his 21 field goals ranked second in school history. That year was highlighted by an NCAA record-tying performance against Southern Miss, when he had five first-half field goals. That season, 13 of his 21 field goals were from at least 40 yards. A three-year starter, Brown enters his senior campaign seventh all-time at Nebraska in scoring with 282 career points, while his 47 field goals rank third in school history. Brown is one of three Big Ten kickers on the initial watch list released Wednesday.

 

The Groza Award will announce its 20 semifinalists on Nov. 21 with the three finalists chosen on Nov. 21. The 2017 winner will be announced on Thursday, Dec. 7, during the Home Depot

College Football Awards Show.

 

The Award is named for National Football League Hall of Fame kicker Lou “The Toe” Groza, who played 21 seasons with the Cleveland Browns. Groza won four NFL championships with Cleveland and was named NFL Player of the Year in 1954. Although an All-Pro offensive lineman as well, Groza ushered in the notion that there should be a place on an NFL roster for a kicker.


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Home Federal to open post-season play Friday

South Sioux City - The Home Federal American Legion baseball team will start post-season play this Friday, July 14th opening up the Area 6 tournament in South Sioux City at Klasey Park with Norfolk at 1:00 pm. Listen to all of the Home Federal post-season games on KRGI 1430 AM/106.9 FM. View the full Area 6 bracket below. 


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