Replacing the rushing production of graduated running back Ryan Ludlow figures to be near the top of the to-do list for the Peru State Bobcats football team this year.
Ludlow, a Plattsmouth native, rushed for 1,219 yards a season ago.
Returning quarterback Bo Sheppard, a Gretna grad, was second on the Bobcat rush chart last year with 621 yards. He also passed for 986 yards.
The top returning running back for the Bobcats will be Lincoln Southeast grad Nate Tromblee, a sophomore who finished the 2012 season with 357 yards.
Defensively, the Bobcats return their top two tacklers in seniors Preston Bruss of Palmyra and Curtis Larson of Plattsmouth.
The Bobcats will be coached by Steve Schneider in 2013. Schneider led the team to a 5-6 overall record in his first year with the team and the team's first year in the Heart of America Athletic Conference.
Lou Varley, the former long time coach of the Nebraska City High School football program, will serve as a co-defensive coordinator on the 2013 staff.
Looking at the preseason ratings, five member schools in the HAAC made the Top 25 NAIA Football Coaches' Preseason poll. Those schools are Missouri Valley College, tied for second; MidAmerica Nazarene University, 10th; Baker University, 15th; Evangel University, 22nd; and Benedictine College, 24th.
Missouri Valley visits Peru State for homecoming, which the school hopes to host in the newly renovated Oak Bowl on Nov. 2.
Peru State will open the season at 7 p.m. Saturday against Dakota State at Auburn. The Bobcats beat Dakota State 35-27 last year.