Omaha Central (Class of 1984)
Keith Jones’ legacy is stamped into his nickname: “End Zone”. A speedy and powerful running back at Omaha Central, Jones broke records that belonged to the legendary Gale Sayers. Jones rushed for 1,710 yards and 18 touchdowns as a senior, including a 235-yard effort against state champion Omaha Creighton Prep. His speed resulted in gold medals at the state track meet in the 4×100 relay and the 200-meter dash. Jones went on to play for the Nebraska Cornhuskers where he became the third-leading rusher of all time, piling up nearly 2,500 yards and a stunning total of 32 touchdowns. A sixth-round draft pick by the NFL’s Los Angeles Rams, he played two seasons in the NFL.
Lincoln Northeast (Class of 1999)
In the classroom and on the playing field, Trevor Johnson excelled. In the top one percent academically, the unanimous prep athlete of the year excelled in three sports. After missing most of his junior football season with a broken leg, the tight end/defensive end caught 42 passes for 736 yards and 10 touchdowns his senior year. On defense, he was credited with 54 tackles, including 13 for a loss, seven sacks and eight pass break-ups while leading the 10-2 Rockets to the state semifinal. All-state in football and basketball and an all-class gold medalist in the discus, he helped the Rockets to three straight basketball championships. At the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, he was a four-year football letterman. He played four years in the NFL.
Howells (Class of 1981) A proven winner, Stacy Jakubowski led Howells to the state championship in volleyball and a state runner-up finish in basketball. A four-year, three sport letterman, Jakubowski placed in the high jump at the state track meet all four years, winning gold medals her junior and senior seasons. A three year starter in volleyball and basketball, she helped the Bobcats to a 79-5 record on the hardwood and a 74-9 record on the volleyball court. Her senior season in basketball, she averaged 16.8 points and 10 rebounds per game. A hard-worker who often stayed an hour after practice to perfect aspects of her game, she earned all-state honors in volleyball and basketball her junior and senior years. The Fremont Tribune Athlete of the Year in 1981, she played volleyball and ran track at Kearney State College, earning NAIA All-American honors in the high jump.
Lincoln High (Class of 1964)
The face of Lincoln’s Hillcrest Country Club as the resident teaching professional who stresses fundamentals and a respect for the game, Charles Borner, Jr., forged a very successful competitive golf career that included back-to-back Class A state championships in 1963 and 1964, a feat not matched for 49 years. The first junior golfer to win the Lincoln city championship for adults, Borner led Lincoln High to the state team championship in 1964 and went on to letter three years at Nebraska. He qualified for the U.S. Amateur Championships three times and played in the U.S. Senior Open. In the Western Amateur in Wichita, KS, in 1970, Borner lost in the final to future PGA Champion LannyWadkins and, on the way to the final, defeated Paul Purtzer, Tom Watson and John Mahaffey. His early teaching experience included seven years as coach at North Platte High School.
Coach. Bill James made a couple of Central Nebraska stops in his coaching career (Arapahoe and Loup City) before landing in Bellevue where he coached football for nearly four decades, a coach who won in one of the toughest competitive conferences. Head football coach at the original Bellevue High School (which became Bellevue East) from 1957 and 1995, he saw the changing patterns of top-notch football in Nebraska high schools and just kept on succeeding. The 1960s was a good example of his creative coaching, as the Bellevue High football team was almost always at the top. In 1965, Bellevue played Boys Town High for the re-aligned Metro Conference championship, with one pass in the last minute the only difference between both fine teams. His teams won 195 games at Bellevue and his lifetime coaching career number was 210.
Athlete. Bellevue West (1991)
Being a wide receiver for the undefeated national champion Nebraska Cornhuskers in 1995 followed a dominating high school career for Clester Johnson, who stood out in three sports at Bellevue West. A two-time all-state quarterback whose team had a 20-7 record during his high school years, he established Class A standards in completion percentage in a season (636 in 1989) and in a career (.579). “He ran like the fullback, had the flair of an open-field runner and was able to take some pounding,” his high school coach, John Faiman said. His senior year in wrestling, he had an undefeated season spoiled by a 1-0 loss in the state final. In track and field, he won the all-class gold medals at the state track meet in the 110-meter high hurdles his senior year and the 300-meter intermediate hurdles his junior year.
Athlete. Because of his outstanding basketball skills, many Nebraska fans may not know that this 1982 graduate of Perkins County High School also played on three Class C football state championship teams from the fair city of Grant. During his high school playing days, Bill Jackman led his teammates to two straight high school basketball championships, having an unbroken record of 52 straight wins when he was a junior and senior. All-state twice, he scored a career total of 1,768. His scoring record in the state basketball tournament of 214 still ranks high. Played at both Duke and the University of Nebraska during his college days.
No one dominated Nebraska high school softball like Peaches James. The pitching ace on four straight state championship teams, the four-time all-state hurler set numerous state records, including 11 no-hitters, five perfect games and an 0.04 ERA in 1999. Her exploits included 31 consecutive wins, 19 consecutive shutouts and a streak of 257 2/3 innings without allowing an earned run. After high school, she became the first pitcher to earn All-Big 12 honors four times at Nebraska and she became a second-team All-American as a senior. She pitched professionally for four years and was a National Pro Fastpitch all-star in 2005.
Coach. Lincoln High School never had a friendlier face or a better representative of the fabled Red and Black Links than this long-time successful Nebraska high school coach. For forty-one years of a coaching profession which included stints at Waverly, Minden and finally Lincoln High, he set high standards of character and athletic improvement. His specialty was coaching basketball and a career basketball record of 459-311 shows positive results. During his tenure at Minden (1958) and Lincoln High (1959) he developed two state boys basketball champions and two state runners-up. Inducted into the hall of fame of the National High School Coaches Association, his long-time efforts as a volunteer with the American Legion Boys State and Boys Nation indicate a lifetime spent building character in young people as well as improving their athletic ability.
Newspaper man Bob Jensen filled a void in Nebraska high school sports publications when he launched Huskerland Prep Report in 1990. What started as a weekly provider of statistics reports evolved into a multi-media publication providing exposure to hundreds of athletes from border to border and from the smallest schools to the largest. With limited assistance, his publications, including a preseason glossy magazine, featured stories on athletes, forecasts, all-state teams and coaches and players of the year. Prized by athletes, parents, coaches and fans, the publication developed into a necessary recruiting tool for college coaches. Jensen was also an early adapter of online publishing, taking Huskerland Prep Report to the internet with message boards, podcasts and other developoing media.