There’s a new press box going up on the east side of Larry and Carol Frost Field at Parkview Christian High School.

The cement work on the lower level was done a while ago. But it was going to take some time to get a contractor out to do the framing and construction of the structure on top.

So eventually, some Parkview Christian parents and supporters took it upon themselves to get the job done, and progress has been steady ever since.

It’s a good parallel for the team that will play in the shadow of that press box this season. 

The Patriots are gearing up for perhaps the most anticipated season in program history. A preseason No. 4 ranking in Class D-6 puts Parkview Christian squarely among the contenders for a state title. A deep roster has grown in numbers as more wins have come.

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Expectations, needless to say, are high.

“We have (our goals) written in our weight room every day, so when we go in, we look at it, and we know what we want to accomplish,” senior quarterback Elijah Colbert said. “We kind of have our goals set out. A lot of them are goals from last year that we didn’t achieve, and we’ve just worked all summer rebuilding, and we’re ready to make them come true this year.”

Colbert is the lone senior on the 2022 team who has been in the program all four years. He saw the lean times — a 2-6 record in 2019 when the Patriots had just a 10-player roster for an eight-man schedule, and a new coach in PJ Book.

The win total jumped to five in 2020, with a first-round playoff loss in six-man. A 7-3 mark last season ended with a loss to eventual state runner-up Potter-Dix in the state quarterfinals.

And now, 2022. The number of Colbert’s classmates out for football has jumped to eight. A large junior contingent has helped fill in the gaps, to the point that the Patriots have all six starters back on both sides of the ball.

That’s a long way from three years ago when just fielding a team was the biggest challenge.

“It was really difficult, and we had games where, just the truth of the matter is, we had to convince them to play some nights,” Book said. “And you’d rather have volunteers than draftees in your foxhole with you.

“These kids now have completely changed the shape of football here at this school, and we couldn’t be more proud of them.”

Indeed, Parkview Christian represents perhaps the city of Lincoln’s best chance to win a state football championship in 2022.

It won’t be easy. The strength in six-man resides in the western part of the state, where defending champion Cody-Kilgore, 343 miles northwest of Parkview Christian’s home field, and runner-up Potter-Dix (364 miles away) return enough to be the favorites to meet for the title again. Wallace (267 miles west) is in the discussion, too.

Surely Parkview Christian will keep tabs from afar. But the construction isn’t yet complete on their own journey.

“We plan on just building on what we did last year. We put in a lot of work last year, and we didn’t come away with what we wanted to, but that doesn’t discredit all the work that we’ve put in,” Colbert said. “I think these last two weeks that we’ve been practicing, we’ve put in twice as much work as we did at the beginning of last season.”

All eyes — and smartphone cameras — will be on Friday Night Lights this fall, and this group of five players know what it takes to grab the attention.

From the city to the metro and out to Osceola, here are the seven players we expect to make the most waves on the high school football field this fall.

Returning Super-State picks and Power Five recruits headline this year’s crop of talent in Class A. Plus, which team is in the driver’s seat to win it all?

Last year’s runner-up is gone and there are plenty of question marks for the defending champion. Yup, Class B is wide-open as usual.

The usual suspects in Class C-1 want another shot at a state title. But, can a surprising team emerge like Columbus Lakeview did last season?

Last year’s contenders are back for more, but the shifting class landscape has several former C-1 teams ready to leave their mark.

There’s no defending champion in D-1. Teams from C-2, D-2 or even D-6 are up in Class D-1 this year, making for a crazy year of eight-man football.

With several traditional eight-man powers leading the way, Class D-2 might be the most competitive class in the state this year.

A rematch of last year’s title game is within reason, because the six-man field is loaded at the top once again.

Contact the writer at cbasnett@journalstar.com or 402-473-7436. On Twitter @HuskerExtraCB.



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