All-State star looking for title this year

Papillion LaVista had its year end at the hands of Millard North. Join the crowd "Monarchs", you weren't the first and you most definitely won't be the last. The tables could turn this year, though, as it's Papillion bringing back a ton of stars and the Mustangs having to replace quite a few. That's why offensive lineman Kyle Dooley is stoked about 2006. He thinks it's his team's time to shine.

The post-season was short for Papillion LaVista. Trounced by Millard North 56-17, the Monarchs watched the Mustangs cruise to yet another state title. While the defeat didn't sit well with anyone, there was definitely a silver lining, which would have everyone perked up to pick up the pieces and try again this year.

Millard North was losing their entire starting backfield and Papio-LaVista was bringing almost everyone back. Actually, they are bringing almost everyone back and adding another to the mix as well.

Future senior quarterback and formerly of Omaha Gross, honorable mention All-State QB Steve Heiman has transferred, joining the Monarchs for the 2006 season. He will be competing for the spot with a pretty good quarterback in his own right, junior John Reiss. You won't hear junior offensive lineman and another All-State performer Kyle Dooley complaining. This just means his team is even more poised to take it all the way this up-coming year.

"I'm really excited about playing this season," Dooley said. "It's my last year, but we bring back so many good players and I think we are going to be awfully hard to beat. We still have to work hard to get there, but on paper, we have a pretty darn good team."

Dooley is one of the anchors of that team, the 6 foot, 2 inch, 280 linemen arguably the top big man in the state. Like most quality bigguns in the trenches, Kyle was playing both ways last season. From recording over 100 pancakes on offense to totaling over 100 tackle points on defense, Dooley marked himself as easily one of the players to watch this year inside the borders of Nebraska.

Dooley will admit that he's got the size to match up with most or all of those he faces, but he'll also be the first to tell you that down in the trenches, it's about more than what you can physically do. "You have to have a little bit of an attitude down there," he said. "You take it right up to the whistle and I guess at times, I have taken it a little beyond."

"But that's kind of how you have to be. As long as you are under control, you have to make sure the other guy knows what kind of day he's going to have."

That's what you are going to get out of Dooley and honestly, he'd just as soon every single player he faced was a Division 1-A player, if he could. Like many good players that aspire to be great ones, they know the way to get better is to face those better than you.

Dooley got robbed of that to a degree this year as a player he was hoping to face got moved to the outside on offense, while Dooley remained on the interior. "I was looking forward to playing against Ricky," Kyle said of Omaha Burke's Ricky Henry, who is a future lineman for the Cornhuskers. "He's the kind of guy that I respect and I know he respected me, so it would have been fun to just go at each other for a game."

Dooley will more than likely have that chance at the next level, Kyle ranked as one of if not the best lineman in the state. Already he's gotten letters from the likes of Kansas, Kansas State and Iowa. Oddly enough, the one team absent from that list of letters if the home-state team and that's even with Kyle having camped in Lincoln last summer.

Dooley plans to camp there again this year and said that from what he's heard, he'll get a lot more individual attention. But that's not a concern to him. In fact, recruiting isn't real high on his list, so Nebraska not having shown him much attention at this point isn't all that disappointing. "I think about it some, but not all that much or probably not as much as I will later on," he said. "As for Nebraska, I'll just do what I do and how I know how to do it and if they like me, ok, if not, that's not a real big deal to me."

"I'd love to play on scholarship somewhere, but I don't really care where. I would just like to play."

Kyle said that he does know he's being looked at by Nebraska as a center, similar to what other schools are looking at him to play. Quick off the ball and strong at the point of attack, Kyle's size and his reported 5.2 speed make him a potentially solid prospect for the future. And the best part is, he's still got a year of prep-ball to play. A lot can change and improve during that time.

"I know I will get better and stronger between now and when I graduate," he said. "I'm not doing it to get the attention of colleges, though. I am doing it so that when we go into this season, I'm going to be at my very best. This is our chance and I want to make sure that we don't leave anything out there. We did everything we needed to do to come home with the title."

I know that fans would love a kid that already knows where he would like to go when it comes to the college of the future. I know they would like a kid, especially an in-state kid, to have Nebraska on the brain 24 hours a day. Dooley doesn't, but that's no insult to the big red. It's no insult to anyone actually. Believe it or not, before his freshman year, Dooley didn't want to play football at all.

"My mom made me do it," Dooley said laughingly about going out for football his freshman year. "I didn't want to play at all, actually, but I did and I guess it worked out. But that means I haven't really followed the game all that closely and I guess I am not one of those diehard Husker fans you see most of the time."

With that being said, he is certainly looking at Nebraska. But he's looking at those other teams as well. Add just about anyone else to the mix and you have his current state of mind when it comes to just what he wants to do about his collegiate future. Yeah, it's not completely obsessive to him right now.

He and his team have bigger fish to fry.

We'll definitely keep track of Dooley throughout the year and bring you updates on his progress, his team's progress and just how the recruiting is going for him as the off-season and then regular season progresses. You will want to keep an eye on this one, though, because his name should be coming up an awful lot throughout the year.

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